Science & Technology
What is Climate Change?
By Rachel Ezeadichie
Volume 2 Issue 7
June 13, 2022
Image provided by The NOAA
Have you ever found yourself wondering why the winters are getting colder and colder? Or why there are more storms and hurricanes, and oceans seem warmer every summer? Well, all these are the effects of climate change and global warming.
Climate change is the long-term change in the temperature and weather on Earth. These changes to the Earth’s temperature are caused by the burning of fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide and methane. These gases get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that reflects off the Earth’s surface. As the heat accumulates in the atmosphere, temperatures rise. And though climate change is naturally occurring, human actions have been accelerating the rate of the phenomenon, causing irreversible damage to the environment, ecosystems, and the Earth as a whole.
Over the past century, the Earth’s temperature has increased by 2°F, which may not seem like much, but it has severely impacted the environment. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass through widespread melting; Greenland has lost about 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019. The global sea level has risen about 8 inches in the past 100 years, and the rate of sea level rising in last two decades has doubled and continues to increase. If it continues at this rate, coastal cities and towns will be flooded. Furthermore, the number of elevated temperature events in the U.S. are rising, as well as the number of intense rainfalls in the U.S. These are only a few of the effects of global warming and they will continue to become more severe over time.
Though climate change will still affect our lives, we can still make efforts to reduce its effects on the Earth. Switching to LED lights bulbs and energy efficient electrical appliances can help conserve energy and fossil fuels. Walking or taking a bike to commute could also conserve energy. Just taking shorter showers and not throwing away as much food could help the environment. These may seem like small actions, but if enough people contribute, they will go a long way. So, see what you can do to help and save our planet!
Sources: NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming Global Warming 101 - Definition, Facts, Causes and Effects of Global Warming | NRDC Burning of fossil fuels - Understanding Global Change (berkeley.edu) ClimateChange | United Nations