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Climate change and global warming are two pertinent and diabolical policy problems that are not only demanding a concerted global attention but also present themselves as a catastrophe and a direct threat to the future existence of the human species as well as the extinction of a variety of fauna and flora from the surface of earth. The increases in green house gas concentrations into the atmosphere and the resultant global temperature hikes are but discernible manifestations of the future effects of climate change. As a multi complex and multidisciplinary problem, all stakeholders, researchers and policy strategists have lent valuable efforts in offering a detailed understanding of the climate change in addition to charting out mitigation measures aimed at saving the future generations from the catastrophe in waiting(Karoly 13).
From scientific evidence, it can be confirmed that climate change and global warming is an unequivocal process propagated by increases in the concentration of atmospheric green house gases. Unless such increases can be considerably reduced, then the resultant effects of climate change are set to continue to levels where it might not be possible to offer a redress to the problems associated with global warming. Over the last century, the global climate system has recorded a sustained average increase in surface global surface temperatures by 0.7+0.2oC over the past 100 years(Karoly 13). this evidence in global rise in temperature is manifested in the Arctic sea ice retreat, glacier melting and a worrying reduction in the duration of ice free periods in rivers and lakes in the Northern hemisphere.
The most worrying trend is that when estimates of temperature are viewed in comparison to the proxy indicators of climatic variabilities such as ice cores and corals and tree rings then the average increases in the Northern hemisphere temperatures over the past three decades is comparatively greater than the same analysis of average temperature changes over the preceding millennium.
A number of studies have been commissioned to try and conclusively pinpoint the major contributor to the magnitude of the global average temperature changes over the last couple of decades. It is upon such evidence that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) recently offered a conclusion to the effect that much of the observed sustained increases in Surface Average Temperatures over the past fifty years is attributable to increases in the concentrations of green house gases in the atmosphere(Stott et al 4079). it is such evidence that has also been behind the institution of reliable simulation parameters of natural and anthropogenic factors of climate change as a necessity for the future predictions of climate change.
From the industrial age of 1910 to mid 1940s into the mid 1970s, two distinct periods of accelerated global warming was observed and green house gas emissions was identified as the major contributor to climate change in the 20th Century. Whether the sensitivity of this factor to climate change can be compared to other forcings of the same, coupled simulations have indicated that the current trends of global warming are largely inconsistent with simulations that are done with the omission of green house gases, however the same simulations fail to offer a climatic change diagnosis or prognosis that detail the overall temporal evolution of global temperature in the 20th Century.
Natural forcing factors have been identified to be behind the thermal haline circulations indicated in multidecal variability patterns but these can only explain warming up to the 1950s since observations of natural factors was comparatively positive. For instance, the Katmai eruptions of 1912 and the Agung eruptions of 1963 caused massive release of volcanic aerosols into the stratospheric component. When these are analyzed and extrapolated with the solar irradiation, these anthropogenic forcings provide a more consistent simulation of global warming in the 20th Century as opposed to when natural forcings are omitted(Stott et al 4080).
II. Climate Variability
Any human induced climatic changes are but a superimposition upon a background of a discernible natural climatic variability. To estimate the effect and extent of such human induced changes it becomes prudent to determine whether the recorded changes that have occurred over the last timescales are unusual or whether they are in congruence with the climatic variability that has been observed on over a wide range of timescales. It is only through an understanding of such variabilities that possible future climatic changes can be able to be predicted in a more reliable and better way.
Incidentally, climate change variabilities are derived from instrumental observations even though this instrumental records are that determine atmospheric parameters cover a comparatively shorter time scale. Moreover, the measurement of the spatial coverage and the temporal coverage is relatively incomplete and only a few parameters can be conclusively measured(Weber et al, 135). in addition to such direct atmospheric measurements, proxy or indirect data can also be used. Such proxy data include; isotopic indicators derived from ice cores and corals, glaciers, tree rings, ocean sediments, laminated lake data and even in some cases data can be derived from reliable historical documents.
Notably, the analysis of observations constitute the bulk of climatic variability simulations. To increase the confidence and reliability of the predominantly used methods in the determination of climatic variabilities fro future climatic simulations or predictions, scientists and researchers are adopting a number of steps meant to improve the confidence in such simulations. Such steps encompass; improving on the process description and parametrization, tests are paralleled against proxy data and instrumental observations and the analysis done with the benefit of model intercomparison.
Climate change and the resultant climatic variabilities are a product of a set of variable factors. Such factors can be naturally induced or human induced(Weber et al, 135).
Natural causes of climate change distinct between external and internal causes. Stochastic processes or chaotic processes within the atmospheric components result to variabilities that can be detected over a range of timescales. This is what is termed as enforced variability. On the other hand, internal variabilities are derivatives of the interaction between the climatic system components. Such components such as land surface, land ice, atmosphere, ocean water mass, sea ice and the biota are always in continual interactions and can only be detected over extremely longer timescales.
With the benefit of palaeo data it is now a testament that there are times when abrupt climatic changes occur over a relatively shorter time scales. Such abrupt changes constitute what is called climatic transitions. A notable example is that of the central Greenland ice record observed during the transition of the last glacial period era to the Holocene period(Berdowski et al 27).
External forcing factors that determine climatic variability include major and wide scale volcanic activities such as eruptions or even solar activity changes. Ideally, volcanic activities are some of the most natural chaotic processes. When such eruptions occur, volcanic aerosols are ejected into the stratosphere where they cause a warming effect while causing a contrasting cooling of the surface globally. Stratospheric ozone temperature changes have the ability to alter the structure of temperature in the atmosphere due to a resultant change in the Sun’s Ultraviolet output or the depletion of the ozone layer by Chlorofluorocarbon(CFC) emissions. Changes in tropospheric circulation patterns possess a impact on the climate(Berdowski et al 28).
Just like the causes of internal variabilities, these factors also contributing factors to low frequency variabilities. Climatic variability determination therefore presents a very complex scenario of differentiating the internally induced climatic variability from the natural external forcing. It is only through the distinguishing of the internal from the external that the anthropogenic signal can be conclusively differentiated from the natural signal (Weber et al 136).
Studies that determine climate change based on the simple climate model simulations and the Northern Hemisphere reconstructions of temperature changes as early as 1000, show that decadal-scale temperature variabilities recorded in preindustrial climatic patterns are attributed to volcanism and solar irradiance. During the 18th Century, solar forcing as a factor in climate change was more likely to have been behind the observable global temperature differences as compared to the volcanic activities. Periods that preceded the Eighteenth Century, notably, the 19th Century experienced greater volcanic activity impact. However just like novel simulation methodologies, satellite measurements of solar irradiance only became a reality in 1978. Despite the fact that it is a more recent m3ethod, it has been able to establish a clear eleven year cycle where the variations of total solar irradiance has been approximated as 0.1%. Much higher variations in UV(10%) near 200nm or UV(4%) near 300nm(Stott et al 4080).
III. Natural Contributions to Climate Change
Generally the Holocene period has been marked by considerable climatic stability as opposed to its precedent. However, it is not lost that this period has also been marked by notable climatic hiccups. Just as envisioned in other works that compare climatic stability and political, economic or social stability, climatic upheavals and disturbances have been pointed out as a cause of instability. The extent of such disturbances on the harmony of civilizations could not be conclusively blamed on tectonic activity. A more likely explanation was envisioned and with that began the studies on climate change, with specificity to the volcanic eruptions as a major factor in climatic variability(Burroughs 251).
Studies of natural climatic variability have designed a 1500 year cycle which explains the climate of the North Atlantic. Evidence of volcanic activity have been observed in ice cores in Antarctica and Green land. Archaeological findings in this two major sites detail three layers composited of acid tephra that originated from three volcanic eruptions; 2354 BC, 1627 BC and 1159 BC. Tree rings have also confirmed that during these events, climate was generally worse. The Hekla eruption in Iceland has been marked to be the 2354 BC event, the eruption of the Santorini situated in the Eastern Mediterranean has been connected to the 1627 BC event, even though the connection is not conclusive. The 1159 BC event is connected to the areas around Irish Oak series and additionally, the Anatolia tree ring series(Borroughs 252).
When Benjamin Franklin posited that the Hecla eruption that occurred in Iceland in 1783 was responsible for the cold winter that was experienced in 1783-1784, he only denoted an association that had long existed between large scale volcanic eruptions and climate change(Robock 310). Volcanic eruptions eject emissions that possess the potential to alter the stratosphere and hence the global climate at large. Sulfur rich gas which constitutes the bulk of volcanic emissions into the stratosphere form dust veils that persist for several years. Additionally such dust veils have been demonstrated to exhibit a cooling effect on the surface of the earth. Because of the persistence of dust veils in the stratosphere, an increase in the absorbency of solar radiation is observed(solar irradiance).
The resultant effect is the gradual and sustained warming of the stratosphere an effect which acts in contrast to the hypothesized impacts of green house gas emissions. Apart from having a direct effect on stratospheric average temperature, they also delay and mask, the determination of the effects of green house gases on the climatic system. Volcanic eruptions undoubtedly have regional climatic alterations but there are studies that have also charted a correlation with large scale effects such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation(ENSO) pattern to an extent that it has been hypothesized that volcanic activity has the capability of causing ENSOs since both the climatic signals of ENSOs and volcanic signals possess the same amplitude. However, this association is a weak link because of the paucity of such large scale volcanic eruptions in recent times. This makes it difficult to distinguish volcanic activity as a direct propagating factor among the variety of simultaneous climatic variations(Robock 311).
Explosive volcanic eruptions eject vast amounts of silicates(dust), especially sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. Sulfur dioxide is then chemically converted to sulphuric acid aerosols. Because of the height(15-30 km), insignificant vertical movement means that these particles remain stratospherically suspended spreading to the entire globe(Burroughs 208).
Theoretical studies of surface temperature data, radiative effects and numerical models have established a reliable link between volcanic eruptions and the consequent climate change. Such effects are noticeable as early as just two months after volcanic eruptions and they have the capacity top last for several years. In that duration the average hemispheric average cooling dropped with as much as 0.50C(Robock 312). Around the same duration stratospheric warming increases ten fold due to infrared radiation and solar absorption. The most important solar absorbing species in volcanic aerosols is the silicates as opposed to the sulphates. It is prudent to note that the warming effect of volcanic aerosols is in the opposite direction as that of the mechanisms of global warming of green house gases. Apart from their direct warming and cooling effects, they mask and even delay the impacts of green house gases. This means that even though there are no major volcanic activities, the effects of the major volcanic disturbances cannot be completely ruled out in simulations of the present climatic changes.(Mitchell 143).
The paucity of data on the relationship of volcanic activity and climate change calls for more advanced research that can be able to develop an index of aerosols produced and their comparative effect on climate change rather than detailing the extent of volcanic explosivity as a correlation to climate change. When such data is buttressed with historical analyses of temperature ranges, levels of precipitation and pressure variations then the volcanic signal will become a relatively reliable indicator of climatic change and variability.
b) CO2 Ocean Storage
It is estimated that roughly 50% of all carbon dioxide that constitute the anthropogenically derived CO2 remain suspended in the mixture of atmospheric gases. The bulk of the remaining 50% is in the oceans as a component of the total ocean surface storage capacity. It is clear that in the absence of the ocean storage of carbon dioxide, the atmospheric levels would have been at least 55 ppm higher that the present atmospheric concentration of CO2. In the preindustrial era the levels of carbonate ions in the sea water mass was approximately 85% HCO3 and 15% CO2-3. With the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere there is a likelihood that should the levels double than the sea water ratios will be altered to 90% of HCO3 and 10% CO2-3. (Veron 215).
It should be noted that alterations in the ratios serve to diminish the natural ability and capacity of the ocean waters to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere hence a decline in the self reinforcing cycle despite the fact that the physical rates of atmospheric via water mass exchange of carbon dioxide will remain largely constant.
It is extrapolated that later in the century the carbon dioxide levels will rise to between 650-700 ppm(Veron 215). If this occurs, the return to the self reinforcing cycle might take even much longer because the oceans generally have a slower rate of uptake. The result is therefore an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and hence accelerated rates of global warming. Additionally, the acidification caused by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will be competently buffered with the bicarbonate-carbonate exchange to a breaking point when the buffer mechanism is overwhelmed(Veron 215).
Unlike the latter case where the ocean uptake mechanism may be restored albeit after a long time, the destruction of the buffer capacity cannot be restored even if atmospheric levels are reduced to considerably normal levels. The acidified oceans will only be able to undergo a classic neutralization reaction where the acid water is neutralized by the carbonate rocks in marine seabed and adjacent land rocks. This chemical process is an extremely protracted process with no projected endpoint. In a seminal paper presented by Revelle and Suess in 1957, they posed the argument that the ocean water mass could not be able to sufficiently absorb the increasing levels of human produced carbon dioxide emissions as they had been able to absorb the naturally produced carbon dioxide concentrations. This would lead to a build up of vast concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for centuries. Noting the effect this would have they posited that human beings are on the brink of carrying out nothing less than a large scale geophysical experiment that is unlike anything that could have occurred in the past or in the future. Noting the gravity of the trend Revelle and Strauss cautioned that human activities that increase green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere propagate a mechanism where concentrated organic carbon that is naturally stored in sedimentary rocks is being returned to the atmosphere and the oceans(Weaver 15).
IV. Anthropogenic Contributions to Climate Change
a) CO2 emission/Green House Gas(CHG)
Recent scientific evidence on climate change attest to the fact that global warming is not a notion but a reality whose effects are complex and not easily fixable. despite variabilities from year to year, one fact that has been conclusively established is that green house gas emissions contribute to the significant global rise in average temperatures. Scientists have confirmed that human activities and the resultant increase in the concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere present the real concern for environmental conservation and the continued existence of humanity on this planet. Increase in global human populations, the underlying exploitation of fossil fuels as an incentive to economic growth and advancement and an intensified agricultural activity are human activities that accelerate green house gas emissions(OECD 157).
In January 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) published a report that was to alleviate the uncertainty that had characterized climate change proceedings. The main signal sent by the report was that for the past fifty of so years, the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had skyrocketed to dangerous levels and that the cause of this was human activities on the surface of the earth. Such a statement not only sent a strong signal to nations but also pointed at the urgency of the environmental disaster waiting to happen(Weaver 13).
Global surface average temperatures are rising due to fossil fuel emissions. Unless mankind curbs the use of such non renewable sources of energy, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels will incidentally spell disaster for the future generations. A tough decision of replacement of both fossil fuel input in power generation and transportation is the only possible option of ensuring that the levels of green house gases in the atmosphere are maintained in levels where the natural ecosystem can effectively regain its buffering and regulation capacity(Sprott 5). to achieve this investment options have to be diverted to cleaner and more reliable sources of energy such as solar energy, nuclear energy, wind energy and hydro power. However there still exists technical inefficiencies that inhibit the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, however the potential of nuclear energy to supply the worlds energy needs if adequately regulated is not in doubt.
CO2 Measurement Record
There are three major green house gases that are to blame for human induced global warming. These include; carbon dioxide(CO2 ), nitrous oxide(N2O) and methane(CH4). Carbon dioxide is the most dominant green house gas and it accounts for approximately 75% of global green house gas emissions and roughly 81% of emissions in the OECD countries. Methane follows closely with an average emission of 10% and 7% emissions for nitrous oxide(all in OECD countries). Other gases such as the hydroflourocarbons(HCFs), sulphur hexafluoride(SF6) and perflourocarbons(PCFs) account for approximately 2% in OECD countries(OECD 158). Carbon dioxide emissions are primary derivatives of fossil fuel combustion due to energy production and transportation. Methane is derived from livestock enteric fermentations and solid waste landfills while nitrous oxide emissions come from transportation.
Emissions of Carbon dioxide from Fossil Fuel Combustion during the era of Industrialization
Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring for 1751-2000. (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)
More than a century ago, Svante Arrhenium(1896); a Swedish professor, published one of the initial scientific works that sought to offer a succinct correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature changes. Calculating by hand, he was able to deduce that if carbon dioxide levels were to rise by approximately 50% then surface average temperatures would likewise increase by 4.10C(7.40F) in areas between the North latitudes of 30-40 degrees. He further deduced that ocean temperatures would increase by 3.30C(5.90F)(Moore 9). Despite the nascent nature of scientific simulations at that time these calculations have been found to be so accurate as to differ only slightly from the current computer models used in simulations. In line with his predictions of carbon dioxide and temperature changes he further hypothesized that such changes would prove to be beneficial to the far northern countries.
Human influence on the increase in green house gases is based on the available balance of scientific evidence which attests to the fact that when all considerations are taken into climate change simulations, it becomes discernible to pinpoint the effect of human influence on the rising green house gases concentrations in the atmosphere. This claim is against some scientific findings such as those that can be archived from the British Naval records which show no significant sea temperature changes from as early as the mid nineteenth century. The same is also supported by Federal government statistics. According to these records notable temperature rises can only be explained to the periods before 1940 when there was a considerably rapid rise in the levels on carbon dioxide. However, not even these simulations can be relied upon since there exist some discrepancies in the measurement methods(Moore 9).
Invariably, computer models used in simulations have been found to predict a much warmer world that it is actually the case. Modeling with computer models also lacks the ability to confirm recent measurements of carbon dioxide levels and temperature changes in addition to the fact that cloud modeling is an inadequate and poorly understood instrument in climate modeling. Generally, greenhouse gases are a necessity for human existence on earth since they capture and retain atmospheric heat. If green house gases were to be eliminated from the atmosphere then the earths temperature would be extremely low(as low as 700C colder)(Moore 10). At such a temperature the earth would not have be able to support life forms.
The greenhouse effect basically refers to relative absorption of heat(solar radiation) by certain atmospheric gases. When such absorption occurs some of the absorbed heat is transferred onto the earths surface. It is this effect that serves to keep the earth a warm and habitable planet. Natural gaseous interchange between the environmental components has the capacity to keep the temperatures of the earth at a constant level, however enhanced human activities has only increased this level of greenhouse gas levels hence greater solar absorption and consequent rise in temperatures. Warmer climatic patterns has been incriminated for the ongoing glacial melt, rising sea levels and warmer water mass. Rising sea and ocean temperatures stimulate the production of powerful hurricanes on one hand and extreme droughts on the other(Sprott et al 4). With the increase in human dumping of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere, rapid climate changes cannot be ignored.
Scientific observations have confirmed that the average tropopause height has been increasing drastically since 1979. Comparatively, this increase has also been confirmed in other climate model experiments. Additionally it has also been confirmed that this increase is a result of human induced changes in the concentrations and compositions of green house gases as well as changes in ozone layer composition. Because the mixture of green house gases and the ozone constitute approximately 80% of the rise in tropopause height over the measurement period of 1979-1999, it is clear why concerns on the green house emissions has been loud in recent years(Santer et al 3).
The role of these gases is stratosphere cooling and troposphere warming. Earlier on in 1900-1949 simulations, the height was comparatively shorter and the main perpertrators were then aerosols and solar irradiance , however recent concerns can only be attributable to the drastic climb in green house gas emissions fom both the natural and anthropogenic forcings. Studies of tropopause heights in the 20th and 21st century clearly attest that the broad variability can only be explained by increasing human activities which provide an independent support to tropospheric warming.
There exists a conspicuous correlation between the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the lower atmosphere and the simulations of global warming over the last fifty years(Nunn 252). From the initial sophisticated atmospheric modelling study that was carried out at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory which is currently located in Princeton New Jersey, the relationship between carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature changes was established based on a paper by Manabe and Weathereland(1957). The study concluded that the doubling effect of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has the impact of rising the surface average temperature when the relative humidity if fixed by an approximate margin of 20C. Based on the study, they established a projection which was in agreement with the IPCC 1996 projections(Weaver 15). The effect of carbon dioxide levels on the temperature change can be as demonstrated as follows;
Correlations between CO2 Levels and Temperature Variations
b) Land Use Changes
Terrestrial ecosystems have an influence on climatic change and they are in turn influenced by the same climate changes. Land use and cover possess a very complex interaction with climate and weather patterns. These interactions in turn have an effect on the level of exchange of green house gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane between the atmosphere land surface. Additionally, land cover and land use systems are determinants for the level of radioactive heat exchange radioactive heat exchange between the land surface, water mass and the atmosphere. The topography of land determines the the intensity, magnitude and momentum of short or long wave solar radiation and hence contributing to climatic changes and climate variability. Because of these factors, it is notable that any changes on land use has a direct effect on climate change and variability.
When land use patterns are coupled to the the variabilities that accompany climate change, then it can be possible to predict future climatic changes based on past land use systems as well as offer an insight on the ecological impacts that may occur with the transition from one land use system to another land use system. Recently in the United States of America, the National Research Council(NRC) acknowledged that the dynamics of land use is one of the major challenges that affect the implementation of environmental research as well as the conclusions that are drawn from such research methodologies for environmental protection policy making(NRC 2001b. p. 106).
To conclusively enlist land use systems in global simulation of climate change, patterns of past land use should be established, current land use patterns analyzed and future land use patterns projected with reference to expanding human populations (population size and distribution), human institutions, economic advancement and technological innovations. The combined simulation of climatic change and future changes in land use patterns has the ability to profoundly affect habitability since human beings are inherently dependent on land use practices for their everyday economic and nutritional satisfaction. Because climatic variability that is land use change induced or other factors induced has an impact on the land use patterns and land use cover, it directly determines the level of regional or national or global vulnerability and resilience to human habitability.
However, despite the presence of understanding with regard to the interactions that exist between land use/ cover with climate change/ variability, there is still a gap in appropriate simulation models that effectively incorporates land use patterns into the overall global simulation network.
Ideally changes in the level of vegetation cover result in am marked alteration of the land surface properties. Such properties include the albedo, roughness length and even the pattern and efficiency of the ecosystem interchange of water, carbon dioxide and energy. The effects directly caused by changes in land use system can either be described as biophysical effects or biogeochemical effects. The net effect of land cover/use change is an increase in atmospheric concentration of green house gases and hence global warming. Some researchers have established that focus on other climate change forcings has led to an underestimation of the real effects of land use/ cover alterations on climate change.
In post modern civilization, urbanization presents itself as one major cause and result of land use changes. Even though it has not been directly correlated to the the increase in green house gas emissions due to its minimal aerial extent, conversion into urban land creates unique urban heat islands that have been found to considerably accelerate microcosmal warming(Solomon et al 857). Moreover the development of urban areas creates an urban influx of population that is bound to increase until a certain point where such population increases can only be managed by a proportionate increase in urban size.
Agriculture has remained to be the leading incentive behind the conversion of forests and swamps into agricultural fields. Despite known climatic and ecological effects, conservation of the environment has always found a lower standing as compared to the provision of food to the hungry masses. Changes in plant cover and the considerable reduction of the capacity of the vegetation to transpire and maintain the water interchange between the plant and the atmosphere has the potential to increase average temperatures by as much as 2oC(Solomon et al 897) in deforested regions. Consequently reduction in transpiration levels has a direct effect on the levels of precipitation.
Several studies have assessed the potential biophysical effects that are associated with specific projected changes in land cover an use patterns and the results are very clear that for every change in land cover from the natural forest cover to human agricultural activities, there is an increase in green house gas forcings on climate change(Solomon et al 857). a classic example of such a classic scenario is the total destruction of the Amazon forest cover for agricultural activities. Should such an eventuality occur then average surface temperatures are expected to double in the region. Ironically, reforestation in some areas may lead to additional warming cycles due to natural differences in regional circulation patterns. This can only be explained with reference to the tropical climates.
As human beings research is concerned that steps should be taken to offset the early effects of climate change on health and populations. The depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer has been described to be a direct threat to the existence of the human populace. Early signs of the eventual destruction of the stratospheric zone has been the heat wave related deaths and skin cancers induced by harmful ultraviolet radiations. There is adequate scientific data that confirm that anthropogenic induced climate change is taking a high toll on the natural plant growth and distribution. Moreover, climate change also has a direct impact on the distribution and behavior of the animal species all over the world. Globally patterns of disease attacks and spread are consistent with the extending effects of climate change. Even though it may not sound plausible to attribute all these climatic changes to global warming and its causative agent , the increasing concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere, it is undoubtedly prudent to surmise that global warming presents itself as a major component and driving force behind climatic changes in the 21st Century.
On the geophysical scale the effects are being manifested as a product of enhanced human activities that has led to the increase in level of greenhouse gas levels hence greater solar absorption and consequent rise in temperatures. Warmer climatic patterns has been incriminated for the ongoing glacial melt, rising sea levels and warmer water mass. Rising sea and ocean temperatures stimulate the production of powerful hurricanes on one hand and extreme droughts on the other. Land use patterns especially the destruction of forest vegetation cover for agroproduction and urbanization has posed a great deal of concern with respect to the destruction of the gaseous interchange and the hydrological cycles.
Volcanic activities eject aerosol emissions that possess the potential to alter the stratospheric composition and temperature. Sulfur rich gas which constitutes the bulk of volcanic emissions into the stratosphere form dust veils that persist for several years. Such dust veils have been demonstrated to exhibit a cooling effect on the surface of the earth. Because of the persistence of dust veils in the stratosphere, an increase in the absorbency of solar radiation is observed(solar irradiance) and consequently global warming.
Unless all natural and anthropogenic forcings on climate change are integrated into an all inclusive and complex simulation framework, it may not be able to curd the deterioration to catastrophic climate changes. However, not all is lost because governments, institutions and individuals have heeded the call for environmental conservation as a gift to future generations. The facts of the case of global warming are in world circulation, the threats of no actions are a reality of our times, the existence of humanity is on a balance: lets take action to prevent the catastrophic turn of climatic changes through responsible and sustainable socioeconomic and political development.
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