Climate change, Amazon Rainforest, Greenhouse gas, Amazon basin, Atmosphere of Earth, Carbon dioxide Lesson 10 – Climate Change
Today we are starting on a topic that’s very different from what we were talking about last time, and that is climate change. So before we get into the actual nitty gritty facts about climate change, let’s talk about the difference between weather and climate, so weather is something that we experience in our day to day lives. It’S the weather conditions outside that happen in a small area at a very particular time, so, for instance, today, it’s pretty cold out, but it’s, also pretty sunny so that’s the weather today in the region that i’m in now climate describes the weather conditions in a very Large region at particular times of the year, so typically seasonal changes and that kind of stuff there are five main types of climate: there’s, polar there’s, temperate there’s, dry, there’s, tropical and then finally there’s continental i’m, going to be using my glow here to to kind of, Like show you where each of these bridges kind of lie, so polar typically is right at the north and right at the very south and a polar climate is particularly cold all year round. Polar climates can also be found where there are tall mountains, such as the himalayas right here in asia or in the rockies in north america. And if you look at south america, we have the andes, so polar climates can be in very tall mountains, as well as the polar regions of the earth. Next we have temperate areas.
Temperate areas tend to be close to the equator, but not directly on the equator. They tend to be a little bit more above and below, and they tend to experience what we call the four different seasons, so they have a very distinct summer. A very distinct fall, a very distinct winter and a very distinct spring. Their summers are typically warm and humid and they typically have mild winters. Dry climates don’t receive a lot of precipitation, so they don’t get a lot of rain and they don’t get a lot of snow and dry climates tend to be where we find deserts. So, for instance, the sahara desert right at the top of africa is one example of a dry climate. We also have the deserts here in like arizona area of the states and then there’s the gobi desert in china as well, that those are very dry areas and, of course, in australia. There’S like a bunch of dry space there as well. Tropical climates tend to be located along the equator, so you see this line right here. They tend to be located right along that equator and they are very, very warm and very, very humid all year round, pretty much not to mention they get a lot of precipitation. So they tend to be very wet. So if you take a look at where the amazon is it’s, typically around the equator, the amazon is a rainforest and we consider that to be a tropical rainforest because of how close it is to the equator.
Lastly, we have continental climates, continental climates, have warm to cool summers and then they can have pretty cold winters. So when you think of continental you’re thinking, manitoba saskatchewan alberta here and in fact, actually, we technically live in a continental climate as well. If you think about our winters, we get pretty cold winters and our summers are warm but they’re, not hot. Now that we have an understanding of climate let’s talk about climate change, so climate change indicates the changes in weather patterns and conditions over a long period of time. Nothing is ever stagnant in nature. Everything is always constantly moving and it’s in a flux. Climate change actually happens naturally and we’ve seen multiple times in history. Well, i mean we haven’t seen it because we haven’t lived that long, but we have measured multiple periods of warm and cold on the planet. We typically called the cold periods ice ages. You might ask what causes climate change? Why does the climate change? Why doesn’t it stay steady don’t? We rotate around the sun at the same speed and at the same angle like what is well it’s, actually caused by many factors. Now, the factor that i want to focus on is greenhouse gases, so greenhouse gases are an integral part of our atmosphere, so we have our atmosphere. We have our atmosphere that surrounds our earth and it protects us from things like solar radiation, and you know, space rocks and space junk from falling and hitting us and stuff like that.
So we have a bunch of different gases in the atmosphere that protect us. Now. Some of these gases are what we call greenhouse gases and they are helping the earth to maintain its heat that’s their job. Is they help to maintain heat on earth? Because if we didn’t have those gases, the heat from the sun would hit the earth and then, by the time, this rotated to the back and we hit night time all that heat would leave and it would be freezing cold at night. So greenhouse gases are very important in regulating temperature between night and day on earth. So we know that when you increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can affect the warming of the earth. Similarly, if there’s less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can help with the cooling of the earth, how do we know that the climate is currently changing? Well, we have seen it ourselves. We have been monitoring the climate in various places of the world around the world. For the last hundreds of years, not hundreds, maybe, but you know, like at least the last 50 years – we’ve been actively monitoring. We have seen that storms are becoming bigger and stronger droughts are becoming more frequent and more intense and glaciers have been retreating at alarming rates. When i mean glaciers have been retreating, i mean that the glaciers have been melting and as they melt, they leave that space that they were empty.
So it looks like they are creeping backwards slowly over time now. The reason why we are concerned about climate change is that we humans have had a direct impact on the rate of warming of the earth. We have been burning all kinds of fossil fuels for generations and those fossil fuels, release greenhouse gases and, like i said before, greenhouse gases help to keep the earth warm. When you put more into the atmosphere, you have more warming. Not only do we burn fossil fuels, but we also cut down a lot of trees. Now you might ask what do trees have to do with greenhouse gases? Well, one of the big greenhouse gases is called carbon dioxide and, if you remember talking about photosynthesis, you know that trees will take in carbon dioxide and they breathe out breathe. They won’t breathe out oxygen in return, so trees actually help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but if we’re cutting down these trees, that means that those trees are not taking in carbon dioxide, so we’re actually putting even more carbon dioxide into the air. Now i do want to make something very clear: climate change is different than global warming. There are very distinct things. Climate change looks at how the climate is changing, so climate is weather conditions such as storms, lightning and that kind of stuff that happen in very large areas, whereas global warming is specifically looking at temperature. So global warming is concerned about the average earth temperature.
Now, when i say the average earth temperature earth is a big big big place, we have temperatures that go all over the place like if you measure the temperature of here versus here, you’re going to have a really big difference. Right i mean this is probably going to be like negative 30 negative 40, maybe in here we’re, going to probably have plus 30 or plus 40 degrees celsius. It’S it’s there’s a big difference here. So when we say the average global temperature, we take the temperatures that we would expect from each of the different climate regions and we take an average based on the surface area around the earth. Now global warming doesn’t necessarily mean that everywhere on the earth is warming up does not mean that global warming itself we’re taking the total average. So when we say that the global temperature rose by one degree celsius, that means that it’s, the average of the entire world, so i mean it – could have warmed up by three degrees in this region. Here could have cooled by 1.5 degrees here and it could have warmed up by like 2.5 degrees here, but overall it would be. You know, average increase of 1 degree celsius, so that’s. The important thing to remember global warming does not mean everywhere warms at the same rate. People ask: why should we be concerned about climate change and global warming? What what does that have to do with us? Well, there are lots of things that climate change affects, such as rising sea levels, ocean acidification, stronger storms, desertification and loss of animal and plant life.
Climate change and global warming have a huge impact on the earth itself and i mean it’s a natural phenomenon, but we have been pumping in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and we have increased the rate of climate change. The earth is not used to that quick of a increase, so the earth can’t adapt as easily the plants and animals can’t adapt as easily so we’re going to be seeing a lot of massive drastic changes. That is not natural.