Surely you have heard many times in recent years about climate change and the consequences it can have in the medium and long term. But, Do you really know what the term itself means and if it is as serious as they say?
The reality is that climate changes have always occurred, since it is nothing more than a long-term modification of the climate due to excessive warming of the entire earth's surface. Under natural conditions it is a normal process, typical of the globe, but humans in recent decades have aggravated it through the so-called greenhouse effect. So that, What is climate change?
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What is climate change?
Meteorology is a broad and complex field of research, since the weather has never been static, and this is something that we ourselves can notice with the passing of the seasons, and even of the days. There are many factors involved: altitude, distance from the equator, ocean currents, among others. When we speak of 'climate change' we refer to the long-term global variation in terrestrial climate. The term was coined in 1988 by a group of scientists who concluded that continued carbon emissions were accelerating natural climate change.
These experts produced a series of reports that most of the major governments must comply if they don't want the destructive effects to go further.
The causes of climate change can be natural o anthropogenic, that is, by human action.
Among the main natural causes we find the following:
- Ocean currents
- Earth's magnetic field
- Solar variations
- Meteorite or asteroid impacts
- Volcano activity
All of them have at some time caused a major climate change. For example, 65 million years ago an asteroid hit the Earth and ended up causing an Ice Age, wiping out the few dinosaurs that were left alive after the disaster. In more recent times, the theory is increasingly accepted that 12.800 years ago a meteorite that struck Mexico caused the same thing.
It had not been possible to speak that man could aggravate climate change until el Homo sapiens will start to deforest the forests to turn them into farmland. It is true that during that time (about 10 years ago) the human race did not exceed five million, that although it is an important figure, the impact on the Earth was much less than today.
We are currently on the verge of reaching 7 billion people. And what we are doing to the planet is beginning to take its toll, since since the Industrial Revolution we have increased emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide or methane, which contribute to worsening the greenhouse effect. But, what does it consist of?
When talking about this process, reference is made to the retention of heat from the sun in the atmosphere by a layer of gases (such as CO2, methane, or nitrous oxide) found in it. It is important to know that without this effect there could not be life as we know it, because the planet would simply be too cold. Nature is in charge of balancing emissions, but we have made it difficult for them: we have increased emissions by 30% since last century.
Today practically all scientists agree that our mode of energy production and consumption is altering the climate, which will in turn cause serious impacts on the Earth and, therefore, on our way of life.
According to the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the negative consequences of climate change are already beginning to be felt throughout the Earth. Temperatures have risen 0,6ºC in the 10th century, and the sea level has risen by 12 to 0.4 centimeters. The forecasts are not at all promising: temperatures between 4 to 25 degrees higher are expected throughout the 82st century and a rise in sea level between XNUMX and XNUMX centimeters.
Consequences of current climate change
We know the temperatures are going to rise, but What do we have to face? Having a more pleasant climate can be good news for many people, but the truth is that we have to prepare for consequences that can change our world forever.
Effects on living beings
Deaths, illnesses, allergies, malnutrition,… in short, everything that we don't like will increase due to high temperatures. In addition, new diseases will appear, and those that were normally concentrated in tropical regions, will advance towards mid-latitudes.
Plants and animals will also be affected: spring events such as flowering or egg laying will come early. Some species will stop migrating, and others will instead be forced to do so if they want to survive.
Consequences on Earth
By increasing CO2 emissions, the ocean will also absorb more of this gas so will acidify. As a consequence, many animals, such as coral or mussels, will perish. At high latitudes, the volume of algae and plankton will alter.
Low-lying islands and coasts will be submerged due to rising sea levels; and in many areas floods will be one of the most worrying problems they will have to deal with.
Moreover, the drought will intensify in those regions where rainfall is scarce in itself.
As you have seen, climate change is something very serious and that everyone should be aware of, especially the leaders of the great world powers. In the medium term, the planet could suffer a series of irreparable consequences.