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How You Prove To A Sceptic That Climate Change Is Real

     Climate change is not fiction. It's real, and here's why:

Increase in temperature

There's a huge sea of evidence that the planet is warming - historical records of temperatures taken around the world, in the oceans and by satellite.

Advanced climate models (Jones et al 2008, Stott et al 2011) show that the increase in temperature is linked to rising greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon dioxide being the biggest culprit.

How greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change

When sunlight reaches Earth's surface it can either be reflected back into space or absorbed by Earth. When it's absorbed, the planet releases some of the energy back into the atmosphere as heat.

Greenhouse gases absorb energy, which slows or prevents the loss of heat into space. This makes the Earth warmer. This is called the 'greenhouse effect'.

The concentration of greenhouse gases has increased as a result of human activities - fossil fuel combustion, land use change and deforestation. As more greenhouse gases are released into the air, they trap more heat energy emitted by the Earth and warm the atmosphere even more.

According a a new study published in the Institute of Physics' journal Environmental Letters, the soaring monthly and seasonal temperatures associated with heat waves can now largely be attributed to global warming of around 0.5C over the past 50 years.

Sceptics say the correlation between the rising temperature and rising greenhouse gas emissions isn't causation. However, 97% of global scientists and the overwhelming literature have disproven all other options.

The next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (AR5) due out early next year should provide more concrete evidence on this cause and effect linkage.

But it's not just the temperatures that are rising - there are other impacts of climate change.

The arctic is disappearing

Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50% since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published in the journal Cryosphere.

Increase in extreme weather conditions

Super storms in the US are causing millions of dollars worth of damage, while in the UK erratic swings from floods to heatwaves and drought caused by climate change is devastating harvests.

According to international development charity Practical Action, it's poor people in developing countries who are worst affected because they are more vulnerable to adverse weather effects.

In Bangladesh and Nepal, flooding is destroying their crops and washing their homes away.

In the Andean mountains of Peru, the freezing temperatures have reached record-breaking lows of - 35 degrees centigrade, making it very difficult for communities to survive there.

In East Africa, long periods without rainfall are devastating families who are dependent on agriculture for their food as well as their income.

As the climate changes, poverty and hunger is likely to increase. Many people in developing countries rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and increasingly erratic weather patterns mean that crops will fail. Access to clean water will also be threatened as our climate changes. The lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is a major cause of ill health and life threatening disease in developing countries.


In a nutshell, climate change is definitely happening - and it's getting worse, quickly. For the 21st century, climate models predict more substantial warming. The percentage of land experiencing summer months of extreme heat is set to double by 2020, and quadruple by 2040 to cover a fifth of the global land surface.

Article Source:

Through her work at international development charity Practical Action, Gemma Hume has witnessed the impact of climate change on poor people across the world and has written numerous articles on this subject. You can find more on how climate change is impacting people in East Africa and some of the innovative solutions that are helping them cope at

Posted on 2013-09-12, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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