We explain what climate change is and what are the causes of this variation. Its effects, consequences and possible solutions.
What is climate change?
We call climate change the variation of stable weather patterns over an extended period of time , which can range from a few decades to millions of years. It is usually accompanied by processes of climate rearrangement that often involve extreme weather events, with a high impact on the ways of life of flora , fauna and humanity.
Geological exploration of various fields of our planet has revealed that climatic conditions in earlier times were quite different: existing deserts were underwater meadows were lush desert, etc . This has confirmed the fact that the climate is not a fixed instance, but varies over time and the factors that hasten this change have been determined.
In recent times, the term climate change has taken effect to also refer to the impact of human activities on the chemical and physical balance of the planet , which would have affected global warming (due to the so-called “greenhouse effect” that produces the abnormal accumulation of gases in the atmosphere ) and, indirectly, in the changing weather conditions of the globe.
At the beginning of the 21st century the debate on climate change is constant : there are sectors that turn on the alarm of the imminent climatic disasters to come (some of which would have already been perceived: hurricane seasons longer than normal, earthquakes , floods and unforeseen droughts, etc.), accusing the hand of man and industry as directly responsible for the rise in planetary temperature.
Other sectors, on the other hand, think that the real impact of humanity is minimal in terms of planetary history and that simply a glacial era comes to an end, so that global warming and climate change are part of a natural stage in the meteorological process of the planet. According to these sectors, it is not true that a radical change in the ways of life and obtaining energy of humanity becomes imperative .
The causes of climate change can be classified into two groups, according to their origin, external and internal:
External causes of climate change
Those that come from outside the planet Earth, such as:
- Solar Variations Changes in heat and energy emissions from the Sun, according to its stellar cycles (11 years).
- Orbital Variations The Earth’s orbit has very slight variations that, accumulated over time, alter the distribution of solar radiation on its surface, thus allowing the appearance or end of glacial and interglacial eras.
- Meteorites . The impact of massive objects coming from space against the Earth is powerful enough to alter the climate, raising large amounts of dust, ash and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus blocking the access of sunlight for years (an artificial glaciation) or destroy the atmosphere and allow its direct entry.
Internal causes of climate change
Those that are due to factors within the planet Earth, such as:
- The continental drift . The movement of tectonic plates on the planet alters the position of the continents and causes climatic changes in them.
- The atmospheric composition The presence of gases that destroy the ozone layer (allowing direct solar entry) or prevent the removal of heat from the atmosphere (greenhouse effect) affect global warming.
- Human intervention According to some specialists, the human industrial activity of a century and a half ago would have thrown enough pollutant gases into the atmosphere and water to hasten the global warming process.
Effects and consequences of climate change
Climate changes tend to have a direct impact on life , since it adapts to its environment and varies along with the climate, gradually.
However, drastic and immediate changes are the most worrying : violent and destructive climatic phenomena can be generated by the imbalance of temperatures and atmospheric pressures, such as cyclones, hurricanes, storms, or prolonged droughts.
Another worrying phenomenon is the melting of the planet’s poles and ice reserves , whose content would add to the water of the oceans and submerge an important portion of the mainland, thus destroying entire cities.
Does climate change have a solution?
The solutions to this effect of weather change are not clear. If it were a natural cycle, there would not be much to do ; But if it is really due to the contaminating effects of man, urgent measures such as:
- Decreased burning fossil fuels that release CO 2 into the atmosphere by replacement with clean energy (green).
- Development of sustainable alternatives for obtaining energy ( solar , wind , geothermal energy ).
- Development of sustainable agricultural patterns, which do not involve the accumulation of large quantities of cattle (and methane from their emanations).