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Climate Change - Causes of Climate Change

Autor:   •  December 9, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,417 Words (10 Pages)  •  611 Views

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Contents

Introduction

What is climate change?

Causes of climate change.

Effects of climate change.

Suggested Solutions of Climate change.

Geo engineering the earth.

Differences between CDR and SRM.

Conclusion

Introduction

Climate Change:

In the recent decades, climate change has become one of the controversial issues in science because of its huge impact on the earth. Research argues that this global problem will be one of the potential risks that threaten the whole planet in the future. Scientists point out the major factors that contribute to this global change. Natural factors and human activities are considered the major reasons behind this global problem. The purpose of this essay is to highlight some proposed scientific solutions in engineering the earth which may limit the great effect of this problem, but before that it is essential to know the causes and results of climate change.

Causes of Climate Change

Most climate scientists agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of (green house gases). http://climate.nasa.gov lists some gases that contribute to the green house effect. These gases include water vapor, Methane, Nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbon and Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is considered one of the important components of the atmosphere and it can be emitted through natural sources e.g. volcanic eruption or through human activities such as burning fossil fuels or deforestation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC ( 2007) concludes in the Fourth Assessment Report that more than 90% of global warming is due to human activities over the past 250 years. Furthermore, IPCC report claims that industrial activities play an essential role on increasing the level of carbon dioxide from 280 parts per million to 379 parts per million in the last 150 years.

Effects of climate change :

There are some major profound impacts of climate change on the whole planet .Environment, ecosystem and humanity are more likely to be affected by this major problem. According to (http://climate.nasa.gov), climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on river and lakes is breaking up earlier, plants and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Scientists had estimated some of the effects which are occurring now such as heat waves and droughts and loss of sea ice and rising of the sea levels. Rising of the sea levels will lead to undesirable consequences such as eroding coastlines and cause more frequent flooding. It is predictable that sea levels may go up between 18 and 59 cm (7.1 and 23 inches) over the next century and this increase could be greater if ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt more quickly than predicted. Moreover, It is widely agreed that global worming threatens the life of both plants and animals. Due to the high temperature, both marine and land - based plants and animal have started to migrate towards the pole. Some members of the ecosystem who cannot move or adopt easily may face extinction. IPCC predicts that 20 to 30 percent of the plant and animal species will be at risk if the temperature keeps going up more than 1.5 to 2.5 C. Furthermore, climate change has unlimited effect on people. People in coastal areas or those living in poor countries are endangered because of the rising of sea levels since they are not able to adapt to changes. Moreover, the expansion of tropical zones results in potential risks such as some infectious diseases e.g. Malaria. Additionally, draught results in malnutrition among people or even causes dramatic crisis. A case in point is the famine which has occurred recently in Somalia and resulted in a large number of casualties, but unfortunately this country could not support most of the citizens and help them to survive because it could not afford the high price of reforms.

Suggested solutions ( Geo-engineering the earth) :

Considering all these negative effectives on the earth, quick modifications are essential to overcome this problem and survive the earth. The Royal Society ( 2007 ) suggests that technology can be used effectively to create proposals to minimize the impact of climate change. A proposal called geo-engineering is raised to reduce the possible risks of climate change. Keith (2000a) defines geo-engineering as "intentional and large scale manipulation of the environment". He adds "both scale and intent are important". To demonstrate this concept, pollution is not considered as engineering because it lacks one of these two elements. Pollution is just considered as a mess. Also, HC (2008-09) in www.publications.parliament.uk states that the term ( geo engineering ) is used to describe activities specifically and deliberately designed to effect a change in the global climate with the aim of minimizing or reversing anthropogenic climate change .

Methods of geo-engineering the earth can be classified into two main groups; Sun Radiation Management (SRM) and carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Ghosh (2009) in news.bbc.co.uk/go, states that "Sun radiation management SRM" is considered as one of the effective method in limiting the impact of global warming. Controlling the sun radiation can be accomplished by some suggested ways .The following points are examples of SRM approaches.

1-increasing cloud cover, (cloud albedo), over the oceans to reduce the heat and cool the earth.

2- Whitening clouds. This aims to increase the reflectivity by painting roads, roofs and pavements white, but it is more likely to be workable in sunny and hot places.

3- Placing reflective crop varieties and grassland into the stratosphere. Not all plants and crops are suitable for this kind of method, so just few plants are considered here and this is due to differences in basic leaf spectral properties, morphology and canopy structure.( www.publications.parliament.uk ). However, this approach may lead to minimize the diversity of crop yields in the future.

4- space-based

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