Is the Climate Changing? This is a very controversial issue, and consequently, there are many different opinions on how and why it’s happening – some of whom deny it as a natural phenomenon, many of whom confirm it is occurring because of the dominant species of Planet Earth – humans. This essay discusses the evidence for global warming and why some refuse to believe it.
Climate change has many effects and evidence is overwhelming, but the word ‘Climate Change’ is thrown around a lot without lots of people actually understanding it. ‘Climate Change’ is a change of over-all weather, all over the world (hence: ‘Climate’ not ‘Weather’). Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap the heat rays the radiated from the sun, and act as a thermal blanket on the Earth. This ‘thermal blanket’ has existed for millions of years, and is crucial for life on Earth, it holds the heat and allows wildlife and animals to live. However, over the past century this ‘thermal blanket’ has been thickening as more and more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs and nitrous oxide) are released into the atmosphere through mainly human cause. Greenhouse Gases are called Greenhouse gases because they behave just like a greenhouse (letting the heat in, but letting little escape) – but on a massively larger scale.
Global Warming occurs all over the planet, and the overall rise in temperature since 1900 is 0.6°C, however, that is an overall figure and the polar ice caps have evidence to show that they have warmed up by 3°C, a much larger figure. Global Temperature reconstructions (such as ice cores) show that Earth has warmed considerably since 1880, most of the warming occurring since 1970. Another piece of evidence is that the 10 warmest years (since the records began) have all been in the last 12 years, although Global Warming has been publicised more effectively, Global temperatures continue to increase. Research shows that the Earth will be targeted more towards the Polar Regions, and less toward the Tropics/Equator, it also shows that there will be more warming in winter than in summer. The rises in temperatures could have reached those of the time of the dinosaurs and humans may not be able to survive.
A main area targeted by Climate Change is the Ice Caps. Evidence shows that these areas will experience the most change. Although this area is sparsely populated by humans wildlife is still suffering. Due to ice sheets decreasing in mass, the homes of polar0dwelling animals are at risk, and it is the animals at the top of the food chain that will greatly affected – the polar bears. A study of Hudson Bay in Canada, a mainly cool temperature climate, has the most studied population of polar bears in the world, and official research says that the polar bear population has declined one quarter since the 1980s. Also, it is thought that mother polar bears cannot provide for their cubs. Triplet polar bear cubs are now an anomaly – they used to be normal. Mothers go without food for months, while nursing. Runt cubs sometimes die, as there is 3 weeks less winter and therefore 3 weeks less feeding time.
Glacier retreat is also a key part of evidence. Patagonia in South America is one of the coldest places outside the Polar Regions, and their glaciers have retreated 2.5-3 kilometres in the past 20 years. All glaciers all over the world are retreating, and as they are melting, there is more water flowing into rivers and seas, contributing to rising sea levels. In Greenland, the amount of ice-water flowing into the sea had doubled over the last ten years. Glaciers melting mean that we could lose crucial and important information: ice cores. Scientists take the ice cores from deep inside glaciers. This enables them to examine the tiny air bubbles trapped inside the glacier and see what the air consisted of form 1000s of years...