Climate Essay

892 WordsFeb 21, 20144 Pages
Scientific evidence of the world’s changing climate is unequivocal. The expected impacts of the changing climate are likely to adversely affect the well being of all countries and particularly the poorest countries, some of which are in Africa. “The changing climate has been manifested in the form of: increased severity and frequency of droughts; floods and storms; water stress, coastal erosion, and higher incidence of vector borne diseases among others” (Crowley). So what causes these catastrophic disasters? To answer this question, it is important to understand the causes of climate change. Through changes in the greenhouse effect, variations in the sun’s energy reaching the Earth and changes in the reflectivity of Earth’s atmosphere and surface, these crucial factors have impacted Earth’s climate to alter on all time scales. The Greenhouse Effect is the “warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of a planet that is caused by conversion of solar radiation into heat in a process involving selective transmission of short wave solar radiation by the atmosphere, its absorption by the planet's surface, and re-radiation as infrared which is absorbed and partly reradiated back to the surface by atmospheric gases” (Merriam-Webster). Greenhouse gases (GHGs) like water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane absorb energy, slowing or preventing the loss of heat to space. In this way, GHGs act like a blanket, making Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. “Since the Industrial Revolution began around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially to climate change by adding CO2 and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere” (Nordhaus). CO2 is absorbed and emitted naturally as part of the carbon cycle, through animal and plant respiration, volcanic eruptions, and ocean-atmosphere exchange. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use,

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