The Science Behind: Climate Change
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
COVER PAGE: Archit Kumar
Where are the birds that used to fly in the sky?
They're not here anymore, and I have to wonder why.
Where are the fish that used to swim in this stream?
I can't see any of them anymore. What does all of that mean?
Where are the frogs that used to hop and crock around this lake?
I can't hear them anymore. There must be some mistake.
I wish there was an actual clock whose hands I could rewind.
We might have saved all of these creatures if we'd just had more time.
Time to make people realize how we're damaging our Earth,
Time to see what it was all truly worth.
But all the animals are disappearing at an alarming rate.
If we don't finally work together, it may really be too late.
This isn’t a dream but reality so better get it right
And start helping the world we have left, before the darkness takes over the bright
Climate change is a very important puzzle of our lives. The climate was really healthy about 3 decades ago, but after that, humans started industrializing and changing the chemistry of the atmosphere by adding too much CO2 in the air. According to CarbonBrief.org, climate change started about 120 years ago, but there were not too many chemical compounds in the air back then. However, things were slowly starting to get worse. 1950 was the time when scientists actually found out about our atmosphere getting damaged. All countries started to take action, but no one took it as seriously as they should have. From the beginning of 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85℃ which is a big deal. It has gotten even worse since 2012. Also, sea levels have risen at least 5 to 8 inches from 1900, with some areas rising up to 10 inches.
The fact is that since the Earth was formed, carbon dioxide levels have never surpassed the level 1950 on the climate chart. But for the past 3 decades, the levels have been increasing. In the past decade, we have passed the level 1950, which isn't something to celebrate but to prove that we humans have done nothing good to our planet. Almost all the problems we see in nature today are because of climate change. The evidence that the climate has been changing for the past decade is the global temperature rise, warming of oceans, shrinking of ice sheets, glacier retreat, decreased snow cover, rising sea levels, declining Arctic sea ice, and ocean acidification. Climate change starts from sunlight reaching Earth. Some of the light then reflects back, and the rest gets absorbed by greenhouse gases before reflecting in all directions. This causes the Earth to heat up. Greenhouse gasses include water vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Many countries are doing a good job by banning all the items that contain more of these gasses, but there are still many more things we need to change.
Next, we are going to talk about the properties of the ozone layer and how it is depleting. The ozone layer is a thin part of the atmosphere that protects us from harmful UV-rays. 'Ozone holes' is a popular term that refers to damaged areas of the ozone layer. However, this term is quite inaccurate because ozone layer damage is a thin patch and not a hole. According to National Geographic, “The ozone layer absorbs bits of radiation hitting Earth from the sun. Though we need some of the sun's radiation to live, too much of it can harm living things. The ozone layer acts as a shield for life on Earth”. The ozone layer is getting thinner because of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons. Chlorofluorocarbons contain elements like carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. More people use chlorofluorocarbons because they are less expensive and are easy to buy. We need to protect the ozone layer, and to do so we need to use fewer chlorofluorocarbons and fossil fuels. If we don’t take action about this issue now, then it will damage the Earth to the point of no repair.
In conclusion, we should try our best to use fewer fossil fuels and chemicals that harm our atmosphere. Perhaps articles like mine won’t directly influence climate change, but taking action will. This is a very significant topic and a serious problem in our world, and we need to give this more attention, or it will truly be too late.
1. “Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, 30 Dec. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
2. “Climate Change.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/.
3.National Geographic Society. “Ozone Layer.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ozone-layer/.
4.“Scientists Clarify Starting Point for Human-Caused Climate Change.” Carbon Brief, 13 May 2019, www.carbonbrief.org/scientists-clarify-starting-point-for-human-caused-climate-change.
5.“Scientists Clarify Starting Point for Human-Caused Climate Change.” Carbon Brief, 13 May 2019, www.carbonbrief.org/scientists-clarify-starting-point-for-human-caused-climate-change.