The debate surrounding climate change is a heated one, and it can be difficult to know what to believe. To understand climate change, it’s important to first understand the science behind it.
Here, we will provide an overview of the basic evidence for climate change, as well as some of the main arguments against it.
We’ll also discuss how climate change relates to other global phenomena, such as global warming and rising sea levels.
The effects of climate change are already being felt by people all over the world, from increased temperatures and drought to more extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to assess the information on climate change that you view online with a critical eye.
The basic evidence for climate change
One of the most basic pieces of evidence that climate change is happening is the warming of our planet, which scientists have been observing for decades.
In fact, according to the NCEI, the average global temperature has increased by about 0.07C or more than one degree Fahrenheit since 1880.
This may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to cause significant changes in weather patterns and ecosystems across the globe.
The effects of global warming
For example, increased temperatures mean higher evaporation rates from oceans and lakes; this means less water being returned as rain (or snow), causing droughts in some areas while others experience flooding due to heavy rainfall and storms.
Increased precipitation also causes water levels within lakes, rivers, and reservoirs to rise, leading to more frequent floods in those areas with weak drainage systems.
A warmer climate also means that snow melts faster, which leads to shorter winters and less snowpack on mountains; this has serious implications for water supplies as well as recreational activities like skiing, which rely heavily upon natural snowfall.
Changes in CO² levels
Global warming isn’t the only evidence of climate change, though.
Scientists have been able to confirm their hypothesis through ice core samples taken from glaciers all over Antarctica, Greenland, and other frozen regions where there is little or no human activity. These cores show how atmospheric levels of CO² were much lower than today’s during previous ice ages due to changes in our planet’s orbit around the sun.
Here is some more key evidence for climate change:
Global Temperature Rise: The average global temperature has increased by about 0.07C or more than one degree Fahrenheit since 1880.
CO² Levels: Atmospheric levels of CO² were much lower than today’s during previous ice ages due to changes in our planet’s orbit around the sun.
Sea Level Rise: The sea level has risen by about eight inches since 1901, and it is estimated that it will rise another three feet by 2100 if we don’t take steps to reduce emissions.
Extreme Weather Events: There have been an increasing number of extreme weather events in recent years, including hurricanes, typhoons, droughts, wildfires, and floods.
Warming Ocean: The ocean has been absorbing about 90% of the excess heat trapped on Earth by greenhouse gases, which is causing it to warm and expand.
Shrinking Ice Sheets: The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at an alarming rate due to warmer temperatures that cause snowmelt.
This means less freshwater for drinking, agriculture, industry, recreation, etc., as well as rising sea levels which could threaten coastal communities around the world if left unchecked.
Arctic Sea Ice: Arctic sea ice has been declining since 1979 and is now at its lowest point ever recorded – just half of what it was 40 years ago!
Ocean Acidification: The ocean is becoming more acidic as it absorbs CO², which can have serious consequences for marine life and the food chain.
What is the greenhouse effect?
The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process that helps to warm our planet.
It’s caused by certain gases (called “greenhouse gases”) in the atmosphere that allow sunlight to reach Earth but then trap the heat emitted by Earth back into the atmosphere.
This is a good thing – it helps keep our planet at a hospitable temperature!
However, over time, we’ve been adding more and more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as a result of human activity – primarily through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.
When too many of these gases are present, they create what’s called an “overheated” atmosphere which leads to global warming (the gradual increase in average temperatures on Earth). And when global warming occurs, it causes all sorts of other problems like melting glaciers, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, etc.
So what can we do about it?
We must begin by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions; this is the only way to slow global warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change.
We can reduce our carbon footprint by driving less, recycling more, eating less meat, taking public transportation, and investing in renewable energy sources.
But we also need governments and businesses to jump on board and make significant changes. We need them to invest in renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, transition to electric vehicles, construct green infrastructures such as wind farms and solar panels, and take other steps to reduce emissions.
And if we all do our part, we might be able to prevent this from happening. We simply need to be willing to make some sacrifices now in order to prevent future generations from suffering later on.
The difference between weather and climate
Weather is what happens in our local area over a short period of time (a few hours or days).
Climate, on the other hand, describes conditions that are observed across larger regions and last longer than just one day.
Climate can also change gradually due to natural processes like volcanic eruptions or asteroid impacts – but these changes happen very slowly, so they’re not noticeable until years later when you look back at historical records from previous decades.
What does it mean for the climate to be changing? Well, if we have warmer temperatures, then there will be more evaporation from oceans and lakes into the atmosphere, which means there’s less water available for plants like crops – plus higher humidity levels make people feel uncomfortable too. This could lead us to have food shortages and social unrest in some areas of the world.
What are the basic arguments against climate change?
There aren’t many arguments against climate change, but there are some people who deny that it is happening.
These people often cite the fact that our planet has experienced long periods of warming and cooling in the past, so this current trend may not be anything special or unusual. This type of climate skepticism is often linked to doubt around the human causation of climate change or doubt about the seriousness of the trend.
However, scientists have been able to show through ice core samples taken from glaciers all over Antarctica (and other frozen regions where there is little or no human activity) how atmospheric levels of CO² were much lower than today’s during previous ice ages due to changes in our planet’s orbit around the sun.
They’ve also pointed out numerous ways humans contribute directly to global warming, such as burning fossil fuels for energy production and transportation; these emissions trap heat near Earth’s surface, causing temperatures to rise.
Climate change projections for the future
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of international scientists who periodically release reports about the state of climate change.
In their fourth assessment report, released in 2007, they stated with 90% certainty that humans have been the main cause of global warming since the 1950s.
Their fifth assessment report, which was released in 2014, was even more conclusive and stated that it’s “extremely likely” – meaning there’s a 95-100% chance – that human activities are causing most of the current global warming we’re seeing.
Based on this and other evidence, scientists have been making predictions about what could happen if we don’t take steps to reduce our emissions. Some of these predictions include:
- A rise in global temperatures of at least two degrees Celsius by the end of this century
- More extreme weather events, like hurricanes and droughts
- Sea levels could rise by up to one meter by 2100
- The Arctic could be ice-free during the summer within 25 years
What we can do to mitigate climate change
There are a lot of things we can do to help mitigate climate change – some small and easy changes that everyone can make, like turning off lights when you’re not using them or recycling your plastics and paper.
Others are more difficult, like moving away from fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy sources. But we all have to do our part if we want to make a real difference, and it’s going to take more than just small changes – it’s going to take a global effort.
So what does this mean for the future?
The reality is that climate change is happening, and it’s happening fast. The effects of global warming are already being felt by people all over the world, and they’re only going to get worse if we don’t take action soon.
That said, there are things you can do right now to help mitigate some of these effects. There’s no single solution that will solve everything; we need a combination of approaches to reduce emissions and slow down the rate at which our planet is warming up.
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