What is climate change?

What is climate change?

It is important for everyone to know what climate change is, as it is part of our lives and our future. The definition of climate change is now fairly clear thanks to the work of scientists and researchers around the world and the commitment to the issue by international organisations such as the UN. According to the researchers, it is “the modification of the Earth’s atmosphere due to human action, an intervention that can be direct or indirect, which accelerates climate change due to natural causes.”

What is climate change?

When we talk about climate change, we are referring to :

Long-term phenomena, primarily related to global warming, that result in significant changes in global weather systems related to temperature, humidity and precipitation.

Since its birth, the Earth has regularly undergone cyclical transformations, but over the 4.5 billion years of our planet’s life, these events have taken place over thousands or millions of years, with the passage of various ice ages.

The rise and fall of global temperature is in fact a completely natural process, due to the emission of climate-changing substances into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and methane. These greenhouse gases are released, for example, by volcanoes when they are active, contributing over time to the alternation of different climate cycles. The same applies to changes in the Earth’s orbit, which can affect solar radiation and influence climate variations.

With the advent of the industrial age, humans have accelerated these phenomena, increasing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. In fact, investigations by institutes such as NASA focus on the last 150 years, analysing in detail the climate changes that have taken place from the second half of the 19th century to the present day. These processes are compared with those that have occurred in the past in the Earth’s evolutionary history, in order to understand what is happening and what the consequences of these processes might be.

The main symptom of climate change is global warming, a phenomenon linked to greenhouse gases which, by remaining trapped in the atmosphere, prevent heat from escaping and contribute to the increase in global temperature. This phenomenon, known as the greenhouse effect, is caused by a number of human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and agriculture.

In terms of the most potent greenhouse gases, human action contributes to emissions of :

  • carbon dioxide ;
  • methane ;
  • nitrous oxide ;
  • fluorinated gases ;
  • nitrogen oxides

What are the consequences?

Knowing about climate change also means knowing about its effects. They are numerous and complex. The main effects of climate change include :

  • an increase in the Earth’s average temperature;
  • changes in the length of the seasons;
  • changes in precipitation patterns;
  • heat waves and droughts;
  • extreme weather events ;
  • rising sea levels;
  • ocean acidification;
  • melting ice.

To this, NASA adds disturbing data on the evolution of the issue:

  • a 1.02°C increase in global temperature since 1980;
  • a 48% increase in CO2 since 1850;
  • 13.1% reduction in Arctic sea ice in September;
  • a 98 mm rise in sea level since 1993.

Now that you know what climate change is, here’s how you can play a part!

2021 Observation Campaign

Take part in the observation campaign this summer and help research on climate change.
It only takes a few clicks on a walk or at home, so don’t wait, join us!

More info here

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