Our planet is unique in its ability to support life. However, within the limitations of our understanding of the terms evolution and progress, we humans have contributed to a number of disastrous alterations in the climate. Some of them are:
- Increased carbon dioxide emissions.
- Increase in greenhouse gas levels.
- Increase in land, water, and air pollution levels.
Climate change refers to a long-term deviation in the average weather patterns over a specific region, over a significant period of time. The abnormal variations cause subsequent effects on the Earth's atmosphere and significant regions like the polar ice caps and the natural habitat of different life forms. Its various causes are identified and measured with the help of environmental policies that keep periodical track of environmental damage and the shift in any or all the dynamic Earth processes. The triggers are all interrelated human activities as well as external factors, and collectively take a toll on 'climate forcing'. In climate science, it relates to the change in net irradiance, calculated at tropopause.
What causes climate change?
Its effect on the planet and various life forms that inhabit it, manifests over an extended period of time. The internal variability is recognized in the form of hysteresis. In this measure, the development recorded does not correlate or correspond to planned input. However, this is not only the cause of rapid deterioration of our environment, but is also irreversible and so harms more. Here are some of the major causes:
There are a number of variations in solar activity that have been observed through the study of sunspots and beryllium isotopes. The Sun provides the Earth with heat energy, an integral part of our climate. Solar variation has triggered a phenomenon called global warming.
The elliptical path taken by the Earth around the Sun plays a significant role in the distribution and amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface. These Milankovitch cycles have a direct impact on glacial activity. The eccentricity, precession, and axial tilt of the Earth, along the elliptical path, creates a shift in seasons.
The landmass on the planet is made up of plate tectonics that shift, rub against one another, and even drift apart. This results in the repositioning of continents, wear and tear of the mountains, large-scale carbon storage, and increased glaciation.
In the course of volcanism, material from the Earth's core and mantle is brought to the surface, as a result of the heat and pressure generated within. Phenomena like volcanic eruptions and geysers release particulates into the Earth's atmosphere, that affect the climate.
Climate changes also result from the atmosphere-ocean relationship. Fluctuations such as the El Niño Southern oscillation and the Arctic oscillation act as heat reservoirs within the oceans. Thermohaline circulation refers to the redistribution of heat via slow and deep oceanic currents.
There are a number of anthropogenic factors that are responsible for the variability in the Earth's environment. The result of human influence on the climate is not only direct, but also unambiguous. Increase in carbon dioxide levels arising from fossil fuel combustion, release of aerosols or particulate matter, extensive land use and deforestation have resulted in severe climatic change.
Factors known as 'feedback' either amplify or reduce the effect of climate change on human life. The feedback comprise a number of interconnected processes that trigger a shift in related or subsequent changes in the Earth's climate. Among the most significant indicators are glaciers, vegetation, permafrost regions, fossil palynomorphs, and global average sea levels.