Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Climate change - causes and effects

Climate change
Climate change refers to the sum of all statistical weather information of the atmospheric elements, with specified area over a long period of time. Climate never remains static but is a dynamic process and changes to a lesser or greater degree. Climate change is a common deviation from average as well as extreme temperatures.
The Earth's surface and lowest part of the atmosphere have warmed up to an average by almost 0.6C during the last 100 years. If the rate climate change is constant, global surface temperatures could be anywhere between 1.4 and 5.8C higher now than in 1999 by 2100. Sea level rise is projected to be between 9 and 88cm by 2100.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC-1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP-1997) represent the first steps taken by the international community to protect the climate system from man-made interferences. Several countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5% by 2008 to 2012. In practical terms, this means
  • using resources, particularly fossil-fuel-derived energy more efficiently
  • reusing and recycling products wherever possible and
  • developing renewable forms of energy that are inexhaustible and do not pollute the environment
Causes of climate change
  1. Variation of Earth's orbital characteristics
  2. Atmospheric carbon dioxide variations 
  3. Volcanic eruptions and
  4. Variations in solar output
Effects of climate change
Climate change has pronounced effects on every part of the Earth. It affects both living and non living components of most ecosystems on the Earth.
  1. Mean Sea Level (MSL) is increased by around 1.8mm per year.
  2. Many ecosystems of the world will have to adapt rapidly to the constantly changing global temperatures.
  3. The rate of species becoming extinct will be increased.
  4. Human health, agriculture, forestry and water resources will be affected.
  5. Increasing change in surface temperatures, changing rates of evapo-transpiration and precipitation (due to climate change) will influence the hydrological cycle.
  6. Frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increased leading to unexpected flooding and drought
  7. Societies experiencing social, economic and climatic stress will be worst affected and least able to adapt.