What is Climate Change?

What+is+Climate+Change%3F

Imagine the hottest day of the summer. You just finished playing a game of baseball with your friends and you go to get a sip of lemonade. You tell your friends you’re done for the day, because it’s so hot outside. Now imagine that day even hotter. And it’s hotter every day of the year. Maybe not as hot as summer, but warmer than usual. This is what’s happening to our planet. The climate is changing, causing global warming. 

Climate is the average weather over a long period of time in a certain area. This is due to greenhouse gasses being emitted into our atmosphere.

In the book, Climate Change, it states, “Climate Change has been around for 4.5 billion years.”

Even though global warming is just a small part of climate change, it is harming our planet exponentially. It is causing our planet’s temperature and sea levels to rise, extreme floods, and animals to lose their homes. If you would like to know more about global warming, read on.

 

The Science behind Global Warming

When we burn fossil fuels to make energy or gas, we let carbon dioxide or carbon emissions (CO2), which is a heat-trapping gas, into our atmosphere. It traps the sun’s rays, which produce heat, and as a result, our planet heats up. This is global warming. According to Google, fossil fuels are a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.”

 

CO2 stands for one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. Carbon is the C, oxygen is the O, and the “2” is for two atoms of oxygen. This is a molecule. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it is going into our atmosphere and trapping heat.

 

 There are other types of greenhouse gasses though, such as water vapor, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide, and ozone. These gasses are also harming our planet.

 

In the book, Climate Change, it states, “In 1804, more than 1 billion people lived on Earth. Today, that number is over 7 billion. These people rely on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas that also contribute to the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” This heats up our planet.

 

Earth is like a greenhouse. The atmosphere only lets some of the sun rays come into Earth. The greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere trap those rays and produce heat. That heat warms up our planet. The atmosphere acts as the glass in a greenhouse, letting the sun’s rays in, producing heat, but not letting the heat out. We need some greenhouse gasses to trap heat, just not to many, then our planet would be too hot. Not enough greenhouse gasses would result in our planet being very cold. This is what causes the greenhouse effect.

According to the book, Climate Change, “In 1827, French Mathematician Joseph Fourier, learned that Earth’s atmosphere traps heat from the Sun like a greenhouse.”

Plants also play a part in global warming. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. If there were no plants, too much carbon dioxide would go into the atmosphere. The more plants we have, the more carbon dioxide the plants can absorb. Therefore, less carbon in the atmosphere and our mouths. This could help solve the problem of global warming.

 

Effects of Global Warming

The Earth is rising in temperature by about 0.36 degrees (Fahrenheit) every decade. This may not seem like much, but this will harm our planet long term.

According to the book, Climate Change, ”The 10 hottest years on record have all happened in the past 20 years.” 

This is not good. Our planet is heating up way too fast.

For every gallon of gasoline burned, 24 pounds of carbon emissions are let into the atmosphere. These carbon emissions trap heat. Scientists believe between 2000 and 2010, 100 billion tons of carbon went into the atmosphere.

The ice in Antarctica and the Arctic is melting. Ice caps are losing 9% of ice every 10 years. When ice melts, sea levels rise. This causes floods. 

Oceans are rising by three millimeters per year. This may not seem like much, but when sea levels rise, floods become more frequent and extreme. Ice also helps reflect heat. If ice caps melt, less heat will be reflected away from Earth. This will cause Earth to heat up even more.

Also, when ice melts, adult animals have to take different routes to find their food, because their normal routes are gone. This leaves babies to fend for themselves longer, making them more vulnerable to predators. This lowers the population of animals in the Arctic and Antarctica.

When Earth heats up, it makes parts of nature drier, such as leaves and trees. This makes nature more flammable and forest fires more extreme. 

Malaria is becoming a bigger problem too. Some mosquitoes carry Malaria and live in warm weather. As Earth gets warmer, mosquitoes travel into new places and cause a threat.

 

Renewable Energy Sources

We burn fossil fuels to make energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, which means we cannot rely on them forever. These energy sources below are renewable and will help our environment. Some renewable energy sources are solar, wind, and hydro-electric energy, to just name a few.

 

Wind power uses a giant windmill. The wind turns the turbine, which is connected to a generator. The generator turns the motion into electricity. This is the same for hydroelectric energy, except in the case of hydro-power, water turns the generator. 

 

Solar power is made using a metal box, with a flat plate, and a sheet of glass on top. The panel is also made with silicon. Silicon reacts with the sun’s electrical rays. It sends the electric current to an electrical inverter, which changes the current into electricity. 

In the book, Climate Change, it says, “The United States leads the world in solar energy jobs. It has close to 209,000 people working in this industry, and hopes to increase this number by 20 percent every year.”

There is also a way to make heat out of solar power. To generate heat, the sun’s rays go through the solar panel box. The box sends the heat down to the building and heats up the air/water. This source of energy/heating is renewable, but when it’s cloudy, the solar panels can’t produce energy/heat.

People are using these renewable energy sources. In fact, 40% of Denmark’s energy comes from wind power. If we stopped using as many fossil fuels and used more renewable energy our planet would be in much better shape. If we continue doing what we’re doing now, we will eventually run out of fossil fuels, and harm our planet even more. Using as many fossil fuels as we use now, also prevents people from trying to invent more sustainable energy sources.

 

Conclusion

All and all, global warming is real and it is affecting our planet. If we don’t take action, animals will die, cities will flood, and this planet will be harder to live on. 

If you would like to get involved email, Alexandra Hagemeister at, “[email protected]

Alexandra started an organization/club in Clayton called “I vote for Mother Earth”. She is working to slow down climate change. 

To learn more about her go to, https://www.claytonschools.net/site/default.aspx?

To learn more about the club go to, https://ivoteformotherearth.org/clubs-1

I hope this has helped you learn more about our planet, and I hope you will do something about it. Even if it’s just turning off the lights when you’re not using them or riding your bike to school, we need to help our planet.

 

Glossary

 

Climate Change- When our planet’s or part of our planet’s, weather over a long period of time changes.

 

Global warming- When we release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, they trap heat and warm up our planet.

 

Fossil fuels- “a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.” (according to Google,)

 

Carbon dioxide- Carbon dioxide is a molecule that is made up of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen.

 

Earth’s atmosphere- A layer of gasses surrounding our planet, held together by gravity.

 

Greenhouse gasses- Gasses that go into our atmosphere, trap heat, and warm up our planet. A little bit of greenhouse gasses is good, but too many of them will hurt our planet.

 

Greenhouse effect- Earth’s atmosphere acts as glass on a greenhouse. The sun’s rays can get in, but they cannot get out. Greenhouse gasses trap the heat that the sun’s rays put in the atmosphere..

 

Malaria- A disease that is sometimes carried by mosquitoes.

 

Generator- When making energy this is spun to generate electricity.

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash