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Environmental Science

Are Human Activities Essential In Causing Climatic Change?

Climatic change refers to a lasting change in the earth’s weather, particularly a change due to increased atmospheric temperature. IPCC (2010) defines climatic change as the change in climate due to natural variability or increased human actions. Human actions lead to climate change. Actions like deforestation, use of aerosols and the effect of increased industrialization are among the causes of climate change. The paper focuses on showing that human activities lead to climate change.

Human Activities are essential in causing climate change

Human activities cause the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Their accumulation results to increased concentration with time. They are as a result of the industrial era. The release of carbon dioxide due to increased fossil fuel use, deforestation and increased decaying of materials, agricultural activities resulting to increased methane gas release, increased nitrous oxide due to increased use of fertilisers and fossil fuel use by humans leads to increased greenhouse effects (IPCC, 2010).

There is also an increase in the concentration of halocarbon gases like chlorofluorocarbons e.g. Dichlorodifluoromethane, due to human activities. Increased use of fluorocarbons as refrigerating agents and in related industrial processes causes the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Increased international regulation to release of fluorocarbons has led to decreased chlorofluorocarbons gases use in recent years. Increased aerosols released directly or indirectly by human activities such as increased use of chemicals into the atmosphere has led to global warming. Increased use of fossil fuels and burning of biomass as a result of human activities leads to increased aerosol release that contains sulphur compounds, biological compounds and black carbon. Surface mining and industrialised processes increase dust in the atmosphere leading to increased climatic change in the world.

Water vapour commonly regarded as the most plentiful and significant greenhouse gas available in the atmosphere. Human activities potentially have small effects on water vapour. Though indirectly the potentiality of human activities to affect available water vapour in the atmosphere is high through climatic change (Wang et al. 2015). Directly, human activities lead to increased methane emissions, in the stratosphere a destructive chemical change happens to methane that results to increased water vapour amount in the atmosphere that indirectly attributes to human activities.

Increased temperatures in the atmosphere due to human activities leads to increased precipitation thus ecosystem service value may increase as a result of human activities. Global warming due to human activities such the emissions of anthropogenic gases of greenhouses gases in greater values affects freshwater distributions causing variation in the distribution of rainfall, the variation in rainfall causes flooding in some parts of the world such as Australia. Wang et al. (2015) deliver the evidence that increased emissions of greenhouse gases cause intensification of heavy precipitations occurrences in the Northern Hemisphere.

Increased flooding and events of global warming in heavily linked to human being activities such as deforestation, increased release of greenhouses gases causes the increased temperatures that in turn result to increased glacier melting and increased precipitation that causes the heavy rainfall leading to flooding (Wang et al. 2015). The issues of glacier melting hurt rainfall too. The belief that in future, there will be decreased rainfall due to decreased glacier on mountains. As a result, there will be increased droughts in different parts of the world.

A Counter Argument

In contrary, Zhan et al. (2011) argue that human activities produce little or no effects on climate change compared to natural activities. Volcanic eruptions release not only carbon dioxide but also aerosols. Soot, salt and dust are produced as a result, and they scatter the arriving solar radiation. They block the incoming sunlight causing a cooling effect attributed to climate change. Violent volcanic eruptions release dust particles and sulphur dioxide that combine with water vapour resulting to sulphuric acid and sulphate particles known as sulphurous aerosols causing a climatic change. Volcanoes erupting at lower latitudes causes hemispheric warming.

Uneven heating of the Earth caused by global wind patterns drive’s oceanic surface currents causing variation in rainfall in different parts of the world. As a result, climate change is driven by the variation in heating on ocean’s surface leading to undistributed rainfall patterns (Zhan et al. 2011). Zhan argues that climate change is also affected by the movement of crustal plates. Over different geological timescales, tectonic plates of the earth move. The movement carries landmasses to different latitudes and locations; it greatly affects ocean water, air and continental climates differently in the world.

Radiative forcings also cause climate change. The incoming and outgoing energy coming from the earth determine the average temperature available globally. The energy balance hence gets altered. Differently, one way may lead to increased or decreased solar intensity. Solar radiation reflection by frost or water may lead to rising or fall thus causing more or less radiation reflection on space rather earth’s surface. Also, the infrared radiation amount to space from Earth’s surface may increase or decrease. These factors that cause Earth’s energy balance variation are known as “radiative forcing”. Therefore, positive forcing like the one produced by increased greenhouse gases concentration warms the surface of the earth. Negative forcing like the one created by flying particles that in turn reflect the solar energy cools the earth’s surface hence evidence of climate change.

Conclusion

Climate change adversely affects beings. It is related to increased temperature and increased exposure ultraviolet rays due to depletion of the ozone layer can cause skin diseases. Climate change has been associated with increased flooding and drought that pose a danger to the life of human beings. Though it is arguable who the main cause of climate change is, it is evident that climate change is subject to both human and natural activities. Some researchers attribute it to human activities, some of the natural activities whereas majority attribute it to both.

References

IPCC, (2007). “Climate Change. The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working      Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate        Change.” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York,             NY, USA.

Wang H., Shunli Z., Xiaobing L., Honghai L., Dengkai C., Kaikai X., (2015). “The influence        of climate change and human activities on ecosystem service value.” State Key           Laboratory Lof Earth’s Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College Of            Resources Science And Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875,    China.

Zhan, M., Cao, C., Wang, J., Jiang, Y., Cai, M., Yue, L., & Shahrear, A. (2011). “Dynamics         methane emission, active soil organic carbon and their relationships in wetland          integrated rice-duck systems in Southern China”. Nutrient Cycling in            Agroecosystems, 89(1), 1-13.

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