CLIMATE CHANGE: NATURE OR NEGLIGENCE
The climate of our world is changing, but why? There is a great debate going on in the scientific community on whether our current climate change crisis is a natural occurrence over millions of years – as what has happened on the planet of Mars – or this natural process is being accelerated by man’s negligence. But first we must establish what is climate change? Climate Change is a long-term shift in the statistics of weather (taken from weather.gov October 2007 article on Climate Change). Throughout our planets long history our climate has changed between hot and cold in each time period from the Precambrian period to today. The Earth’s climate has always been considered dynamic with changes occurring through a natural cycle. What we are all concerned about here on earth is whether the changes that have happened today have been accelerated because of man’s living trends. Scientists from classrooms to NASA specialists study climate change, and evidence such as tree rings, pollen samples, ice cores and sea sediments provide vital information. Scientists have all agreed that causes of climatic change are of two types – those that are due to natural causes and those that are created by the main inhibitors of earth, Man. Natural Causes
This has been happening on our planet from the beginning of time, which is caused by the continuous movement of our tectonic plates. The proof of our theory is that the western side of Africa and the eastern side of South America seems to be able to fit like a jigsaw puzzle and they have similar fossils. In the past all of the continents formed a massive super continent called Pangaea. When the continent separated it caused great changes to the earth’s ocean current pattern, therefore causing a the fresh and salt water cycle to be off balance thus affecting our planet’s climate. Volcanoes
During volcanic eruptions large volumes of greenhouse gases (sulphur dioxide (SO2), water vapour, dust, and ash) are dispersed into the earth’s atmosphere. These gases trap heat from exiting the atmosphere after the earth has absorbed what it can from the Sun. For example, in April 1991 Mount Pintoba in the Philippines erupted emitting tonnes of gases into the atmosphere. The volcano in its eruption destroys natural life on the land surface with its lava. When the volcano is an undersea volcano it can displace great amounts of water during an eruption especially when the undersea volcano creates an island, which can further affect the ocean currents. The Earth’s Tilt
The earth, which is tilted at an angle of 23.5° to the perpendicular plane of its orbital path, makes a full orbit around the sun in one year. For half of the year the northern hemisphere is tilted towards sun, which is summer for the North Pole (6 months of daylight). In the other half the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun therefore the North Pole will have winter (6 months of darkness). If there was no tilt, there wouldn’t have been any seasons. If the tilt was more the summers and winters would have been intensified whilst if the tilt was less, the summers would have been cooler and the winters would have been warmer. Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect occurs when heat energy from the sun enters the earth’s atmosphere and most is being absorbed by the earth. The reflected heat energy rays is sent back into the atmosphere but most is then stopped by the greenhouse gases (such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons) which keep most of the reflected heat energy from escaping and reflecting it back down to earth with more heat energy from the sun. With this continuous action the earth’s surface temperature will rise. Ocean Currents
The world’s oceans are major components in the climate system. They cover approximately 71% of the earth and absorb about twice as much of...