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GEO103 Principles Of Geography


Course ID: GEO103

University Name: University of Dayton

Study Level: Undergraduate

Location: Dayton, Ohio

Climate change

Global warming and its effects on Earth's weather patterns are both part of contemporary climate change. There have been prior times of climate change, but the current changes are far faster and are not caused by natural factors. Instead, greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, are to blame. The majority of these emissions are caused by the burning of fossil fuels for energy. Additional sources include agriculture, steelmaking, cement production, and forest loss. Because greenhouse gases are transparent to sunlight, they allow it to reach the Earth's surface and heat it. The gases absorb the heat that the Earth produces as infrared radiation, keeping it near the Earth's surface. As the earth warms, things such as the decrease of sunlight-reflecting snow cover exacerbate global warming.

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Temperatures on land have risen twice as quickly as the worldwide average. Heat waves and wildfires are getting more prevalent, and deserts are growing. Melting permafrost, glacial retreat, and sea ice loss have all been attributed to increased heat in the Arctic. Intense storms and other weather extremes are becoming more often as temperatures rise. Many species are forced to relocate or become extinct as their environment changes in areas like coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic. Food and water scarcity, higher flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss are among threats posed by climate change. It has the potential to cause human migration. Climate change, according to the World Health Organization, is the greatest threat to world health in the twenty-first century.

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Even if attempts to reduce future warming succeed, some consequences will last for centuries. Sea level rise and warmer, more acidic waters are two examples.

Many of these effects are already being felt at the current level of warming, which is around 1.2 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts even more severe consequences if global warming continues to 1.5 degrees Celsius or higher. The likelihood of tipping points, such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, increases as the planet warms. Adapting to these changes entails taking steps to decrease the amount of warming that occurs. By lowering greenhouse gas emissions and removing them from the atmosphere, future warming can be reduced (mitigated).

More wind and solar energy will be used, coal will be phased out, and energy efficiency will be improved. Switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps for homes and businesses will reduce emissions even more. Deforestation prevention and forest enhancement can help absorb CO2. Communities may be able to adapt to climate change through improving coastal protection, disaster management, and crop production. These adaptation efforts alone will not be enough to prevent severe, widespread, and long-term consequences.

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Nations pledged in 2015 to keep global warming "well below 2 degrees Celsius" through mitigation efforts as part of the Paris Agreement. Despite the Agreement's pledges, global warming would still be around 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and zero by 2050.

It was uncertain until the 1980s whether increased greenhouse gas warming would outweigh aerosol-induced cooling. Inadvertent climate modification was a term used by scientists to describe the human impact on the climate at the time. The expressions "global warming" and "climate change" became popular in the 1980s. The former solely relates to increased surface heat, while the latter encompasses the entire impact of greenhouse gases on the climate. After NASA climate scientist James Hansen used the word in his 1988 Senate speech, it became the most prominent term.

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The term "climate change" became more prevalent in the 2000s. Climate change can refer to natural or anthropogenic change, although global warming usually refers to human-induced warming of the Earth system. Frequently, the two names are used interchangeably. Various scientists, politicians, and media people have coined the terms climate crisis or climate emergency to describe climate change, and global heating rather than global warming to describe the phenomenon. The Guardian's policy editor-in-chief explained that this statement was placed in their editing rules "to ensure that we are scientifically exact while also communicating effectively with readers on this extremely important matter." Climate emergency was Oxford Languages' word of the year in 2019, defined as "a scenario in which immediate action is necessary to prevent or halt climate change and avoid potentially permanent environmental damage as a result."

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