Earth’s Climate Change
Table of Contents
The existence of a variable number of climate zones reveals the weather conditions that are peculiar for certain territories or regions. It does not necessarily mean that the climate and its components must be similar for a single country. Instead, the number of specific differences can be viewed within the territory of the same state or district. Population of various regions and parts of the world have managed to adapt to the climate conditions, prevailing on their territories. However, people are more adaptable to the natural conditions, rather than to human actions. The current paper analyzes the human influence and natural activities to understand the climate change as a complex issue that depends on geographic factors, time periods and human actions.
Global Climate Distribution
The division of these territories, according to the climatic conditions, can differ. For instance, Aristotle and his co-thinkers have divided the world into Torrid, Temperate and Frigid zones on the grounds of “their relative warmth” (Hess & Tasa, 2013). Among the features comprising the climate, there are two, the most specifying: “temperature and precipitation” (Hess & Tasa, 2013). In order to analyze the climate and accurately enlist its features, the climatologists would require data for, at least, past 30 years, thus they are able to combine these and conclude on weather conditions, peculiar to a region or territory (Hess & Tasa, 2013).
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There exist two systems that are helpful in studying the climate characteristics and changes. These are the Thornthwaite and the Köppen systems. According to C. Warren Thornthwaite, a climatologist from the United States, “the system establishes moisture availability at the subregional scale”, making the studies of climate in a larger scale insignificant, as the regional peculiarities are of greater importance (Hess & Tasa, 2013). The concept of potential evapotranspiration lies in the heart the Thornthwaite system, as it calculates “the water use of plants with an unlimited water supply” (Hess & Tasa, 2013). The theory explains the way potential ET is dependent on the temperature growth, wind strength, or daylight influence water consumption through vegetation, as well as “decrease with increasing humidity” (Hess & Tasa, 2013). Another constituent of the Thornthwaite system is actual evapotransition, which “reflects the actual water use by plants” (Hess & Tasa, 2013). Comparing the two types of evapotranspiration, the measurements are conducted based on soil moisturizing, regarding to whether the season is dry or not, and whether the level of saturation is enough and is compatible with the climate, which should be cool with short daylight presence (Hess & Tasa, 2013). In such a way, the above-mentioned theory proves the strong dependence of climate-related processes on the local peculiarities.
There also exists another classification that supports the same idea. The Köppen classification divides the world into 6 climate zones that include humid tropical, humid meso-thermal climates with mild winter, humid microthermal climates with severe winter, polar climates, arid and semiarid climates, and highland climates (Hess & Tasa, 2013). The striking difference lies in climate variations between Southern and Northern Hemispheres, thus, none of the climate peculiarities (in land regions) “can be classified as humid micro thermal”, only Antarctica has the unusual tundra climate (Hess & Tasa, 2013). Hence, some definite geographical features are crucial to ensure the diversity of climate around the world.
Interesting thing is the climate changes not only with geographical, but also with time indicators. The reports of the scientists show that the climate that is currently observed has been observed on Earth for approximately 10,000 years (NCERT, 2015). The changes have been observed in terms of glacial and inter-glacial periods, like “traces of advances and retreats of glaciers” (NCERT, 2015). These facts witness the shift from cold to warm periods on the planet and vice versa. Wet and dry periods have been occurring in various regions of the planet. For instance, the territory of India, according to archaeological findings, underwent several dramatic changes from heavy rainfalls to extreme droughts within 8,000 B.C. and 1,700 B.C. (NCERT, 2015).
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The drastic changes are also observed nowadays. The reports show that 1990s had the highest temperature raise and the most devastating floods within the century. The Sahara desert has witnessed one of the greatest droughts within 1967-1977; the United States’ southwestern regions of the Great Plains also faced natural disaster, known as “the dust bowl”, which resulted in huge crop losses, leading to people’s migration; European countries underwent a number of various periods, shifting one another: cold, dry, wet and warm (NCERT, 2015). The signals are quite disturbing. The conclusion might be as follows: the alterations in the climate are long lasting processes, caused by nature. However, the human role should not be underestimated.
Climate Change as a Result of Natural Events
Climate change resulting from natural events cannot be controlled by humans. Currently, the effect on the climate of Earth is of changing nature. These are astronomical and terrestrial causes: solar activity, as a result from occurring sunspots, which are “dark and cooler patches” on the surface of the sun, which, according to the observations, when increasing, cause cooling and wet weather conditions, and consequent frequent storms (NCERT, 2015). Another issue of astronomical nature, influencing climate alterations is orbital location of the plane: the axial tilt here can mean the significance of the effect (NCERT, 2015). Solar activity not only influences the nature of the planet, but all its inhabitants, including, humans, animals and plants (NCERT, 2015). Climate changes reveal sensitivity of an organism to various factors, causing the disappearance of species, like it happened to many bacteria, or mutations, hence, resulting in resistance to any changes: modern medicine is making numerous efforts to prevent animals and humans from diseases, as well as plants to rescue and preserve them in the natural environment (Akerlof, Delamater, Boules, Upperman, & Mitchell, 2015). Volcanoes’ impact on the weather conditions should also be paid attention to, as the eruptions are the main producers of aerosol gases emitted into the atmosphere, resulting in the reduction of solar radiation, reaching Earth’s surface, thus, the temperature fall is observed for few years already (NCERT, 2015). However, the human influence deserves separate analysis.
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Climate Change as a Result of Human Activity
Human role on climate changes is one of the most influential ones, and also quite deteriorating. Despite its cyclic nature, global warming is a result of actions that people implement to make their lives easier. On one hand, industrialization, is improving human lives by producing items for everyday activities and even for the good cause. However, the emissions to the atmosphere ruin its layers, including the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from solar radiation. It allows the amount of radiation that is necessary for the organism to survive on the planet. Another result of human activity is greenhouse gases, which have a harmful effect for the air and atmosphere. The emissions from various vehicles pollute the environment, making the air inappropriate for inhalation.
Global warming is a result of both natural and human activities. The melting of glaciers is often related to the growing number and size of the ozone layer holes, which let too much of solar radiation into the planet. The surfaces, covered with snow, including snowcaps of mountain rages reflect solar radiation and protect the rest of the earth surface from its entering into its depth. However, the organisms suffer from excessive warmth as the regions with colder climate domicile species that need cold environment (Thornton, Ericksen, Herrero, & Challinor, 2014).
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The overrate of carbon dioxide is a matter of growing concern as, due to a human activity, more and more trees are cut, which produce oxygen, hence, make the air cleaner and more suitable for breathing (NCERT, 2015). The growing temperatures also cause the development and mutation of bacteria, harmful for the environment, causing new infections and diseases. The Kyoto protocol aims at protecting the planet from global warming by supporting the implementation of certain projects to reduce its effect on the Earth and its inhabitants (NCERT, 2015).
To sum it up, understanding of the way climate on the Earth is changed needs particular attention to climatic zones, historical changes, and the accompanying human actions. Even though the global warming and nature pollution are to a great extent predetermined by people, they cannot be regarded separately from the natural cycles of climate change.