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Climate Change !

Climate Change:

Why does it occur and what are its effects?

Cameron Tyus

El Paso Community College


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Abstract

This paper explores 10 articles that report on why the Earth experiences climate change.

Research was conducted thoroughly by climate scientists and has scientific evidence on climate

change. The articles give multiple examples as to why and how we experience climate change,

also graphics are provided to show the rise in temperature in previous years. From knowing why

climate change occurs we can also find out the effects it has on the earth, the various effects that

climate change has that effect multiple ecosystems which are harmful. Scientists have provided

factual information on this topic and also corporations that serve the environment have given

information that is helpful towards the topic.


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Climate Change: Why does it occur and what are its effects ?

Multiple studies and research show that climate change exists and is very prominent in

todays world. Of course there a reasons why we experience such high levels of climate change,

a variety of activities caused temperature to increase dramatically over the past decades. The

main enabler of climate change are humans. According to 97% of climate scientists climate-

warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities (Climate change:

How do we know?) . Humans are emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases into the air which

trap heat in the atmosphere, causing rises in temperature and other events. This paper examines

the several ways climate change can occur and what it effects are on the Earth.

Literature Review

In Causes of Climate Change (2017), three factors that attribute to climate change are the

primary focus. Variations in the suns energy, changes in the reflectivity of Earths atmosphere

and surface and changes in the greenhouse effect are natural and human factors that contribute to

change in climate. Variations in the suns energy affect how intense sunlight is, which can cause

rise in temperature but the effect it has on Earths climate is marginal. Changes in the reflectivity

of Earths atmosphere affects how much solar energy comes into Earths system. Human changes

in land use and land cover have changed Earths reflectivity. Procedures like deforestation,

reforestation, desertification, and urbanization provide to changes in climate in certain places.

The effects are meaningful regionally, but are lesser when averaged over the earth. Lastly,

changes in the greenhouse effect affect how much heat the atmosphere contains. Greenhouse

gases consume energy, which delays or counteract the loss of heat to space. Greenhouse gases act

as a cover making the Earth warmer than it should be.


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According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Climate Change: Basic

Information (2017) enforces that humans are to blame for releasing large amounts of carbon

dioxide and multiple GHGs (greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere. The majority of GHGs

come from using fossil fuels to produce energy, the current build up of GHGs have the ability to

change Earth's climate and create dangerous effects to humans and ecosystems. Warming climate

can alter and can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the

natural environment, and the health and safety of humans. Humans have adapted to a particular

type of climate so the change will throw things off balance. Similarly to the Causes of Climate

Change article, both attribute humans to be the primary cause for rises in temperature over the

last several decades.

As for evidence, we can already see the effects climate change has had on our Earth.

Global temperature rise, shrinking ice sheets, sea level rise, extreme events, and ocean

acidification are several of the effects climate change has had on our earth. These may not sound

detrimental but once given more information it is clear how dangerous these climate effects are.

Global temperature rise has caused the most warming to occur in 35 years, 15 of the 16 warmest

years on record have occurred since 2001 (Climate change: How do we know?). Shrinking ice

sheets have decreased the amount of ice in the Arctic, Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers

(36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005 (Climate change: How do we know?). Sea level

rise has prompted the sea level to rise about 8 inches in the last century. Ocean acidification

causes there to be larger amounts of carbon dioxide in the ocean, which can lead to the bleaching

of coral reefs and changes in ocean chemistry. Most importantly, extreme events are more
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disastrous because higher temperatures make hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, droughts and other

events much more powerful than before.

NASA goes into depth about the blanket around the earth, there is a layer of

greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) which act as a

thermal blanket for Earth by absorbing heat and warming the surface (Climate change: How do

we know?). Various gases in the atmosphere stop heat from leaving, gases that stay temporarily

in the atmosphere and dont react chemically or physically to alterations in temperature are

characterized as compelling climate change. As for the human contribution, industrial activity

that present-day civilization depends on today raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from

280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The forum also decided that

there's a more than 95 percent possibility that human-produced greenhouse gases like carbon

dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused a great deal of the recognized increase in Earth's

climate over the past 50 years.

In further support of Cause of Climate Change (2017), NASA has stated that most

scientists think that recent warming can't be explained by nature alone (Dunbar, B.). Most

scientists believe it is probable that much of the warming since the mid-1900s is because of the

burning of oil, gas and coal. Burning these fuels is how we generate most of the energy that we

use on a daily basis. Such burning adds heat-trapping gases, like carbon dioxide, into the air.

Some causes of climate change are natural, such as changes in Earth's revolution and in the

amount of energy coming from the sun. Changes in the ocean and volcanic eruptions are also

natural causes of climate change. Climate change does occur naturally but not on the scale that
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human induced climate change does, natural climate change is much less detrimental on the

Earth compared to human activities.

The Union of Concerned Scientists gives information on climate change impacts. Rising

seas and increased coastal flooding occurs because average sea level has increased eight inches

since 1880, it is rising faster in the East Coast of the United States (Global Warming Impacts).

Lengthy and more harmful wildfire seasons have expanded because temperatures have ascended,

higher summer and spring temperatures and prior spring snow-melt resulted in forests that are

warmer and barren for greater course of time, are priming conditions for wildfires to inflame and

expand. More destructive hurricanes have been more prominent, hurricanes are a natural part of

the climate system, current research shows that their devastating power, or force, has been

increasing since the 1970s, specifically in the North Atlantic region. More constant and intense

heat waves caused alarmingly hot weather is taking place more often than it did 60 years ago

and scientists expect heat waves to become more periodic and harsh as global warming

enhances. This increase in heat waves develops genuine health risks, and leads to heat

exhaustion, heat stroke, and provoke existing medical conditions.

National Geographic Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye provides evidence of climate

change. The earths temperature is estimated to have gotten 1.2 to 1.4 degree higher in the last

century. Similarly to Climate Change:How do we know? 10 out of the last 13 years have been

the warmest on record. Since the Industrial Revolution we have increased our consumption of

Natural Resources and in turn released a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

One of climate change biggest victims is our oceans, they regulate Earths temperature and

provide fifty percent of the Earths oxygen and climate change has increased the global
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temperature of the oceans by more than .3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. This causes ocean

acidification.

Society, N. G. explains how the Earths climate has changed many times. For example,

fossils for certain periods show that the Earth was much warmer than it is today. Temperature

rising by one or two degrees didnt seem like much but it caused massive effects during the Little

Ice Age in the 16th and 17th century. This shows how temperature rising can have effects on

ecosystems, during the Little Ice Age winters were longer so people were limited on the growing

season of crops which led to starvation. Natural causes of climate change like Earths axis and

orbit, sunspots, meteors, plate tectonics, and volcanoes are contributors, many people dont know

it but climate change is a natural process. Even though it is natural the rates of climate change we

experience today are unnatural and destructive for humans and environments.

In Whats Happening & Why, more evidence is given as to why climate change exists.

There is evidence that confirm human activities are the primary cause of global worming in the

last half century. Burning oil. coal, gas and deforestation have increased the concentration of gigs

in the atmosphere by more than 40% since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Since

human-induced warming is overlapping on a history of natural alterations in climate, change is

not consistent as time passes: short-term fluctuations in the long-term upward trend are natural

and expected. Despite the contrary, global temperatures are still rising and are anticipated to rise

additionally. Climate change will hasten greatly if global emissions of heat-trapping gases keep

on increasing.

Lastly, in Why is Climate Changing Today?, once again backs up previous articles on

fossil fuels and greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. Animals also add to ghgs in the
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atmosphere, animals release methane which is very strong. There is a different take on climate

change, we are asked what the climate would be like without humans. Without humans, climate

is affected mainly by changes in the Sun and volcanic eruptions. Under those conditions, the

models found that Earth would have cooled slightly over the past century, which doesnt match

what actually happened is the result of an Earth with no humans. This is compared to the

current conditions of humans causing ghgs to be emitted into the atmosphere.

Conclusion

In conclusion, climate change happens naturally and is also human induced due to the

release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The are various effects like ocean acidification,

extreme events, shrinking ice sheets, sea level rise and more. As time progresses we have seen

heightened levels of temperature which cause these effects, ghgs make a blanket around the

Earth, trapping harmful gases in it causing climate change.


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References

Causes of Climate Change. (2017, March 20). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from

https://www.epa.gov/climate-change-science/causes-climate-change

Climate Change: Basic Information. (2017, January 17). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-basic-information

Climate change: How do we know? (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2017, from

https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from

https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

Dunbar, B. (2015, June 09). What Are Climate and Climate Change? Retrieved March 2, 2017,

from https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-is-

climate-change-58.html

Global Warming Impacts. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2017, from

http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/global-warming/science-and-impacts/global-warming-

impacts#.WPWG9xiZOt8

N. (2015, December 02). Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye | National Geographic. Retrieved

February 28, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtW2rrLHs08

Society, N. G. (2012, October 09). Climate change. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from

http://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/climate-change/

Whats Happening & Why. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from

http://www.globalchange.gov/climate-change/whats-happening-why

Why is Climate Changing Today? (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from


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https://scied.ucar.edu/shortcontent/why-climate-changing-today