Are climate changes the result of human or natural factors?
The earth has got warmer in the last 150 years by just
a few degrees centigrade. However, the biosphere is very
delicate and any slight changes in temperature will melt
the polar ice caps causing a rise in sea levels submerging
parts of the world. Many attribute this to the 'Greenhouse
Effect.' The 'Greenhouse Effect' theory states that the
world is getting warmer because more and more fossil fuels
being burnt producing Carbon Dioxide. The CO2 gas acts as
an insulating layer around the globe trapping in any long
wave radiation from the earth escaping into space. Although
this theory is widely excepted in public (compulsory to
learn in UK schools) because of the successful campaigning
of Environmentalists and because if any slightly unusual
weather occurs it is blamed on the 'Greenhouse Effect.'
(Apart from the United Kingdom there has actually been less
than normal freak weather worldwide!) Perhaps it is the
cause of rising global temperatures over the last one hundred
years. Most scientists believe that the 'Greenhouse Effect'
has an effect on global temperatures but they still argue
over its significance in relation to other factors such
as variations in the sun's radiation. After all, climate
change has been going on since Creation with ice ages, mass
floods, changing climates (Antarctica was once a warm continent)
Weather is caused by the sun. It heats up the land and air masses causing
weather systems to be formed. Without the sun there would be no weather forecast
(and no MOO!). Any change in the radiation (Heat) coming from the sun therefore
changes, often dramatically or temporarily, the worlds climate/weather. The sun
is indeed always changing - there are sun spots, solar flares and solar cycles
which all effect the weather on earth. Long range meteorologists accurately
predicted the recent storms on the south coast using measurements of the sun's
activity. Therefore, only some (if any) of freak weather is caused by the
The power of the sun on weather is not debated but scientists to argue over
the sun's affect on the climate of the last 100 years is. The sun has regular
cycles, the most well known being of 10.5 years in length. This is a pretty
minor cycle changing the intensity of the sun by only one tenth of one percent.
However, this small change is known to have caused drought and changed weather
conditions on earth. Some Scientists believe that a longer cycle which has meant
that the sun's intensity is four tenths of one percent stronger than at the
beginning of the last century. This difference has caused in theory winds
(and so climates) to change.
Many debate if the sun cycle is strong enough to account for the increase in
global temperatures last century.
Climate change may be due to the 'Greenhouse Effect' or may be due to solar
cycles. What is clear is that climate change is a very complex issue of which we
know very little. We do not even know for certain what caused the ice ages (and
whether or now we are still at the end of one). What we do know is that the Sun,
Volcanoes, the earth's axis/orbit (and perhaps the 'Greenhouse Effect.')
Therefore much more research must be done to understand the world we live in and
its changing weather. What we must not do is dismiss all other factors except
the 'Greenhouse Effect' which we seem to be doing at the moment.