Earth is a dynamic planet which is constantly undergoing change driven by internal and external forces. We can see the persistence alterations in climate across a multitude of continuous and incremental change. The Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, heat inside the oceans, global temperature and sea level rises. Each of these creeps up year after year, fuelled by human and greenhouse emissions.
Meanwhile, climate change records are routinely broken. The cumulative impact of these changes could also cause fundamental parts of the earth system to transform irreversibly.
7 Major Factors Responsible For Climate Change
1. Strength of sun
Almost all the energy that affects the climate of earth originates from the sun. The energy emitted by the sun passes through space until it hits the Earth’s atmosphere. Almost 40% of solar energy intercepted at the top of the atmosphere, which passes to the earth’s surface.
The earth reflects rest of the solar energy, or the atmosphere absorbs it. The output energy of the sun is also not constant, as it varies from time to time and affects our climate.
2. The orientation of earth axis
The earth rotates around an axis, but the earth’s axis is not upright; it means it rotates at an angle. This angle changes with time and over about 41000 years it moves from 22.1 degree to 24.5 degrees and back again. When the angle increases, the summers become warmer, and the winter becomes colder.
3. Quantity of Greenhouse Effect
Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapours are responsible for the greenhouse effect. Water vapours make the greatest contribution to the greenhouse effect because there is more of it on the planet. These gases trap solar radiation, i.e. Electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun, on the earth’s atmosphere. It makes the climate even warmer.
4. Carbon dioxide content in the oceans
The oceans contain more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere, and they can also absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In the oceans, CO2 doesn’t trap the heat and leave the oceans and moves back into the atmosphere. Ocean current carries the heat around the earth. The direction of these currents can shift so that area becomes warmer and cooler alternatively. Ocean stores the enormous amount of heat so that slight change in ocean currents can have a large effect on coastal and global climate.
It contributes towards a warmer climate and it’s one of the major factors which contribute in climate change.
5. Technical plate moments and volcanic eruption
Over the times, the tectonic plate caused a continent to move to different positions on the globe e.g. over 300 million years ago, Britain was near to the equator and therefore it was hotter than it is today. The movements of the plates also cause volcano eruptions and cyclones, hence it contributes to a change in climate.
Volcanoes affect the climate through the dust and gas particles thrown into the atmosphere during the eruption. The effect of the volcanic gases and dust may warm or cool the earth’s surface depending on how sunlight interacts with the volcanic material.
6. Meteorite affects
The meteorites have contributed to climate change in the geological past, e.g. Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Chicxulub crater. The Chicxulub had caused a large range of effects that includes dust and aerosols being ejected high into the atmosphere that prevented sunlight from getting through. These materials insulated the earth from solar radiation and decreased the global temperature.
The aerosols and dust fall back to earth, and Greenhouse gases formed by the interaction of the impactor. It caused the effect which stays throughout decades.
Above all, are the factors which contribute to the change in the earth’s climate. However, the way they interact with each other makes it more complicated. A slight change in anyone of these leads to additional major effects on earth’s climate e.g. we know that oceans take away the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When the quantity of CO2 increases in the atmosphere, the temperature of earth rises. Then it contributes to the warming of the ocean. Warm oceans are less able to absorb CO2 than cold ones. So as the temperature rises, the ocean releases more CO2 into the atmosphere, which again causes the temperature to rise on earth. These above factors play some major role in climate change. These tipping points are the threshold where a tiny change could push a system into an unfamiliar state.