The weather is a common conversation for many people each day. The weather can change day-to-day or even from hour-to-hour. On the other hand, the climate in an area usually takes a long time to change. It is the average temperature and conditions in a specific place over a long period of time, in years. Climate does not change day-to-day or even month-to-month, but usually takes hundreds, thousands, or millions of years to change.
The climate in one place on Earth is different than another place. For example, the climate in a desert may be hot and dry, but in a rainforest, it is usually warm and humid, and in some mountain areas and other places it will be cold all year long. In the world today, the words climate change is often heard, and it usually refers to the process of the Earth heating up, which is often called global warming. Most people can agree on the weather, but sometimes climate change or global warming leads to disagreement.
The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and during its life, the climate has changed quite often and has experienced an Ice Age, warming, and everything in between. All scientists agree that the climate changed often during the first 4.5 billion years. However, it is also a proven fact that the Earth's average temperature has increased about 1.33°F over the past 100 years between the 1900s and 2000s. Reviewing the past 200 years it has increased about 1.8°F. It may not sound like a big change, but it will influence the Earth.
The Earth is covered like a greenhouse, which is used by some farmers, florists, and others to grow plants, it is a 'glass-covered' building that absorbs the heat from the Sun. Greenhouses are very hot. Of course, the Earth is not covered with glass, but the greenhouse effect refers to the retention of the Sun's warmth in the Earth's lower atmosphere by greenhouse gases.
The greenhouse gases include mostly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These gases (instead of glass) act as a blanket for the Earth, helping to keep the Earth warm enough to support life, an average of about 59°F. An increase in the greenhouse gases causes the Earth to become warmer. Think of it as a heavier blanket.
There may be some causes of climate change that cannot be prevented and have very little to do with people, but there are things related to climate change, which are most likely caused by human behaviors. Fossil fuels are natural fuels found in and on the Earth, such as oil, coal, and natural gas. When they are burned, the gases released into the atmosphere are added to the 'blanket' that is covering the Earth.
Farming also contributes to the greenhouse effect. Methane gas is released into the atmosphere when a cow releases its gas - or farts. There are over 1.5 billion cows in the world releasing methane gas daily, further adding to the 'blanket' covering the Earth.
One of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, is absorbed by the trees and forests throughout the world, and then released as oxygen. Unfortunately, deforestation, the cutting down of trees and forests to make way for farms, roads, oil mines, and dams further leads to the greenhouse effect and a thicker 'blanket'.
A warmer climate can affect the planet negatively. It could lead to heavier precipitation, unusual season changes, heat waves, etc. Polar animals' natural habitats are melting because of warmer temperatures, affecting polar bears, and seals. Orangutans in the rainforests are losing their homes, and sea turtles are losing nesting beaches because of rising sea levels. Farming in developing countries face increased rain, floods, and droughts; plus, certain kinds of food items may become scarce, unavailable, or more expensive for people to purchase.
In summary, there has been climate change before humans began living on Earth, but the average temperature has increased over the past 200 years. Many scientists believe it is a result of human behavior, and changing some of those behaviors will have a positive effect on climate change and global warming.
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