Over the past 650,000 years, the Earth’s climate has changed dramatically.
On average, there have been seven cycles of glacial changes, ending with the ice age 7,000 years ago. This not only brought on the modern climate era, but the beginning of human civilization.
The majority of these climate changes have been the cause of small variations within the Earth’s orbit. These variations change the percentage of solar energy our planet acquires.
Why are we telling you this?
Earth’s temperature is rising again – but this time it’s come on a lot stronger.
This current warming isn’t just in the surrounding air – over 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions have been soaked up by the oceans, which has led to their temperature rise as well.
Now, it’s not just the amount of warming that’s concerning, but the pace in which it’s happening.
Surface temperatures during the years from 2014-2016 have been hotter than the last. According to new research, these temperatures have raised the total level of global warming since 1900 by 25%.
While global warming facts and evidence are being published and discussed on a regular basis, the questions are, what’s causing this influx and are humans to blame?
What Causes Global Warming?
While climate change skeptics have a different idea of what global warming is and why it’s happening, there has been scientific journals and reports conducted by the best climate scientists in the world that provide irrefutable global warming facts.
We’re here to share some of these facts with you.
Fact #1: CO2, Methane and Other Greenhouse Gases Have Been Causing Climate Change
It has been proven that global warming occurs when carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane become trapped in the atmosphere.
They then begin to soak up sunlight and solar radiation. Naturally, this radiation escapes into space, leaving our planet at an ideal climate. However, these pollutants capture the heat and causes the planet to heat up.
This process is referred to as the “greenhouse effect.”
The atmospheric percentage of CO2 has increased exponentially, from the pre-industrial era’s concentration of 280 parts for million to today’s amount of 400 parts per million.
Carbon from fossil fuels contains different “signatures” which is how scientists are able to figure out which forms of carbon in the atmosphere are fossil fuel driven and which carbon atoms are from natural sources.
This brings us to our next fact.
Fact #2 Human Activity Drives Climate Change
Scientists have agreed that today’s global warming is caused primarily by human activities. More specifically, our relationship with carbon-based products we choose to extract and burn: Coal, oil and gas as the main culprits, as well as cutting down and burning forests.
While there has been much debate over this topic throughout the years, scientists have improved the ways in which they tease apart natural and human factors.
These scientists report on their increasing confidence through assessments of the IPCC.
While there are many different natural climate drivers such as sun energy, dust and salt spray, African termite mounds which emit methane, aerosols from volcanic eruptions, human drivers outweigh the natural by a landslide.
As we mentioned briefly, scientists have devised different ways to determine this fact. By matching observed patterns in the climate with models of the Earth’s atmosphere, scientists are able to find the “human fingerprint” with the changes.
These changes can then be attributed to human activities.
These fingerprints that our species have placed on the Earth’s climate are being found in a number of records and can be found in the ocean, the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere.
Evidence for Climate Change: Final Thoughts
These two scientific facts have been strengthened in research throughout the past few years, along with the changes in our climate.
Despite this evidence and the global warming facts that are making themselves more present as the issue increases, climate change skeptics are still around.
The reason for this is usually fear and an inability to accept the changes in front of us and the reasoning behind them.
However, with this mindset, nothing will be done to fix what is currently happening.
While there are people who can argue against scientific evidence, the fact of the matter is: the planet is warming, it’s because of our actions, and there will be consequences.
The only responsible thing to do at this point is to act while there’s still a window of opportunity left open.