January 16, 2017

Climate Change Defined

The term “climate modification” is not a term commonly used by scientists any longer. This is because it is now generally understood that changes to the environment will effectively increase the temperature in many places on earth, at the same time causes the temperature in other locations to cool. Therefore, what has in the past been referred to as climate modification is now known generally as global climate change. And many scientists believe that the global climate is warming.

Let us offer a simple definition for climate change as it relates to the global warming. The clearest and most accurate definition of  climate change involves the description of the effect that greenhouse gases have on the climate of our world. Greenhouse gases are partly made up of carbon dioxide and methane.

We must first understand that climate change is both a naturally occurring state, and it is also man-made. In other words, greenhouse gases are a natural part of the biosphere and they would exist even if there was no human habitation on the planet. They are actually a critical and necessary part of life on earth. If they didn’t exist, the temperature on our world would actually average around zero degrees! It is naturally occurring gases that the temperature at a much more temperate average of 59 degrees.

So, if we determine that climate change occurs naturally, why is there so much fuss about global warming? The problem is not the existence of greenhouse gases, but their volume in the atmosphere. These gases act much like thermal blankets for the atmosphere. As the volume of gas increases, the thicker the blanket and the less heat escapes. Over the last century, humankind has been pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. At the same time, massive deforestation has occurred — and with it, the primary source to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This is what is causing overall world temperatures to rise.

So, what can we expect as our planet heats up? Well, for one, the glaciers are beginning to shrink. Glacier National Park may well have to be renamed since it has seen a sixty-five percent reduction of all of its glaciers! While we may not yet be able to determine the exact end results of these changes to our world’s environment, it’s reasonable to expect something major to be evident in the century ahead.

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