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What is Climate Change?

Climate change involves the various changes within our climate that results in significant weather transformations over a period of time. Many causes of climate change are natural, but studies have also proven that humans have had their fair share of contribution towards climate change as well. The natural causes of climate change can range from fluctuating temperatures and precipitation to changes in volcanic activity, solar output, and the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, as mentioned before, causes of climate change can be human-related as well. These can include but are not limited to, the destruction of trees and forests, the burning of fossil fuels, and the buildup of greenhouse gases. Activities such as the ones described above end up changing the land surface and release various substances into our atmosphere over a period of time. Ultimately, when this happens, the amount of energy consumed and the amount energy discharged can influence both warming and cooling effects on the climate. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat into the atmosphere have inadvertently warmed the Earth and are causing a large range of impacts. All of the above contributions have added to an increasing regularity of natural disasters, fires, droughts, rainfall, floods, rises in sea levels, and global warming. Which brings us to, how do we particularly prepare for these potential disastrous events?

Fossil Fuel combustion is directly associated with carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The impact that humans have had in relation to this process has been a warming effect, which has been powered largely by the emissions of carbon dioxide and supplemented by emissions of other greenhouse gases. When these gases release themselves for a long period of time, they begin to warm the planet to levels that it has never experienced before. Scientists expect that these happenings will at the very least continue and at the worst steadily increase. The greenhouse effect takes place when greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat and as a result keeps it close to the earth. The actual term “greenhouse effect” refers to how the gases in the earth’s atmosphere naturally keep the earth warm. This is very similar to how a greenhouse keeps a plant warm, which is where the term “greenhouse” effect, got its name. Many greenhouse gases are produced naturally; however, human activities have increased their levels, as well as produced new greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are just a few examples of greenhouse gases. The activities that contribute most towards the production of greenhouse gases include the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gasoline, gas and coal), industrial processes, mining, sewer systems, agricultural practices, and the cutting down of trees. Because the atmosphere has been warming up over the past 30 years, 4 percent more water vapor has been added into the oceans over that duration of time. Scientists have conducted numerous studies and are proposing that increased levels of these gases are contributing to climate change. Water vapor is the most dominant greenhouse gas, but human activity has not been proven to be a direct link to this.

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