What is climate change?

What is climate change?

Ah, the eternal question.  What exactly is climate change, and why does it matter?

According to dictionary.com:

Climate change: a long-term change in the earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature

Alrighty, let’s break this down!

The Greenhouse Effect:

To understand climate change, we have to understand a topic known as the greenhouse effect.  As you know, the earth’s atmosphere allows light rays to pass through.  Some of these light rays are reflected back into space, but the rest are trapped in by the atmosphere, keeping all of us nice and warm.

At least, that’s what happens normally.

As cars, fossil fuels, and industries create more gases, that atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker.  For this reason, fewer light rays can be reflected back into space, and more heat is trapped on earth.

As time goes on, the normal weather patterns (called climate) begin to change as a result of all the extra heat.  This is called climate change.

the greenhouse effect

What’s wrong with climate change?

So, the earth is getting warmer.  Big deal!  That means that the whole world will be like Hawaii, and we can suntan all year long!  Cool, right?

Ha, ha, ha.

Wrong.

(And also, tanning leads to skin cancer. Probably not a good idea anyway.)

(Just saying)

Here are just some of the effects of climate change:

  • Melting of the polar ice caps
  • Rises in sea level, because of the melting ice
  • Changes in precipitation
  • More droughts and heat waves
  • Hurricanes
  • Effects on wildlife, even causing the extinction of species
  • Impacts on human health, due to worsened smog and increased disease

I’ll be delving into these topics and many more in more detail on my blog, so stay tuned…

I hope you learned a lot from my post!  If you have any questions or subjects that you would like me to focus on, leave a comment below!

-Asha M.

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