The question that most people ask when discussing climate change is: How do we know that climate change is real? Climate change is the naturally occurring fluctuations in weather patterns that last for an extended period of time. Due to elements like volcanoes, solar heating, and varying CO2 levels, the climate system of Earth has changed throughout history. However, the unprecedented rate and magnitude at which our climate is changing is a serious global concern.
Therefore, humans must adequately address the problem. First off, the global surface temperature has been steadily increasing since 1880. Many areas of the world have experienced record breaking temperatures, and 18 of the 19 hottest recorded years have occurred since 2001. According to the IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis report, “it is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.” From this data and other in-depth research, it is evident that human greenhouse gas emissions is the driving force behind climate change. When greenhouse gases such as CO2, water vapor, and methane accumulate in the atmosphere, they trap heat and increase the global surface temperature.
Another clear indicator of climate change is the consequences brought by these rising temperatures. The perilous repercussions include melting sea ice, rising sea levels, and frequent extreme weather events. In the Arctic and Antarctic, there has been a dramatic decline in sea ice levels, thereby reflecting the existence of climate change. The stability of ecosystems is jeopardized, and the Earth continues to warm because the resulting dark ocean water absorbs most solar radiation. Furthermore, as temperatures continue to rise and ice melts, sea levels are rising. Since 1880, the average sea levels have increased by more than 8 inches.The rising sea levels cause habitat loss, threaten coastal communities, and aggravate flooding and erosion. In addition, it contributes to the increasing intensity of weather events like hurricanes, which are becoming more frequent and powerful. These signs of climate change cause severe environmental degradation, and threaten the overall stability of Earth.
With the signs of climate change clear and present, it is not an issue that can be neglected. It has been exasperated by human activity that is apathetic of its environmental impacts. On the micro-level, individuals can make small strides in order to reduce their own carbon footprint and mitigate climate change impacts. These lifestyle changes can include walking to work, reducing energy consumption, consuming less meat, and urging political action. Additionally, individuals may reduce their carbon footprint by using Treegle.org , a search engine that removes carbon from the atmosphere. Through donations of search ad revenues, Treegle contributes to tree planting projects, and helps to reduce atmospheric carbon levels.