A look at 10 climate change facts that you may never have heard.
Climate change – we hear enough about it on the news and other sources to have a good idea what it’s about and the scientific evidence behind it.
Climate change is classed as a significant change in the weather lasting for an extended period – such as decades or longer. The Earth's climate has changed many times during the planet's history, with events ranging from ice ages to long periods of warmth. What’s different about this period of the earth’s history is that human activities are significantly contributing to climate change through our emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Greenhouse effect does exactly as it says on the tin - natural greenhouse gases act like a big blanket around the earth by trapping energy from the sun. Humans are adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere meaning more heat gets trapped, causing the earth’s temperature to rise.
This results in global warming which is the recorded increase in the average temperatures of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans, and which affects the weather patterns on Earth, causing climate change.
However, new research has revealed that just one in nine people (11%) in Britain know there is a strong scientific consensus on man-made climate change. This got me thinking about how I can convince the masses...a few good old facts should do the trick.
See below for my top ten facts you didn’t know about climate change:
- Also known as the Goldilocks Planet because it is ‘just right’ – the Earth without greenhouse gases, would be too cold to support life. With too many, however, it would heat up beyond survivable levels.
- In less than 200 years, human activity has increased the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases by 50%, relative to pre-industrial levels.
- Twelve of the 13 warmest years on record occurred between 1995 and 2007 - the climate we’re familiar with today has mainly developed over just the last 50 years.
- Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius realised as early as 1896 that human industrial activity was already surpassing the earth’s ability to reabsorb CO2.
- Mountain ranges are growing as a result of global warming. That's because the glaciers that have been weighing them down and pushing them into the earth for centuries are melting. That has allowed the planet's surface to "spring back" and the mountains to rise.
- A massive 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming. If 97% of experts agree...
- The CO2 we produce accumulates in Earth’s atmosphere for decades, centuries, and longer, meaning effects of CO2 emissions cannot be reversed from one generation to the next.
- The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) is thought to be the first species to go extinct because of climate change.
- Average global temperatures increased by about 1°C over the 20th century. It takes a vast amount of heat to warm all the oceans, land and atmosphere by that much.
- In the past, a one- to two-degree drop was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Little Ice Age...brrrr!
The survey also revealed that 40% of respondents admitted that they were not well informed about the issue of climate change. So if you feel left behind, there’s a wealth of information out there to help you get informed.
The global temperature mainly depends on how much energy the planet receives from the Sun and how much it radiates back into space. There is no two ways about it – the world is getting warmer and it’s us who will have to live with the consequences.
For information – The survey was completed by ComRes, on behalf the independent Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), who interviewed 2,021 British adults online between 1st and 3rd August 2014.