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Evaluating Evidence of Global Climate Change

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Introduction

Climate change is basically defined by many environmentalists as a prolonged change in the distribution of climatic conditions or weather patterns over relatively long periods of time say for instance decades or centuries. It can either be a serious change in weather conditions and patterns or basically a change in the distribution of climatic conditions and weather patterns. Climate change in some instances may be only limited to particular region or at times it can occur in the whole world. Most people use the word climate change to basically mean the modern climatic condition, or at times it is simply referred to as global warming.

Most authorities world over seem to be unanimously agreeing that indeed some thing needs to be done about this whole climate change. However there are quite a number of issues that seem to be acting as stumbling blocks when ever world leader are meeting and deliberating on a framework or strategies to curb it. The United Nations through its environmental program otherwise known as (UNEP) came up with a panel whose mandate was to handle this menace. In the very first meetings and academic debates on this matter, many believed that it was a problem that was cause entirely by human activities but only to be discovered later on that there are other natural factors that are beyond human control that cause global warming and climate change.

Evidence of Global Climate Change Today

Global warming or climate change is considered to be one of the most disturbing and controversial issue in today’s world. The dispute about whether or not the climate changes we experience today are due to global warming or basically human activities has created a lot of debate at various levels .This has become a hot topic of discussion starting from the lower local level to international level. Many are interested in knowing hoe much this climate change is caused by humans and to what extend natural phenomena like volcanicity contributes to this problem. These changes have tremendously intensified over this last decade. This debate has two sides the political side as well as scientific side. 

The political side also plays in the part of how much has been contributed by humans. How have these changes occurred?  There's no doubt about the fact that Earth is going through climate changes; the scientific research shows that the planet's temperature has been steadily rising for the past century and a half. But another fact causes much disagreement: to what extent are humans responsible for the changes? How alarmed should we be by global warming and by the forecasts of its potentially disastrous impact? Is there something to be done about the problem or should we just adjust to climate change? Clearly defined is the evidence of both sides of this argument.

Evaluating the Evidence of Climate Changes

First we must examine what types of changes have occurred over the last decade? It is clear that a lot of changes have occurred that have been very disastrous to our regions and humankind. Especially those in the areas directly affected. A lot of evidence has been brought forward by various concerned groups .Some claim that the evidence that supports this point is the intensified hurricanes that have battered the South recently (Katrina, Rita, and others), flooding coastlines, the raging wildfires in the West, the El Niño phenomenon, droughts in Africa, rising of sea levels in Asia, and a number of other matters as proof of a serious existing problem and as frightening signals of things yet to happen.

Scholars in matters concerning the environment also believe that the latest Tsunami in Japan for instance, has also had some serious impact on the world climate in one way or another. Scientists have also given their academic contributions about the impact that a global climate change has had on recent events particularly natural calamities. The effects of this Tsunami also had an impact on our California shores. Also the California's snow pack which is a vital source of fresh water has fast been depleting, raised sea levels along California's coastline, increased ozone pollution in urban territories, increased the threat of wildfires, and cost the State of California millions of dollars in the aftermath. All these events are contributed to global warming or climate changes around the world.

Naturally, global warming is a process that evolved over decades now. The Earth's long history has indicated that climate change is the rule rather than the exception. Different studies of Earth's temperature record going a million years back clearly recognize numerous climate cycles - warming and cooling trends. Environmentalists claim that these changes are caused by multiple factors including systematic changes in solar output and variations in Earth's orbit, but all these causes are still poorly researched. It is quite seen that in recent times Earth entered a warming period. Over the period from the 1860s to the present, thermometer records show that the air at Earth's surface warmed about 0.6 degrees C. Though, this tendency of warming does not really correlate with the growing use of fossil fuel during the same period. Nearly half of the observed warming took place before 1940.Nevertheless, it is believed that only after 1940 the general amounts of greenhouse gases rose significantly, due to the heavy industrial expansion in the period of World War II and the postwar boom.

In many debates where this matter concerning climate change is discussed, many hold the view that whatever the recent rate of surface warming, there is little justification for the idea that the Earth's climate should be unchanging as well as for that any climate change now taking place must have been caused by humans and should therefore be fixed by humans. In fact, as it was stated above, changing climate activities and cycles have occurred throughout Earth's history. For millions of years, icebergs regularly melted and waned as global heating and cooling processes took place. A heating process began about 12,000 years ago, signifying the start of an interglacial period that continues to this day. This period could have peaked 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, as global process of iceberg melting accelerated and global temperature became higher than today's. Interglacial periods are said to continue for about 10,000 years, so the next ice age may come soon - that is, in 500 to 1,000 years. Organizations press for international commitments much stronger than the Kyoto protocol to reduce the combustion of fossil fuels; they justify the measures as precautionary. Their opponents argue that the social and economic impacts of forced reductions in fossil fuel use would be even more serious than the effects of a temperature rise, which could be small, or even beneficial.

Causes

The are quite number of factors that many environmentalist have suggested that are likely to be the major causes of climate change. Some of the factors include natural phenomena like changes in the sea level and related activities like glaciers, solar energy and the suns position and its effects on the ozone layer. According to Griffin James (2003) there are other many factors too for instance development or emergence of mountains, continental drift and many others like greenhouse effect.  Some of the human activities that are said to be responsible for climate change may include farming activities, mining and also the kind of fuels they use.

Part two

Climate Changes Caused by Humans

Personally I think by and large climate change is caused by human activities and partly by natural phenomena. There is a lot of evidence that people and their activities greatly influence the global climate. Available data on global climate change indicate that the temperature of the earth’s surface is steadily increasing. This increase can largely attributed to human activities like the increased emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Climatic changes affect both physical systems and biological systems all over the world. Carbon dioxide is by and large as a result of burning coal in a bid to generate power. Some of the other human activities include transporting of electricity by use of power lines to over long distances, burning of substances like gasoline by machines also does release carbon dioxide which is an air pollutant hence leading to climate change.

Greenhouse gases is yet another contributor of global warming or climate change and is a form of air pollution some caused by humans and human made elements. This air pollution or greenhouse gas is a big problem today and for human life in the future. Pollutants in the air can cause major problems for small and big cities alike. These pollutants can change the atmosphere’s CO2 content as well as clean oxygen levels. These pollutants cause humans to have interactions that can cause them illnesses like allergies and asthma which in recent years this has intensified to staggering numbers compared to previous decades.  In previous decades these types of illness were seldom heard of, now it is an epidemic. These changes in the atmosphere and others are contributed to the human factor.

Though the dispute over human impact upon climate probably won't be resolved for decades, a case can be made for adopting a less contradictory view of a warmer world. In any case, the warmer world is already here. In the past 2,500 years, global temperatures have varied by more than 3ºC, and some of the changes have been much more rapid than the gradual changes. During all of the Earth history, humans have survived in such climate zones that are more different from one another than those that maybe the result of the climate changes now being discussed (Boersema and Reindeers, 2009).

Since our society has choices, we must ask what the potential effects might be if people decided to adjust to climate change, regardless of its causes, as well as if governments implemented drastic policies to attempt to lessen the presumed human contribution to the change. At least partly under the impact of natural causes, the process of global warming has been taking place for more than a century, and the world has been adapting to it as it did to before. If human activity is finally proved to contribute to the natural warming, the amount of the contribution may be small, and humans can adjust to that as well, at relatively low cost or even get benefit.  The more effective would be policies and actions of the industrial countries to accelerate the development of new technologies that utilizes other resources more efficiently and less harmful for the environment.

In spite of the complexities surrounding the evidence of global warming and greenhouse gases; caused by humans or not in our ever changing planet; One thing is for sure the scientific side and the human side can work together to significantly change the future of the rising climate changes on the earth. The environmental challenge will be how to combat the climate changes in the 21st century. The subject of greenhouse gases we are adding now to the atmosphere have very long lifetimes - on the order of centuries, so the time to act is now. The issue of global warming or climate change is a polarizing subject and a source of heated political, social, economic and scientific dispute. How will we respond to making small changes now that will contribute to the overall reduction of greenhouse gases?

Most scientists seem to agree that indeed that climate change is largely caused by some of the human activities. The field of Science has actually made huge and many inroads in exploring climate change, causes and effects. They too have come up with some of the potential problems that are likely to be caused by it in future. This insight and understanding is necessary because it may allow concerned authorities in making decisions and coming up with policies to curb the same. There are some other aspects of climate change which are yet to be known but a lot of gathered evidence suggests that the climate changes we experience are caused by humans. Some of the other human factors include deforestation, improper land use and agriculture.

It will be unfair if we totally refuse to acknowledge the fact that other than human activities, thre are some other natural phenomena that partly contribute to climate change for instance global warming.

Climate is caused by the changes in the earth

Solar energy and related changes in the atmosphere

The sun as the predominant energy source on this planet, both long and short term changes and variations in it can somehow cause changes in the climate of the world. Scientists reported that a few centuries ago the sun less energy than it does today. The energy output that the sun emits increased and the composition of the atmosphere changed. Solar output is believed to vary over time. Although the cyclical behavior of the energy that is produced by the sun is yet to be fully understood, many scientist believe that it keeps on increasing over time .Most research on the solar energy shows that solar energy variability does produce some cooling effect

Changes in Vegetation

Changes in the vegetation type and its distribution do affect the climate. For instance in situations like where there is a slight change in climate could easily result in increased aspects like precipitation or even warmth in the atmosphere which may consequently lead to improved growth in plants .Faster and rapid changes could result in vegetation related changes, rapid loss in vegetation or even desertification can lead to climate change.( Relman D and Hamburg M.  2008)

Changes in the sea

Other aspects like change in global sea level take like centuries to change and in the process affect the global climate. This kind of change has been has generally estimated by using measurements in tide gauge that have been taken over long periods of time. Other measurements like the altimeter measurements and determined number of satellite orbits provide evidence that there are changes in the sea level globally. According  to  Spray and McGlothlin (2002)  Scientists have done extensive studies about the sea level using instruments and even coral  reefs at the shore of the ocean and marine terraces  to study the behavior of the sea and indeed ,a lot of their findings suggest that changes in the sea level does contribute heavily on climate change. Another aspect that can be closely studied to give a hint on the climate change is the glaciers. They are in most cases considered to be among some of the most predictable indicators of change in climate. The size of a glacier is normally determined by looking at the balance between the input of snow in an ocean and its melt output. When sea temperatures rise, glaciers sort of retreat a bit and the opposite is also true.

Summary

This clearly shows how various factors come at play when it comes to matter concerning climate change and global warming. This is more than just a problem that is caused by human beings .It should be known that as much as climate change is largely as a result of man and his activities, there are other factors like natural phenomena that cause climate change. Human beings need to take more caution because at the end of the day it is them who will suffer the consequences of climate change.

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