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Climate Change

By: Alfonso de Garay
      March 27, 2014


Table of Contents:
 
- Emissions of CO2, greenhouse effect, and global warming
- Is the earth’s climate changing?
- How is the earth’s climate changing?
- What can be predicted about the earth’s weather changes?
 
Emissions of CO2, greehouse effect, and global warming
 
An enormous amount of information is available that explains how manmade processes generate CO2 emissions that create most of the incremental raw material in the atmosphere, which, in turn, creates an incremental greenhouse effect. As a result, global warming occurs.
 
Climate scientists have also explained how other manmade processes, such as changing land use (including deforestation), are reducing the absorption of CO2 gases by forests and plants, and also increasing the presence of aerosols by the burning of organic material that often accompanies these processes, producing some reduction in temperature in the earth´s atmosphere.

Bearing in mine this information, the following questions might be asked:
 
-  Is the earth’s climate changing?
 
-  How is the earth’s climate changing?
 
-  What can be predicted about changes in the earth’s climate?
 
Let’s consider these questions.
 
Is the earth’s climate changing?
 
One of the variables of climate is temperature. Let’s see what can be said about changes in temperature and climate.
 
Yes, global warming is the main factor that affects climate, and as the world’s population maintains its socioeconomic behavior and consumer patterns, the surface of the earth and atmosphere will be subject to warming.
 
Other important external natural mechanisms can also change climate, which can be natural climate variability,
solar activity, and volcanic activity.
Even without the presence of external manmade or natural forces, the climate of the earth has its own internal variability due, among other factors, to the interaction between the sea and the atmosphere. Such can be the case of an internal variable, such as the Southern oscillation known as  “El Niño” affecting the west coast of South America, arctic oscillation, and the North Atlantic oscillation. Nevertheless, there is now enough evidence to indicate that some changes in the temperature of the earth cannot be explained solely by the presence of these natural forces or on the climate.
 
To be precise, climate science “detects” climate changes that are statistically identified as very likely not to have originated from internal natural climate variations.
 
More so, to “attribute” an explanation to a “detected” climate change, the following is necessary:
 
To demonstrate that this climate change is unlikely to have originated entirely from internal natural climate variability;
That this estimated change is consistent if the same internal natural climate conditions are given and if the external forcing climate conditions are also present, and;
That climate change is not consistent with natural physical conditions that could reasonably explain the given climate change, if relevant elements of the forcing conditions are excluded.
 
During the last century, the mean temperature near the surface of the earth increased by approximately 0.74±0.18 °C (1.3±0.32 °F). Most of this temperature increase has occurred during the last fifty years, as the earth has gone through a global warming of approximately 0.65 °C (1.17°F).
 
How is the earth’s climate changing?
 
Considering the warming of the earth that has taken place more rapidly during the last fifty years, we can conclude that global warming has been modified by several factors, including the internal variations of climate, external forces, and mainly the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As mentioned before, the main factor contributing to global warming is the manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, with CO2 in particular being the main contributor to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
 
Based on climate simulation modeling that reproduces past climate system temperatures under defined conditions obtained from internal climate variability estimates, it is unlikely that global warming could be explained exclusively by natural variations in the climate.
 
Simulation models that include natural factors and forces increasing concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols can reproduce historical changes in temperature. These same models cannot reproduce observed temperature changes when models don’t force increased concentration of greenhouse gases and only include natural factors.
 
For any given geographical and atmosphere change originated by climate change, there is a unique change of pattern that can be identified as a fingerprint. https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/460.htm
 
Fingerprint analysis of pattern changes (such features as rainfall, drought, major runoff from rivers, pressure on surfaces, temperatures on the surface of the earth and in the atmosphere, levels of moisture on the surface and in the atmosphere, temperatures from the surface of the earth to the stratosphere, layers of the atmosphere, height of the oceans, height of the limits between the troposphere and the stratosphere) in which manmade greenhouse gases affect forcing models that are considered much closer to the expected change pattern on geographical and atmosphere features than those studies using models where only natural forcing climate change factors and no human-made greenhouse effect are considered.
 
Mean global temperatures started to increase during the last part of the 19th century and occurred more rapidly during the second part of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st century. Nevertheless, there was a period, including the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, in which mean temperatures remained level, a fact that can be attributed to the cooling effect of the manmade emissions of aerosols in the atmosphere, which is consistent with scientific expectations. 
 
What can be predicted about the earth’s weather changes?
 
Scientific studies are consistently recording the increasing presence of human-made emissions of greenhouse gases and other substances in the atmosphere and making more and more evident their effect on global warming, with changes in temperature on the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere, diminishing ice extent, increasing global moisture levels, and circulation patterns of wind and marine currents.

 
For the foreseeable future,
manmade greenhouse gas emissions will likely be concentrated in the atmosphere and maintained for the coming decades. Studies of climate systems are concentrating more specifically on continental and regional climate changes, hurricane strength and frequency, duration and extent of expected droughts, variations in snowpack, diurnal variations in maximum and minimum temperature, seasonal timing effects on runoff in mountain areas, and more studies are looking closely at the relation between climate change and seasonal and life cycles as well as the effect on vegetables and some animal species.
 

 

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