You are on page 1of 7

Alison Green

Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
Climate Change: Is it Real?
There are many debates as to whether climate change is in fact a real, human caused effect.
Between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party there is a major split with democrats
pushing for laws to limit greenhouse gases and the republican party not consulting science and
looking at the growing concern of rising levels of the greenhouse gasses. From a perspective
where climate change is a real occurrence, there is a combination of human causes as well as
natural causes that release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Because of the gasses in the
atmosphere, there are many effects such as rising temperatures, changes in the weather becoming
more extreme, and the oceans rising, heating up and expanding, just to name a few. These effects
each in turn affect a wide variety of things on earth such as the food chain in the ocean, and the
changes in weather worsening. Climate change causes a long chain of effects.
Climate is defined as the typical or average weather that a region has over time. (NASA What
are Climate and Climate Change). Climate change is a change in the average weather over time,
the change can be in the temperature or rainfall, or other subjects of weather. (NASA What are
Climate and Climate Change). In the past 15 years, 13 of those years have experienced record
beating temperatures. The human effects that lead to global warming are the chemicals in the
earths atmosphere that block heat from escaping back into space. The gasses that contribute to
the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and
chlorofluorocarbons. Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas; it also contributes to the
feedback mechanisms of clouds and precipitation. Carbon dioxide occurs naturally through
respiration, but it has also been increasing in recent years because of humans burning of fossil
fuels and deforestation. Carbon dioxide is a minor gas, but it is an important long-lived [force]

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
of climate change. (NASA a blanket around the earth). Charles Keeling created a laboratory in
the South Pole and in Hawaii in order to measure carbon levels in the atmosphere. The Keeling
curve shows a rise in carbon levels from 320 parts per million to over 400. (Introducing Global
Issues.) Methane is one of the smaller abundant gasses in the atmosphere, but it is a very active
gas. It is released through decomposition of landfills, agriculture, as well as through domestic
livestock. (NASA a blanket around the earth). Nitrous oxide is a gas produced by soil cultivation,
also found in the atmosphere. These gasses are released into the atmosphere both through human
intervention as well as naturally.
As stated above, climate change has been occurring through both natural and human cause
reasons. The natural causes are solar activity, water vapor, as well as forest fires and volcanic
eruptions. Solar activity has been recorded through the 11-year sunspot cycle, and it has been
noted that solar flares or sunspots could have an impact on the global temperature by changing
the amount of energy that reaches the earths atmosphere. (Natural Causes of Global Warming).
An example explained was the Little Ice Age of the seventeenth century where a cooler sun
brought down the global temperature by one degrees Celsius than todays temperature. (Natural
Causes of Global Warming). Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas and impacts
climate change through feedback loops where an increase in temperature leads to an increase in
water evaporation which in turn leads to an increase in temperature again. Forest fires have an
impact on climate change because the burning of the vegetation releases carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere that traps solar energy and causes the temperature to rise. (Natural Causes of Global
Warming). Volcanic eruptions have a similar effect to the forest fires by releasing millions of
pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. The change in carbon dioxide levels leads to rising

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
temperatures. (Natural & Non-Human Activities). In addition to these natural causes of
addition of greenhouse gasses, there are also human effects that add to the gasses in the
atmosphere.
Human causes to climate change started to immerge in larger quantities during and after the
industrial revolution. Greenhouse gases and aerosols affect climate by altering incoming solar
radiation and outgoing infrared (thermal) radiation that are part of Earths energy balance. By
altering the amount of these gasses in the atmosphere, there creates a heating or cooling effect. In
the case of right now, there is a heating effect. The burning of fossil fuels in transportation,
heating and cooling, and cement making have led to major increases in carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere. Burning of fossil fuels have also increased Nitrous oxide levels in combination with
fertilizer. Methane levels have risen due to agriculture and decay of landfills. There is little
human impact on the amount of water in the atmosphere, however it affects climate change
through the feedback loops previously mentioned.
Climate change effects many aspects of life on earth. The most obvious effect is the rise in
temperature from the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that trap the heat from the sun. 10 of
the hottest years have occurred in the past 12 years. (Climate Change: How do we know?).
Accompanying the rising temperatures is the rise in sea level. Sea levels are rising partly due to
melting glaciers and ice, but they are also rising due to increasing temperatures. Sea levels have
risen about 6.7 inches in the last 100 years. (Is Global Warming Real?). The increase in
temperature will warm the water and cause it to expand. (Effects of Climate Change and Climate
change: How do we know?). The ocean absorbs the excess heat from the atmosphere, in fact it
stores as much heat as the entire atmosphere. (What is happening in the ocean?). The top 700

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
meters are 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than in 1969. (Climate change: How do we
know?). The effects on the ocean go farther than just rising sea levels and heat, it affects the sea
life and the food chain as well as coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is caused by rising water
temperature that causes the algae that feeds and protects the coral to leave. The coral then starves
and turns white hence the bleaching and becomes weak. (Climate Change Impacts and How does
climate change affect coral reefs). The ocean absorbs much of the carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere which causes the water to become acidic. The water has become more acidic by
about 30 percent and the upper layer of the ocean absorbs around 2 billion tons per year.
(Climate change: How do we know?). The impacts of ocean acidity harm the food chain because
some of the animals cannot acclimate to the change of their habitat.
Moving away from the effects of climate change on the ocean, there are effects in the changes
of weather. Since the 1900s the national precipitation levels have been rising. The northern
United States is projected for more rain than the Southwest. (The consequences of climate
change). The Southwest will receive more droughts and heat waves instead of rain. Weather is
likely to get worse with the droughts and heat waves as well as hurricanes becoming stronger and
more intense, due to climate change. The United States has also witnessed increasing numbers
of intense rainfall events. (Introducing Global Issues). The change in temperature and
precipitation levels will in turn affect crop growth around the world. (Effects of Climate
Change).
Between the republican and democratic parties there are major differences about the human
effects on climate change and whether climate change is real or not. Climate change is
ultimately a political issue. (Introducing Global Issues). The democratic party argues that

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
human have been adding to the greenhouse gasses to cause rising temperatures. The republican
party doubts that human intervention has caused any sizeable changes in the climate, and
believes it is the earths natural course for the climate to change over time. Some people note that
conservatives may be in denial because of the human nature of confirmation bias, where people
search for information that confirms their beliefs and ignores information that contradicts it.
There is also more power in a group than in an individual. It is hard for people to be in doubt
alone, but when there is a group of people who do not believe in climate change, their resolve is
stronger. There may be some truth to conservative thinking through wondering how much the
human release of greenhouse gas has impacted the climate change. It is hard to measure how
much of the greenhouse gas has been caused through the burning of fossil fuels and coal and oil,
and how much gas is in the environment through natural respiration, fires, and decomposition.
Some skeptics of climate change argue that scientists do not have enough data on the geological
timescale of earths historical temperature and therefore cannot understand the natural
fluctuations of the earths climate. However, of the information that is recorded, there is enough
to come to a logical conclusion of the effects of greenhouse gasses. (Introduction of Global
Issues). Others also argue that the earths natural processes will be able to negate the effects of
climate change. Although, the data shows that the earth can no longer absorb the excess carbon
that is in the atmosphere. (Introducing Global Issues).
Through all this evidence of climate change and the rising effects of carbon dioxide levels,
there is no doubt that climate change is real and has been occurring since the industrial area.
Climate change has occurred from both natural and human sources, and while there is nothing

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
humans can do about the natural processes, the human effects can be stopped to save many
aspects of life on Earth.
Works Cited
Ali Penman | Web Smart Media. "CLIMATE & WEATHER." Effects of Climate Change.
Climate and Weather, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016. <http://www.climateandweather.net/globalwarming/effects-of-climate-change.html>.
"A Blanket around the Earth." Global Climate Change. Ed. Holly Shaftel. NASA, 5 Oct. 2016.
Web. 07 Oct. 2016. <http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/>.
"Climate Change: How Do We Know?" Global Climate Change. Ed. Holly Shaftel. NASA, 5
Oct. 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016. <http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/>.
"Climate Change Impacts." Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund, 2016.
Web. 04 Oct. 2016. <https://www.edf.org/climate/climate-change-impacts>.
"The Consequences of Climate Change." Global Climate Change. Ed. Holly Shaftel. NASA, 05
Oct. 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016. <http://climate.nasa.gov/effects/>.
Dunbar, Brian. "What Are Climate and Climate Change?" NASA. NASA, 26 Oct. 2011. Web. 07
Oct. 2016. <http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-isclimate-change-58.html>.
IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the
Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D.
Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)].
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Alison Green
Global Connections
LBST 2102
4 October 2016
"Is Global Warming Real? Top 5 Arguments in Favor and Against It - Conserve Energy Future."
ConserveEnergyFuture. Conserve Energy Future, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.
<http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/is-global-warming-real.php>.
Jones, Adrian. "How Does Climate Change Affect Coral Reefs?" Coral Reefs and Climate
Change - How Does Climate Change Affect Coral Reefs - Teach Ocean Science. Teach
Ocean Science, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.
<http://www.teachoceanscience.net/teaching_resources/education_modules/coral_reefs_a
nd_climate_change/how_does_climate_change_affect_coral_reefs/>.
"Natural & Non-Human Activities That Impact Global Warming." Home Guides. SFGATE, n.d.
Web. 04 Oct. 2016. <http://homeguides.sfgate.com/natural-nonhuman-activities-impactglobal-warming-78876.html>.
"Natural Causes Of Global Warming." All-Recycling-Facts.com. All-recycling-facts.com, 2014.
Web. 04 Oct. 2016. <http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/natural-causes-of-globalwarming.html>.
Seis, Mark. Introducing Global Issues. Ed. Michael T. Snarr and Neil Snarr. 6th ed. Boulder, CO:
Lynne Rienner, 2016. 311-15. Print.
"What Is Happening in the Ocean?" Climate Kids. Ed. Jessica Stoller-Condrad. NASA, 12 Sept.
2016. Web. 04 Oct. 2016. <http://climatekids.nasa.gov/ocean/>.