Climate change is a global problem, produced to a large extent by human actions, which affects the entire planet. Today, trying to hide its existence is impossible. The scientific community, adverse weather events, the thawing of the poles and the disappearance of species, make it evident and undeniable.
There are reports and important investigations in this regard that cover different areas, long periods and specific periods of time. Although the study of climate change has not been an easy task, scientists have had to add impediments and little collaborations by parts of companies, institutions and governments throughout history.
But when was the first time climate change have been discussed? Is it a 21st century phenomenon or was it known to have existed before? Is it a natural process? How has its evolution been in the recent years?
The answers to all these questions are in this article, and many more information about the history of climate change.
Is climate change a natural process? And the greenhouse effect?
In 1975, Wallace Smith Broecker was the first scientist to coin the term “climate change” with his report Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of Global Warming?
In his article, Broecker warned about this phenomenon based on tests carried out by himself, as well as other researchers. Thanks to the way he communicated it, he captured the attention of the entire world, an achievement that no other expert had achieved so far.
But what is climate change? Is it a natural process? No, climate change is the main consequence of polluting and the destructive human activities. Although it is not a natural process, it does affect a phenomenon that is: the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect makes life possible on earth. It prevents some of the heat that we receive from the sun spreading it out into space. But for this delicate process not to be counterproductive, it must be kept in perfect balance.
If the outgoing radiation were greater than the incoming one, the planet would be seriously cooled. The opposite effect would bring warming, which we are currently experiencing and which is causing climate change.
Until 1992 climate change was denied
For more than a century, the Earth was already giving us signals that we were altering the environment. Industrial development and successive world wars only contributed to weakening the fragile balance of the greenhouse effect.
In the mid-18th century, the French scientist Joseph Fourier concluded that the Sun’s distance from the Earth was the reason why our planet was habitable. Years later, John Tyndall and Eunice Foote measured the amount of heat that certain gases such as CO₂ could store.
In 1896, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius collected all this information and warned: fossil fuels could lead to an accelerated warming of the planet. Likewise, it determined that the average surface temperature should not exceed 15 ° C.
Unfortunately, all the evidence was rejected until the end of the XX century. In the 1930s, Guy Callendar managed – to no avail – to demonstrate the relationship between rising temperatures with human activity and gas emissions.
And so until 1992 when no one could turn their back on the problem, the ONU accepted that climate change was a man-made threat.
The evolution of climate change
The evolution of climate change has not always been the same. Throughout history there have been periods more intense than others, but the trend has always been upward.
According to the Fifth Assessment Report published by the ONU: “From 1880 to 2012 the global average temperature increased by 0.85 ° C”. Apparently a slight increase, but one that produced a 19-centimeter rise in the sea from 1901 to 2010.
Although these data are already quite worrying, the situation does not seem to have improved, according to the latest analysis between 2015 and 2019. Here are some figures:
• The acidity level of the oceans has increased by 26% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
• The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most devastating ever.
• Heat waves were the deadliest meteorological hazard.
• The annual melt of the Antarctic ice cover has increased at least six times.
The pollution generated by overproduction, transportation, fossil burning and deforestation is having a very serious environmental impact.
5 evidences that demonstrate climate change
Throughout the history of climate change, the evidence that demonstrated it has been present. Today, these evidences are causes and consequences that are affecting the safety and quality of the life of us all.
Here are 5 recent evidences:
• Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
• Extinction of numerous plant and animal species such as the male white rhino.
• Disappearance of islands like Gundul and Betet in Indonesia
• 17 degrees in Greenland in June 2019 (14 degrees above normal)
• Droughts generate very serious forest fires like the last one in California
We need a change of habits, not climate
After more than a century and a half of industrialization, deforestation and large-scale agriculture, the time has come to stop. Although the current consequences are already irreversible, what we can do is prevent them from getting worse.
Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, supporting the development of clean energies and contributing to the circular economy is the key. From now on, the change must be one of our habits and not climate. The future of the next generations depends on what we do today.
Nature has shown that without us it can continue perfectly. So let’s avoid getting to this point. Together, and to the extent possible for each one, we must contribute for the good in the history of climate change.