What Climate Change Can Do To You?

How do you understand climate change and the extreme weather conditions going on around you? What can you say about global warming? Do you consider it as the act of God or just plain nature’s wrath? Here is a word for word excerpt from what I read on CNN before: (This is quite a thought about sustainable leadership and entrepreneurship).


Greenland’s ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer’s end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.



It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which is responsible for man-made global warming. For the past days, government diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia about the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on the production of these gases.


What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice.



In the United States, a weakened Arctic blast moving south to collide with moist air from the Gulf of Mexico could mean less rain and snow in some areas including the drought-stricken Southeast, said Michael MacCracken, a former federal climate scientist who now heads the nonprofit Climate Institute. Some regions, like Colorado, would likely get extra rain or snow.



Here are scary predictions and situations that might help you rethink about taking care of your environment

The UN in 2005 made a forecast that the climate change would produce about 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade. On October 12, 2005 the British Guardian reported that the rising sea levels and shrinking supplies of freshwater would create at least 50 million environmental refugees across the world.


As we all know, just like how humans evolved across times, the earth’s climate has also changed throughout history. Apparently, the increased levels of greenhouse gases must have caused the earth to warm in response to the never ending changes in the environment, which is caused by man himself.


The evidence of rapid climate change is very compelling and requires your attention. The evidences revealed that the current warming occurs about ten times faster than the average rate of ice age recovery warming. One of the changes is the rise of the planet’s average surface temperature, which has risen to at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century.


The change was speculated as largely driven by the human made emissions into the atmosphere and increased carbon dioxide. According to NASA, not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but 8 of the 12 months that make up the year, that is from January through September, with the exception of June, were the warmest on record for those months.


The effects?



The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.


The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers of ice between 2002 and 2005.


Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world, including the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa. In fact, NASA had taken an image of the disappearing snowcap of Mount Kilimanjaro, from space.


Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier.


Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades is nearly double that of the last century.


Both the extent and the thickness of the Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.


The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The US has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.


Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which caused oceans the absorb more. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.




What is global warming?

Global warming is the outcome or a measure of the warming effect that arises from the emission of greenhouse gas. The simplest definition for global warming is the continuous increase of the temperature of the earth.



Effects on us

How the greenhouse gas emission and global warming affects us? Life on earth depends on energy coming from the sun. About half the light reaching Earth’s atmosphere passes through the air and clouds to the surface, where it is absorbed and then radiated upward in the form of infrared heat.


About 90% of this heat is then absorbed by the greenhouse gases and radiated back toward the surface, which is warmed to a life supporting an average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. A layer of greenhouse gases, such as the water vapor and amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, acts as a thermal blanket for the Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface to a life supporting an average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).


Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as forcing climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are seen as feedbacks.


Warming results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from the earth towards space. Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include, nitrous oxide, water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide.


Source: NASA

Greenhouse gas

The atmosphere of the earth is composed of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. About 1% is greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide. The atmosphere trapped the heat generated by the greenhouse gases.


Greenhouse gases are crucial to the survival of the humans and other living things on this planet. Without the greenhouse gases, the atmosphere would be too cold to endure and survive.


The most abundant greenhouse gas, but importantly, it acts as a feedback to the climate. Water vapor increases as the Earth’s atmosphere warms, but so does the possibility of clouds and precipitation, making these some of the most important feedback mechanisms to the greenhouse effect.


The carbon dioxide is a minor, but very important component of the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is released through natural processes such as respiration and volcano eruptions and through human activities such as deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels. Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived forcing of climate change.


The methane is a hydrocarbon gas produced both through natural sources and human activities, including the decomposition of wastes in landfills, agriculture, and especially rice cultivation, as well as ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock. On a molecule-for-molecule basis, methane is a far more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but also one which is much less abundant in the atmosphere.


The nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas produced by soil cultivation practices, especially the use of commercial and organic fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass burning.


The chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are synthetic compounds that are entirely of industrial origin used in a number of applications, but now largely regulated in production and release to the atmosphere by international agreement for their ability to contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer. They are also greenhouse gases.


On earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.



What am I driving at?

The urbanization and the human activity that comes with it has increased the greenhouse gases most especially carbon dioxide. This is one factor that triggers global warming. The main cause is the burning of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and other fossil fuels.


The consequences of changing the natural atmospheric greenhouse are difficult to predict, but certain effects can likely be


  • On average, earth will become warmer. Some regions may welcome warmer temperatures, but others may not. The Philippines cannot afford to be warmer. We already are experiencing increasingly hotter sun rays.


  • Warmer conditions will probably lead to more evaporation and precipitation overall, but individual regions will vary, some becoming wetter and others dryer.


  • A stronger greenhouse effect will warm the oceans and partially melt glaciers and other ice, increasing sea level. Ocean water will also expand if it warms, contributing further to sea level rise.


  • The higher temperatures and shifting climate patterns may change the areas where crops grow best and affect the makeup of natural plant communities.


  • Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as the loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.




Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time. Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.


This may mean having more droughts and heat waves. Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves (periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks) everywhere are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense everywhere.


Summer temperatures are projected to continue rising, and a reduction of soil moisture, which exacerbates heat waves, is projected for much of the western and central U.S. in summer. By the end of this century, what have been once-in-20-year extreme heat days (one-day events) are projected to occur every two or three years over most of the nation.   Are we not experiencing this now?


Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense. The intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.


Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100. This is the result of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms.


In the next several decades, storm surges and high tides could combine with sea level rise and land subsidence to further increase flooding in many regions. Sea level rise will continue past 2100 because the oceans take a very long time to respond to warmer conditions at the Earth’s surface. Ocean waters will therefore continue to warm and sea level will continue to rise for many centuries at rates equal to or higher than those of the current century.



A joint statement of international academies…



“Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However, there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001).” (2005, 11 international science academies).”



Where do we get this?

They are used by most power plants in generating electricity or power. Homes used natural gas for heating. Cars and trucks used petroleum for gasoline. Burning forest and other harmful practices are other factors.


The role of human activity has warmed the planet. The industrial activities that the modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years.



How do we solve this?

Sustainable leadership and sustainable business processes are the only way to solve this problem. Awareness and care for the environment and life of humanity. We need more research focused on the mitigation of greenhouse gases and regulation that would help develop a sustainable leadership and business worldwide.



What is the difference between global warming and climate change?

Global warming refers to the long term warming of the planet, while the climate change refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to the planet that includes rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/ plant blooming times. https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/




NASA. Climate change: How do we know? https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

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