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What are the Different Causes of Climate Change?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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Climate change is a natural process that causes global temperatures to fluctuate over a certain period. Some people believe that unnatural factors are also causes of climate change. Theories that climate fluctuations are occurring at concerning paces have sparked an increased desire to understand the factors.

A phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect is believed to be one of the major causes of climate change. The greenhouse effect occurs when certain gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane, are heavily concentrated in the atmosphere. It is believed that these gases absorb radiation that is emitted from the Earth’s surface. This causes that radiation to be trapped in the atmosphere. As a result, the Earth’s temperature rises.

Carbon dioxide is considered one of the biggest perpetrators of this global warming process. Many scientists believe that the oceans are natural keepers of carbon dioxide. The amount that can be stored is affected by temperature. As the Earth becomes warmer, theories suggest that the oceans can store less carbon dioxide. When these increasing amounts of gas are released, they cannot escape the atmosphere. This process of release and trapping becomes a cycle.

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Humans are believed to be aggravating causes of climate change due to a number of activities. Burning fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal is one of them. Burning these substances produces more carbon dioxide. It is assumed that limiting the use of fossil fuels has a positive effect on global warming.

Aerosols are another human aggravation to climate change. Aerosols are small particles in the air that can impact the temperature up or down, depending on the type. Some aerosols, such as the type produced by volcanoes, cause cooling and are not related to human activity. Other aerosols, such as smog and smoke from forest fires, result from people. These aerosols are said to have warming effects because they absorb the sun’s energy.

It was once believed that the sun’s output varied only slightly. Newer theories based on satellites containing radiometers suggest that the radiation from the sun may have a significantly greater variance. If varying output from the sun is proven to be a constant reality instead of a trend, it would only be logical to expect climate change, according to some scientists.

The causes of climate change is a subject that is surrounded by much debate. The issue has been analyzed by a variety of professionals. Some of them wholly reject the idea that any significant climate changes are taking place. Others warn that the rate of change must be minimized for the sake of human livelihood.

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Ana1234
Post 4

@KoiwiGal - A similar problem is that climate change is going to end up killing a lot of trees and other plants that are used to living in a particular temperature and won't survive when it changes. There are theories that we will be able to shift them manually, but that is going to take an awful lot of time and manpower, and meanwhile, all the carbon they would normally be taking out of the air is going to be allowed to stay there instead.

KoiwiGal
Post 3

@browncoat - There are ways of sequestering the methane gas produced by farms and maybe even using it as an additional fuel source. It is a serious problem at the moment, but I'm not sure it's any worse than all the other causes of climate change. At the moment we are on the verge of being caught in a positive feed-back loop, where the effects of climate change are going to start causing more climate change.

In the case of methane, for example, a lot of it is produced when the frozen tundras start to thaw out, as it was trapped in the soil. So the more they thaw as the climate warms, the more methane they will release.

browncoat
Post 2

Another thing contributing to climate change is the massive herds of cattle that we keep. Unfortunately, since the demand for beef just keeps growing, I'm not sure a good solution to this will be found.

One of the human causes of climate change is the methane gas given off by cows and other farm animals as they digest their food. It also comes from manure, and since we tend to farm animals in concentrated areas, the manure doesn't get broken down as fast as it would if they were spread out and gives off more of the gas over time. I'm not that keen on becoming a vegetarian myself, but I do think that many people need to cut back on the amount of meat they eat, as producing this much is just not sustainable for a lot of reasons.

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