Everyone knows the risks that climate change poses to our environment. We all are aware that several factors cause climate change. However, research shows that human activity is the primary cause of this severe climate change. In this article, you will learn “Is Climate Change Not Caused By Humans?” So, if you’re interested in learning more about these factors, keep reading!
Before we go any further, let’s first talk about climate change. Do you, for example, understand what climate change is all about?
Simply put, climate change is the global representation of climate alteration defined as changes in the Earth’s natural average climate. The health of the planet’s ecosystems and the future of humanity, and the stability of the global economy are all compromised due to the unbalanced climate on Earth.
Now let’s look into the causes of climate change.
Table of Contents
What Causes Climate Change?
Well, the Earth’s climate mechanism is simple: When gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap solar energy, the mechanism results in the Earth being significantly warmer than it would be in the absence of an atmosphere. (the greenhouse effect)
The Earth’s climate is influenced by a range of natural and human factors. Let’s read about these factors in a better way.
Natural Causes Of Climate Change
The Earth’s climate is impacted and altered by natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, ocean currents, Earth’s orbital movements, solar fluctuation, and internal variability. Let’s read a bit about the major one’s:
1. Volcano eruption
Do you know that these natural eruptions are among the significant natural causes which lead to climate change? In other words, sulfur dioxide, water vapor, dust, and ash are all emitted into the sky when a volcano erupts.
Although the volcanic activity may only last a few days, the massive proportions of gases and ash can long-term impact climatic patterns:
A significant eruption can release millions of tonnes of sulfur dioxide into the high atmosphere.
The gases and dust particles block most of the sun’s light, resulting in cooling.
Sulfur dioxide reacts with water to generate sulphuric acid droplets. Since these droplets are so minute, they can persist in the air for years.
Mount Pinatubo, for example, exploded in the Philippines in April 1991, releasing thousands of tonnes of toxins into the atmosphere. Large volcanic eruptions can restrict the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, decreasing temperatures in the lower atmosphere and altering atmospheric circulation patterns.
2. Continental Drift
You may have observed something unusual about South America and Africa on a global map. Like, don’t they appear to fit together like crossword puzzle pieces?
If yes, then you got it right! They united together over 200 million years ago. Scientists believe that the planet was not as it is today and that the continents were all part of a single enormous landmass back then. Flora and fauna fossils found on the eastern and western coasts of South America and Africa, which are today separated by the Atlantic Ocean, bear witness to this.
The emergence of tropical plant fossils in Antarctica has led to the hypothesis that this frozen area was closer to the equator, with low temperatures, swamps, and abundant lush flora. The continents that we know today were formed millions of years ago when the landmass began progressively drifting away. Due to this drift, the physical characteristics of the landmass, their location, and the location of water bodies all shifted, affecting the climate.
The division of landmasses altered the flow of oceanic currents and winds, which impacted the climate.
If you are aware, even today, the continents are drifting; for instance, the Himalayan range is rising by around 1 mm each year as the Indian landmass slowly but steadily moves towards the Asian landmass.
3. Ocean Currents
You must be aware that oceans play a significant role in the climate system, for instance:
They cover over 71% of the Earth’s surface and absorb roughly twice as much solar radiation as the atmosphere or land surface.
Ocean currents transport large amounts of heat across the globe, roughly equaling the amount carried by the atmosphere.
Ocean currents have a more significant impact on some places of the planet than others. The Humboldt current, which runs along Peru’s coast, directly impacts the country’s coast and surrounding areas. The Pacific Ocean’s El Nino event has the potential to alter climate conditions all across the world.
Human Causes Of Climate Change
Everyone knows that the Industrial Revolution saw the widespread usage of fossil fuels for industrial purposes in the 19th century. Due to these industries, people came from rural areas to cities, which produced jobs. This pattern continues to this day. The consequences are as follows:
More and more land formerly covered in vegetation has been cleared to make place for dwellings.
Natural resources are widely employed in construction, transportation, and consumer goods.
Consumerism has exploded in recent years, resulting in mountains of garbage. In addition, our population has exploded to astounding proportions.
All of this has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Oil, coal, and natural gas provide most of the energy required to power vehicles, produce electricity for industries, and power homes.
About 34% of carbon dioxide emissions, 1/5 of methane emissions, and a significant amount of nitrous oxide are attributed to the energy sector. It also produces nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), which are not greenhouse gases but impact the chemical processes that produce and remove greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Without a doubt, carbon dioxide is the most significant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen due to changes in land-use patterns, deforestation, land clearance, agriculture, and other activities.
Another significant greenhouse gas in the air is methane. This is emitted in many ways, for example:
Farmed animals such as dairy cows, goats, pigs, buffaloes, camels, horses, and sheep emit about 14% of methane emissions. During the cud-chewing process, these animals release methane.
Rice or paddy fields flooded during the sowing and maturation phases also emit methane.
When soil is submerged in water, it becomes anaerobic or oxygen-deficient. Methane-producing bacteria and other organisms degrade organic materials in the soil to produce methane under these conditions.
Landfills and other trash dumps generate methane as well.
Methane is also released during the oil drilling and coal mining processes and from leaking gas pipes.
Carbon dioxide is released when garbage is burned in an incinerator or in the open. Fertilizer use has been blamed for a substantial portion of nitrous oxide emissions. This, in turn, is dependent on the type of fertilizer used, how and when it is applied, and the tilling techniques used. Leguminous plants that add nitrogen to the soil, such as beans and pulses, also contribute.
The elements above are the key contributors to our climate’s catastrophic transformation. Now let’s look at some data that will help us understand how human actions harm our world.
Statistical Data On Climate Change
The following facts demonstrate how human activities are harming our planet and what’s the current situation of climate change:
2011-2020 was the warmest on record, with global average temperatures rising 1.1 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels in 2019.
Global warming caused by humans is increasing at a rate of 0.2°C every decade.
A 2°C increase in temperature relative to pre-industrial periods has significant negative consequences for the natural ecosystem and human health and wellbeing, including a much-increased likelihood of harmful and potentially catastrophic changes in the global environment.
As a result, the international community has recognized the importance of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep it below 1.5°C.
You’ve probably figured out by now that a combination of natural and human-induced processes causes climate change. Human actions, on the other hand, are the primary cause.
Everybody is aware that global warming and climate change can cause biological systems to malfunction. More precisely, it directly affects ecosystem functioning and, as a result, the biodiversity of plants, animals, and other forms of life. Numerous species of flora and wildlife will almost certainly become extinct if global average surface temperatures rise another 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.
To tackle climate change, everyone must discover ways to significantly reduce their energy consumption patterns in favour of less carbon-intensive energy generation, transportation, and land management. By doing so, humanity may take the first step toward reclaiming the climate and the ecosystem.
Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.