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Climate Change 101

Climate change: do we have ample knowledge to understand this worldwide phenomenon?

Here are some of the basic things we need to know about climate change.

How do we differentiate weather from climate?

The basic difference lies on the measure of time. Weather describes the condition of the atmosphere over a short period of time and climate is the “behavior” of the atmosphere over a relatively long period. Simply put, the weather can change every day, but climate normally does not change over several years.

What is climate change?

Climate change as defined by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), refers to changes in long-term averages of daily weather. It is the reason why summers today are hotter than how our parents and grandparents remember them. It is also responsible for more disastrous typhoons that visit the Philippines lately.  

What causes climate change?

The excessive burning of fossil fuels namely coal, oil and natural gas has rapidly increased the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, causing the natural level of greenhouse gas to get thicker. This greenhouse gas layer keeps the Earth warm and when it thickened, it made the Earth warmer, causing weather conditions to change.

What is the impact of climate change?

Climate change induces more floods and droughts. For one, these harm the agriculture sector, and inevitably also adversely affect the food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability and income of the disaster-stricken areas.

Human activities have led to a rapid and excessive rise in CO2 release into the atmosphere. For the past 15 million years, a natural rise and fall of CO2 was seen to be around 180 and 280 parts per million (ppm), with an increase of 100ppm occurring between 5,000 to 20,000 years. However, human activities dramatically affected the natural cycle that it took only 120 years since the Industrial Revolution for it to increase approximately 100ppm.

The Earth has become hotter. This change cannot be easily reversed. That’s what makes this a big deal—the fact that summer days would heat the country up to 37 degrees or higher (i.e. in the Philippines) and that this would soon become the norm for the coming years.

Let us not stop with just knowing about the problem. Let us all act to solve it, even just through our simple ways. Every single effort counts.

Sources:

Rob Gutro. “What’s the difference between Weather and Climate?” NASA. (Posted on February 1, 2005). Retrieved on April 23, 2012 from http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html
Carbon Brief and Duncan Clark. “The world's temperature has always changed. What's different now?“ The Guardian. (Posted on March 12, 2012). Retrieved on April 23, 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/12/previous-temperature-climate-change
“What are the impacts?” WorldWide Fund (WWF). Retrieved on April 23, 2012 from http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/

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