Problems, Effects and Solutions of Global Climate Change
Abstract— there is a natural greenhouse effect, which already keeps the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrous oxide. These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface. The main greenhouse gas, water vapor, will increase in response to global warming and further enhance it, when contrasted with the conditions years back. Different physical causes of global climate change have been identified as solar flux, volcanic activity, mountain-building events and continental drifts, among others. Accordingly, the anthropogenic causes include the release of greenhouse gases through agricultural activities, land use changes; and industrial processes. At such carbon dioxide, methane, halogen compounds, etc. When emitted out causes harmful effects on the environment. Some of the problems of climate change on the environment and man include physical effects on climatic parameters of temperature, precipitation all of, which have implications for sea level rise or fall, flooding, drought etc., with their attendant impact on the, aquatic, terrestrial and even arboreal ecosystems. Among other things, climate change results in ozone layer depletion, global vanning, and desertification. Measures to control climate change have been formulated chiefly by the western countries through a series of conventions spanning from 1990s to the present. The aim of this paper is to look at the problems, effects, and solutions of global climate change. The findings show that the control of the global emission of greenhouse gasses by countries, changes in technology the release of less gasses, use of alternative energy, de-emphasizing fossil fuel use, energy/carbon tax among others are the solutions to the problem of climate change in a sustainable way.
Climate change is a persistent fluctuation in the climatic elements for a considerable length of time usually 35 years as to show a significant difference in the behavior of climatic conditions of an area or areas (B. O. Adeleke, 1978). According to them, this involves the systematic observation, recordings, and processing of the various elements of climate such as rainfall, temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind, clouds and sunshine before any standardization of the climatic means or average can be arrived at. Across the globe, the degree of variability in the climate is not the same. The earth’s climate has not always been as it is today (Owen, 1995). have averred that there have been times in the geological past when the global climate was warmer or considerably colder than at present, citing evidence from the geographic and temporal distribution of organisms, preserved as fossils and particular chemical signatures and sediment types. Interest in studying whether the climate is changing or not was brought about by unexplained rise or fall in global mean temperatures, widespread drought conditions, sea’s level rise or fall, etc. The meteorological data over the years provided significant evidence through climatic predictions and models constructions for the future The archeologists were enticed by their desire to understand the climatic condition that existed during the early development of human life and around the globe, (Pickering and Owen, 1995). Moreover, the present climatic extremes in condition across the globe also caught the interest of the public. Recently, studies on past climates have been facilitated by availability of fund for research, leading to the discovery of computer based climatic models referred to as the general circulation models (GCMS) As a matter of fact, no one discipline or area of study can claim exclusive knowledge about the climate and its changes. It is truly an interdisciplinary study involving many experts such as geographers, geologists, chemists, biologists, physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, planners, environmentalists and others. The expected effects of climate changes justify this inter-disciplinary study effort and it is hoped and expected that through their efforts, the expected/ attendant problems of climate change will be minimized The aim of this paper is to look at the problems, effects and solutions of global climate change.
We defined Global warming in this report as an increase in combined surface air and sea surface temperatures averaged over the globe and over a 30-year period. Unless otherwise specified, they expressed that warming is relative to the period 1850–1900, used as an approximation of pre-industrial temperatures in AR5. For periods shorter than 30 years, warming refers to the estimated average temperature over the 30 years centered on that shorter period, accounting for the impact of any temperature fluctuations or trend within those 30 years. Accordingly, they assessed it to be 0.87°C (likely between 0.75°C and 0.99°C) warming from preindustrial levels to the decade 2006–2015. Since 2000, the estimated level of human-induced warming has been equal to the level of observed warming with a likely range of ±20% accounting for uncertainty due to contributions from solar and volcanic activity over the historical period (high confidence). Awareness and a partial understanding of most of the interactive processes in the Earth system that govern climate and climate change predate the IPCC the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, often by many decades. A deeper understanding and quantify cation of these processes and their incorporation in climate models have progressed rapidly since the IPCC First Assessment Report in 1990. As climate science and the Earth’s climate have continued to evolve over recent decades, there have been increasing evidence of anthropogenic influences found on climate change. Correspondingly, the IPCC has made increasingly more definitive statements about human impacts on climate. Debate has stimulated a wide variety of climate change research. The results of this research have refined but not significantly redirected the main scientific conclusions from the sequence of IPCC assessments. (Ulrich Cubasch (Germany), 2007)
II. Literature Review
The science assessed in this Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), is better understood by reviewing the long historical perspective that has led to the current state of climate change knowledge. This chapter starts by describing the fundamental nature of earth science. It then describes the history of climate change science using a wide-ranging subset of examples, and ends with a history of the IPCC. The concept of this chapter is new. There is no counterpart in previous IPCC assessment reports for an introductory chapter providing historical context for the remainder of the report. Here, they have selected a restricted set of topics selected to illustrate key accomplishments and challenges in climate change science. The have chosen The topics for their significance to the IPCC task of assessing information relevant for understanding the risks of human-induced climate change, and to illustrate the complex and uneven pace of scientific progress. In this chapter, the period under consideration stops with the publication of the Third Assessment Report (TAR; IPCC, 2001a).We described Developments subsequent to the TAR in the other chapters of this report, and we refer to these chapters throughout this first chapter.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 and the United Nations Environment Programmed (UNEP) to assess climate change based on the latest science. Through the IPCC, thousands of experts from around the world synthesize the most recent developments in climate science, adaptation, vulnerability, and mitigation every five to seven years. Governments request these reports through the intergovernmental process and the content is deliberately policy-relevant, but avoids any policy-prescriptive statements. Government representatives work with experts to produce the ‘summary for policymakers’ (SPM) that highlights the most critical developments in language accessible to the world’s political leaders. Scholars, academics and students can dig into the chapters and supplementary materials for a thorough and deeper understanding of the evidence. The IPCC has issued comprehensive assessments in 1990, 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2013, methodology reports, technical papers, and periodic special reports assessing specific impacts of climate change (the latest ones in the works: oceans and ice cover, land degradation, impacts of 1.5°C warming). The fifth assessment report, AR5, is the most comprehensive synthesis to date. Experts from more than 80 countries contributed to this assessment, which represents six years of work. More than 830 lead authors and review editors drew on the work of over 1000 contributors. About 2,000 expert reviewers provided over 140,000 review comments. AR5 assessed more extensively than prior assessments the socioeconomic impacts of climate change and the challenges for sustainable development. The inclusive process the developed and accepted the IPCC assessments ensures exceptional scientific credibility. For this reason, AR5 serves as the basis to inform domestic and international climate policies. Many countries draw upon the IPCC in their national climate assessments. Such as the November 2017 release of the first volume of the U.S. fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), also referred to as the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). (ucsusa, 2008)
IV. Problem Description
The climate system is a complex, interactive system consisting of the atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans and other bodies of water, and living things. The atmospheric component of the climate system most obviously characterizes climate; the defined climate as ‘average weather’. Climate is usually described in terms of the mean and variability of temperature, precipitation and wind over a period, ranging from months to millions of years (the classical period is 30 years). The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and due to changes in external factors that affect climate (called ‘forcings’). External forcings include natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and solar variations, as well as human-induced changes in atmospheric composition. Solar radiation powers the climate system. There are three fundamental ways to change the radiation balance of the Earth:
- By changing the incoming solar radiation (e.g., by changes in Earth’s orbit or in the Sun itself);
- By changing the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected (called ‘albedo’; e.g., by changes in cloud cover, atmospheric particles or vegetation); and
- By altering the longwave radiation from Earth back towards space (e.g., by changing greenhouse gas concentrations).
Climate, in turn, responds directly to such changes, as well as indirectly, through a variety of feedback mechanisms. The amount of energy reaching the top of Earth’s atmosphere each second on a surface area of one square meter facing the Sun during daytime is about 1,370 Watts, and the amount of energy per square meter per second averaged over the entire planet is one-quarter of this (see Figure 1). The atmosphere reflect about 30% of the sunlight back to space. Roughly, two-thirds of this reflectivity is due to clouds and small particles in the atmosphere known as ‘aerosols’. Light-colored areas of Earth’s surface – mainly snow, ice and deserts – reflect the remaining one-third of the sunlight. The most dramatic change in aerosol-produced reflectivity comes when major volcanic eruptions eject material very high into the atmosphere.
Rain typically clears aerosols out of the atmosphere in a week or two, but when material from a violent volcanic eruption is projected far above the highest cloud, these aerosols typically influence the climate for about a year or two before falling into the troposphere and being carried to the surface by precipitation. Major volcanic eruptions can thus cause a drop in mean global surface temperature of about half a degree Celsius that can last for months or even years. Some manufactured aerosols also significantly reflect sunlight. The Earth’s surface and atmosphere absorb the energy that is not reflected back to space. This amount is approximately 240 Watts per square meter (W m–2). To balance the incoming energy, the Earth itself must radiate, on average, the same amount of energy back to space. The Earth does this by emitting outgoing longwave radiation. Everything on Earth emits longwave radiation continuously. That is the heat energy one feels radiating out from a fire; the warmer an object, the more heat energy it radiates. To emit 240 W m–2, a surface would have to have a temperature of around –19°C. This is much colder than the conditions that actually exist at the Earth’s surface (the global mean surface temperature is about 14°C). Instead, the necessary –19°C is found at an altitude about 5 km above the surface. The reason the Earth’s surface is this warm is the presence of greenhouse gases, which act as a partial blanket for the longwave radiation coming from the surface. This blanketing as it commonly known the natural greenhouse effect. The most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide. The two most abundant constituents of the atmosphere – nitrogen and oxygen – have no such effect. Clouds, on the other hand, do exert a blanketing effect similar to that of the greenhouse gases; however, this effect is offset by their reflectivity, such that on average, clouds tend to have a cooling effect on climate (although locally one can feel the warming effect: cloudy nights tend to remain warmer than clear nights because the clouds radiate longwave energy back down to the surface). Human activities intensify the blanketing effect through the release of greenhouse gases. For instance, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 35% in the industrial era, and this increase is known to be due to human activities, primarily the combustion of fossil fuels and removal of forests. Thus, humankind has dramatically altered the chemical composition of the global atmosphere with substantial implications for climate. Because the Earth is a sphere, more solar energy arrives for a given surface area in the tropics than at higher latitudes, where sunlight strikes the atmosphere at a lower angle. Energy is transported from the equatorial areas to higher latitudes via atmospheric and oceanic circulations, including storm systems. Energy is also required to evaporate water from the sea or land surface, and this energy, called latent heat, is released when water vapor condenses in clouds (see Figure 1). Atmospheric circulation is primarily driven by the release of this latent heat. Atmospheric circulation in turn drives much of the ocean circulation through the action of winds on the surface waters of the ocean, and through changes in the ocean’s surface temperature and salinity through precipitation and evaporation. Due to the rotation of the Earth, the atmospheric circulation patterns tend to be more east-west than north-south. Embedded in the mid-latitude westerly winds are large-scale weather systems that act to transport heat toward the poles. These weather systems are the familiar migrating low- and high-pressure systems and their associated cold and warm fronts. Because of land ocean temperature contrasts and obstacles such as mountain ranges and ice sheets, the circulation system’s planetary-scale atmospheric waves tend to be geographically anchored by continents and mountains although their amplitude can change with time. Because of the wave patterns, a particularly cold winter over North America may be associated with a particularly warm winter elsewhere in the hemisphere. Changes in various aspects of the climate system, such as the size of ice sheets, the type and distribution of vegetation or the temperature of the atmosphere or ocean will
influence the large-scale circulation features of the atmosphere and oceans. There are many feedback mechanisms in the climate system that can either amplify (‘positive feedback’) or diminish (‘negative feedback’) the effects of a change in climate forcing. For example, as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases warm Earth’s climate, snow and ice begin to melt. This melting reveals darker land and water surfaces that were beneath the snow and ice, and these darker surfaces absorb more of the Sun’s heat, causing more warming, which causes more melting, and so on, in a self reinforcing cycle. This feedback loop, known as the ‘ice-albedo feedback’, amplifies the initial warming caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases. Detecting, understanding and accurately quantifying climate feedbacks have been the focus of a great deal of research by scientists unravelling the complexities of Earth’s climate.