We live in an era of global warming, which is caused by the effects of human activities on climate. As Earth’s atmosphere lets in energy from the Sun, it absorbs some of it, reflects some of it and re-emits the rest as heat energy. This energy warms the atmosphere near the surface, a process known as the greenhouse effect. Several gases, including carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, and ozone, are greenhouse gases. They are mainly responsible for the warming effect of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Impacts of climate change on the environment
The effects of climate change are not only immediate, but they will worsen as the world continues to warm. Global warming has already risen by one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As a result, extreme weather events will become more common, heatwaves will be more intense, oceans will become acidic and global mean sea levels will rise. While there is no definitive list of climate change effects, there are clear trends that humans will feel.
Because of the increased temperature and resulting sea-level rise, a greater number of species will be forced to migrate to areas where they are already present. Because of this, the capacity of ecosystems is being exceeded. In addition, climate change is already causing many severe environmental impacts, including the loss of native species. This will have negative effects on the economy and agriculture. The human population is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, and the consequences of climate change will be felt by all human populations.
Human activities that cause climate change
Carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas, is the most prominent cause of recent global warming. It is released during the manufacturing of cement and the burning of fossil fuels. This practice began during the Industrial Revolution and the CO2 concentration has increased significantly since then. Pre-industrial levels of CO2 were about 280 parts per million. Today, the concentration is nearly four times higher than it was then. The current level is the highest it has been since 800,000 years.
While the scientific community debates the exact cause of climate change, scientists agree that humans are the primary culprit. Extensive research demonstrates that human activities are warming the planet. The fourth US National Climate Assessment concluded that 93% to 123% of observed warming during the period 1951-2010 was caused by human activity. While this is far from a certainty, it is still the most comprehensive study available to date. As a result, it’s crucial to know how human activities are affecting our planet.
Impacts of climate change on sea levels
The increasing temperatures in the ocean are impacting Europe and its water bodies. The water is already warmer than the surrounding land, and the warming of the oceans is accounted for 93 per cent of the global warming since 1950. As more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, they trap solar energy, which is then stored in the oceans. This changes the temperature and circulation of the water, which in turn affects polar ice caps.
The global mean water level is rising due to rising temperatures in the atmosphere, melting glaciers and ice sheets in the polar regions, and increasing ocean temperature. Sea levels have risen by about 3.3 millimetres per year over the past 25 years, about twice as fast as during most of the twentieth century. Scientists predict that sea levels will rise about one foot higher than the average in the next century. These changes will lead to more flooding, a higher cost of living, and reduced quality of life.
Impacts of climate change on wildfires
A report released recently on the impacts of climate change on wildfires found that increased fire activity is leading to an increase in global warming. Increasing wildfire activity in Alaska and Southeast Asia is releasing significant quantities of carbon and methane into the atmosphere. Fires that burn through peatlands in Australia are also causing increased global warming. Increasing wildfires also contribute to the increase in carbon emissions in the Amazon rainforest.
Changing climate patterns are leading to drier and warmer conditions, which make wildfires worse. This makes them difficult to extinguish and increases the risk of fire. In the western United States, more land has been burned due to “high-severity” wildfires since 1985, according to a study by the U.S. Forest Service. In addition, drier air and drought create more dead fuel in forests. Regardless of the fuel source, wildfires are fueled by a combination of human and natural factors.