CLIMATE CHANGE: RISING SEE LEVELS

Topics: Climate change, Global warming, Greenhouse gas Pages: 5 (1722 words) Published: December 3, 2013


GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: RISING SEA LEVELS

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: RISING SEA LEVELS
The crux of the sea level issue is that it starts very slowly but once it gets going it is practically unstoppable…There is no way I can see to stop this rise, even if we have gone to zero emissions.”     —Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf,Reuters, Sep. 30, 2009 Changes in the earth's weather, temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, defines climate change especially changes in the temperature that is brought on by green houses gases and other factors.

Usually, climate change is used interchangeably with another common term, global warming. However, global warming occurs due to increase levels of compounds such as carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the atmosphere that causes a green house effect leading to a gradual increase in the temperature of the earth. Though the two physical phenomena are used interchangeably they are in fact different. Global warming is caused by green house gases and thus leads to climate change (Climate Science Glossary, 2013). CAUSES OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

These changes in the climate are influenced by two main factors which are, natural and anthropogenic factors (human induced). Today the anthropogenic factors are those responsible for rapid changes in climate that are occurring due to the advance technologies and luxury lifestyle of humans. The main causes associated with climate change are greenhouse gases, land use change and aerosols. Green house gases

Sunlight is allowed to enter the earth’s atmosphere in order for the heat radiation to be absorbed by the earth’s natural greenhouse gases to keep the earth warm. Without these gases the temperature of the earth will be a terrifying -19°C, but thankfully with these natural greenhouse gases the earth’s average surface temperature is approximately 14°C. As the years increase, the amount of greenhouses gases have also increased and is still increasing due to the industrial revolution and the increase in human activities. This increase in these heat absorbing gases has led to the retention of more heat in the atmosphere, known as Global Warming and thus affecting the climatic system. The main greenhouse gases are: water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Aerosols
Next, are the effects of aerosols and their ability to affect climate change. There are two significant ways in which they alter the climate: by scattering and absorbing solar infrared radiation and also changing the lifetime and extent of clouds by changing the chemical properties as well as their microphysical properties. Although the planet is cooled by the scattering of the solar radiation, on the other side of the coin, instead of the earth’s surface absorbing the sunlight, the aerosols are directly warming the air by the absorption of the radiation. A great amount and variety of aerosols are produced by industries, the burning processes and biomass, by emissions of exhaust that maybe aerosols or converted to aerosols in the atmosphere and also the dust from agricultural processes as a bi- product.

Land-use change
The amount of radiation being reflected back into space is also affected by land- use changes. Research states that one half of these changes took place during the era of industrial revolution, where forests were replaced by agricultural cropping. Additionally, tropical deforestation also impacted on climate change as the rates of evapotranspiration were altered, as well as desertification where the surface albedo( fraction of solar energy reflected back into space from the Earth’s surface) is increased and the characteristics of soil moisture were changed as well. Although irrigation in agriculture leads to an increase in the absorption of solar energy and the evaporation taking place it is cancelled out by forest clearing which decreases both processes. EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE WITH RESPECT TO RISING SEA LEVELS...
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