Climate Change

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Climate change

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Q) What is CLIMATE CHANGE? Ans) Climate change is a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average (e.g., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region or may occur across the whole Earth.

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Causes Climate change reflects a change in the energy balance of the climate system, i.e. changes the relative balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation from Earth. When this balance changes it is called "radiative forcing", and the calculation and measurement of radiative forcing is one aspect of the science of climatology. Forcing mechanisms can be either "internal" or "external". Internal forcing mechanisms are natural processes within the climate system itself, e.g., the meridional turnover. External forcing mechanisms can be either natural (e.g., changes in solar output) or anthropogenic (e.g., increased emissions of greenhouse gases).

Past Climate Change:

Past Climate Change The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. From glacial periods (or "ice ages") where ice covered significant portions of the Earth to interglacial periods where ice retreated to the poles or melted entirely - the climate has continuously changed. Scientists have been able to piece together a picture of the Earth's climate dating back decades to millions of years ago by analyzing a number of surrogate, or "proxy," measures of climate such as ice cores, boreholes, tree rings, glacier lengths, pollen remains, and ocean sediments, and by studying changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun.

Recent Climate Change:

Recent Climate Change Since the Industrial Revolution (around 1750), human activities have substantially added to the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels and biomass (living matter such as vegetation) has also resulted in emissions of aerosols that absorb and emit heat, and reflect light. The addition of greenhouse gases and aerosols has changed the composition of the atmosphere. The changes in the atmosphere have likely influenced temperature, precipitation, storms and sea level (IPCC, 2007).

Future Climate Change:

Future Climate Change Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will increase during the next century unless greenhouse gas emissions decrease substantially from present levels. Increased greenhouse gas concentrations are very likely to raise the Earth's average temperature, influence precipitation and some storm patterns as well as raise sea levels (IPCC, 2007). The magnitude of these changes, however, is uncertain.

Changes in Sea Level:

Changes in Sea Level Higher temperatures are expected to raise sea level by: expanding ocean water, melting mountain glaciers and small ice caps, causing portions of the coastal section of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to melt or slide into the ocean. Higher temperatures are also likely to increase the amount of snowfall over central Greenland and Antarctica. The higher snowfall is likely to offset part of the sea level rise from other factors because the additional snow is composed of water that would otherwise be in the ocean.

Future Temperature Changes:

Future Temperature Changes Most climate change scenarios project that greenhouse gas concentrations will increase through 2100 with a continued increase in average global temperatures (IPCC 2007). How much and how quickly the Earth's temperature will increase remains unknown given the uncertainty of future greenhouse gas, aerosol emissions and the Earth's response to changing conditions. In addition, natural influences, such as changes in the sun and volcanic activity, may affect future temperature, although the extent is unknown because the timing and intensity of natural influences cannot be predicted.

Green House Gases:

Green House Gases Carbon Dioxide (CO2) : Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle. Methane (CH4) : Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) : Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. Fluorinated Gases : Hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (i.e., CFCs, HCFCs, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).

Health & Environmental Effects:

Health & Environmental Effects Health Agriculture and Food Supply Forests Ecosystems and Biodiversity Coastal Zones and Sea Level Rise Water Resources Energy Production and Use Public Lands and Recreation Polar Regions International Extreme Events Adaptation


Health Human beings are exposed to climate change through changing weather patterns (for example, more intense and frequent extreme events) and indirectly through changes in water, air, food quality and quantity, ecosystems, agriculture, and economy. At this early stage the effects are small but are projected to progressively increase in all countries and regions.

Agriculture & Food Supply:

Agriculture & Food Supply Various climatic factors which affect CROP PRODUCTIVITY - Average temperature increase Change in rainfall amount and patterns Rising atmospheric concentrations of CO2 Pollution levels such as tropospheric ozone Change in climatic variability and extreme events


Forests The effects of climate change on forests in the various parts of the world will depend not only on climatic factors but also on stresses from pollution (e.g., acid rain); future trends in forest management practices, including fire control and demand for timber; and land-use change. It is difficult to separate the influence of climate change from these other pressures.

Ecosystems & Biodiversity:

Ecosystems & Biodiversity Climate is an integral part of ecosystems and organisms have adapted to their regional climate over time. Climate change is a factor that has the potential to alter ecosystems and the many resources and services they provide to each other and to society. Human societies depend on ecosystems for the natural, cultural, spiritual, recreational and aesthetic resources they provide.

Coastal Zones & Sea Level Rise:

Coastal Zones & Sea Level Rise Sea level is rising around the world. In the last century, sea level rose 5 to 6 inches more than the global average along the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, because coastal lands there are subsiding. Higher temperatures are expected to further raise sea level by expanding ocean water, melting mountain glaciers and small ice caps, and causing portions of Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets to melt .

Water Resources:

Water Resources The future effects of climate change on water resources in the various other parts of the world will depend on trends in both climatic and non-climatic factors. Evaluating these impacts is challenging because water availability, quality and stream flow are sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. Other important factors include increased demand for water caused by population growth, changes in the economy, development of new technologies, changes in watershed characteristics and water management decisions.

Energy Production & Use :

Energy Production & Use Energy production and use are sensitive to changes in the climate. For example, increasing temperatures will reduce consumption of energy for heating but increase energy used for cooling buildings. The implications of climate change for energy supply are less clear than for energy demand. Climate change effects on energy supply and demand will depend not only on climatic factors, but also on patterns of economic growth, land use, population growth and distribution, technological change and social and cultural trends that shape individual and institutional actions.

Public Lands & Recreation:

Public Lands & Recreation National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and other protected areas harbor unique environments and wildlife not found elsewhere. This raises particular concerns about the vulnerability of these ecosystems to a changing climate. Many parks and refuges are designated to protect rare natural features or particular species of plants and animals. Changes in climate could create new stresses on natural communities, and, in the absence of adaptation, lead to the loss of valued resources.

Polar Regions:

Polar Regions The Arctic is expected to experience the greatest rates of warming compared with other world regions. In part, this is because ice has greater reflectivity (also known as albedo) than the ocean or land. Melting of highly reflective snow and ice reveals darker land and ocean surfaces, increasing absorption of the sun's heat and further warming the planet, especially in those regions. There is evidence that climate change is already having observable impacts in the Arctic and in Antarctica.


International Many global issues are climate-related and thus may be affected by climate change. These include water resource availability and food security, especially for areas already afflicted by drought and extreme weather events. Sea-level rise is a particular concern for low-lying coasts and island nations. Some nations will likely experience more adverse effects than others, while other nations may benefit. Poorer nations are generally more vulnerable to the consequences of global warming.

Extreme Events:

Extreme Events Since 1950, the number of heat waves has increased and widespread increases have occurred in the numbers of warm nights. The extent of regions affected by droughts has also increased as precipitation over land has marginally decreased while evaporation has increased due to warmer conditions. Generally, numbers of heavy daily precipitation events that lead to flooding have increased, but not everywhere. Tropical storm and hurricane frequencies vary considerably from year to year, but evidence suggests substantial increases in intensity and duration since the 1970s.In the extratropics , variations in tracks and intensity of storms reflect variations in major features of the atmospheric circulation, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation.


Adaption Some degree of future climate change will occur regardless of future greenhouse gas emissions . Adapting to or coping with climate change will therefore become necessary in certain regions and for certain socioeconomic and environmental systems. The need for adaptation may be increased by growing populations in areas vulnerable to extreme events.  However, according to the IPCC, “adaptation alone is not expected to cope with all the projected effects of climate change, and especially not over the long term as most impacts increase in magnitude.”

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What all of us can do?

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Change 5 lights Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products Seal and insulate your home Buy smart Drive smart Tune your ride Ask your office building manager if your office building has earned the ENERGY STAR. High school students check your school's climate impact Engage middle school students in estimating emissions Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Made By Naman Bansal

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