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Weather change is normal, to an extent.
Weather change is normal. It is constantly changing, never stopping. We have grown accustom to it. This is obvious because most people don’t question why it becomes colder in winter but warmer in summer. We also don’t realize the impact, as humans, that we have on weather. Most believe that the weather is something we can’t control. In some ways this is true but other ways, we couldn’t be more wrong. Weather is something that changes every month, week, day, hour, but we are very ignorant to the fact of how different it used to be centuries ago, and how different we are going to make it decades from now.
Most people know about weather change. If you start off with a sunny day, the temperatures will rise because the sun will bring heat. This will cause the atmosphere, which is a layer of gas around the earth, to heat up. Since warm air rises it will push the colder air from the top of the atmosphere down. This is known as wind. In addition to wind coming from the heat of the sun, evaporation from our water sources will take place. The water evaporating causes moisture in the air. As moisture comes it is sent into the sky. Once a large about has entered the sky it will start to accumulate. This is known as clouds. The wind pushes the clouds around the sky, which causes our sunny day to become cloudy. The water vapor in the clouds will start to condense, this causes the water to become too heavy to stay in the air, which produces water droplets. This is known as rain. If too much warm air and moisture from the lower atmosphere, is sent up into the cooler upper atmosphere, this will cause the warm air to condense; this creates an unstable cloud. Once it because too unstable, the cloud will drop a large downfall of rain, with the downfall of rain comes a downdraft of air. When the air hits the ground, it will spread at a fast pace, causing high wind speeds. If ice particles in the sky collide with one another, they will form an electrical charge. Done in large portions, this can cause an electrical current to be sent across the sky, called lighting. Lighting produces a sound effect known as thunder. Once all of this happens, you have a new weather called thunderstorm. During a thunderstorm, cold air will start to follow warm air. This causes a funnel cloud. The instant a funnel cloud touches land, it becomes what is known as a tornado. Depending on your climate, which is your “average weather conditions in a certain area for over many years” (global climate change 2016), these weather conditions might change form and name. Such as in colder area you will have snow instead of rain and in extreme circumstances blizzards instead of storms.
After learning this the average person might believe that weather is out of our control and we don’t influence it. Although this is false. A large city existing causes heat. These heat islands have lots of tar roofs, concrete sidewalks, large portions of the ground covered in asphalt, for roads and parking lots. These things can absorb a large amount of heat. Even during the winter. This is known as the urban heat effect, which keeps the city a little warmer during hot days and less cold during cold days. This is especially noticeable during winter months. On a day that it would normally snow in that area, these heat islands have a chance at changing the snow to cold rain.
In addition to changing the temperature, asphalt and other building materials used in building large cities can increase flooding. In areas like LA, New York, and other places where large amounts of the ground are covered in paved roads, we see flooding accruing. This is because there are less places for rain to run off. Too much flooding can be very dangerous, because unlike snow, you cannot just push the water out of the way or walk on top of it.
While the asphalt and roofs might change the temperature a little bit, a few hundred acres of plants and crops can increase the humidity exponentially. Image all the land in the countryside producing large amounts of humidity. Areas around the south are already hotter, due to being closer to the equator, but imagen the increased moisture rate from the plants bringing the humidity to an all-time high every year. When you combine 100% humidity with temperatures exceeding 80 degrees, you create a heat index, that is quite dangerous, of over 100 degrees.
Humans might seem like we do nothing but produce heat, but we also tend to create snow. There is an effect called the lake-effect snow. This is where cooler air crosses over a lake, it then warms it up, and picks up water vapor. Then it rises back to the cold upper atmosphere and freezes. Once is becomes frozen it falls back to the ground, producing a large amount of snow in a small amount of time. Similarly, nuclear power plants have an effect called nuclear-effect snow. Nuclear power plants make a lot of steam, this steam goes into the cold upper atmosphere and freezes. Just like the lakes, it falls and creates snow. It doesn’t usually create a lot of snow but if done too often it could cause weather conditions that the area is not prepared for.
Most of these effects seem minor and aren’t going to change your life. A little bit of snow or increased heat and humidity from crops might not be changing the climate of the entire world but something still is. The earth has a layer of gases surrounding it called the atmosphere. The atmosphere traps in the heat, radiating from earth to space. It acts like a greenhouse, which is why this process is called, the greenhouse effect. Some of the gases that make up our atmosphere include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Humans are changing the strength of the natural greenhouse. The burning of coal and oil process combines carbon and oxygen in the air, which creates carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide has been increasingly put into the atmosphere for the last century. In addition, clearing land for industries, agriculture, and several other human involved agencies are causing the increase in the concentrated greenhouse effect. These people don’t care because all they see is money. The United States has done their fair share but the people doing it the most is developing countries. They do it because it’s easy money. A bunch of invisible gases going into the air is nothing compared to millions of dollars. What they don’t realize is the after effects will destroy their developing country and it won’t stop just there.
This will cause the earth to become warmer. Warmer conditioning means more evaporations and precipitation. More evaporations and warmer conditions mean more ice melted. With the greenhouse effect increasing, glaciers will start to melt, sea water will rise, oceans will expand. More and more species that depend on cold weather will start to extinct and the earths over all land size could reduce because the oceans will take up more than just 70 percent of the earth surface.
Some say that this is just a myth but there is already proof that it is happening. Glaciers are shrinking, ice is melting earlier than normal, plants are blossoming much sooner, and the temperature of the earth as a whole has increase 2 degrees since the 20th century. This has caused several different problems with species and environments, including but not limited to, polar bears becoming endangered and with the increase in water temperature, comes marine life dying. For example, two thirds of the Giant Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef, died off in 2016 due to excessive temperature.
These temperatures will not be going down but instead, continue to increase. Frost free season and growing season for plants has been increasing nationally since 1980. This will cause some crops not to be able to harvest because the temperature is too high. We will also have several more heat waves and droughts, while cold fronts become less common and less intense. With this, come changes in precipitations patterns. Hurricane will become much stronger and more intense. Along with becoming more frequent.
It might not seem like a big deal to us but if you look toward the future, at this rate, midway into the century we will have an ice free Artic. By 2100 our sea levels will have risen to 4 feet around the world, (NASA: Global Climate Change 2018). This will cause massive flooding in some areas. Add in, how strong the hurricanes how already become in just this amount of time; it will be insane how strong and frequent they will be. The earth will not only be a completely different climate, but it will be a completely different place. So why don’t people care?
A large portion of the world is either misinformed, don’t believe the information, or don’t care. Therefore, it needs to be more of an earthly emergency than a simple thing you learn in school. The world needs to come together and save our earth. We need worldwide announcements made. Not just these little things about recycling but also forcing people to stop deforestation. We need to stop the big things that are destroying our world and changing our weather conditions. Stopping these little things seems nice, and it definitely is helping the animals, but our weather is still changing exponentially.
Yes, weather change is normal; the excessive amount that we are experiencing is not. People are not aware of the effects that they have on this earth. If humans keep treating the earth like we are a parasite, mother nature is going to exterminate us. There is still time to save the earth, if all the world comes together to save it. With just a few changes we could stop our pollution and excessive gases and save our climates that are dying. In return, we will save not only several endangered species but also the next generation the trouble of living in an apocalyptic environment.
- Some of the information I used I received from lectures during my bio class. I am citing the PDF file that Prof. Wayne Bennet sent me.
- Bennet, Wayne. “The Human Footprint.” The Human Footprint, 4 Dec. 2018, Lecture 18 – The Human Footprint- notes236769.pdf
- “Climate Change Causes: A Blanket around the Earth.” NASA, NASA, 8 Aug. 2018, climate.nasa.gov/causes/.
- “Climate Concepts.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, www3.epa.gov/climatechange//kids/basics/concepts.html.
- Cook, Maria. “Different Kinds of Weather Conditions.” Sciencing.com, Sciencing, 6 Dec. 2018, sciencing.com/different-kinds-weather-conditions-5090734.html.
- “Fun Facts for Kids on Animals, Earth, History and More!” DK Find Out!, www.dkfindout.com/us/earth/weather/what-causes-weather/.
- “Global Climate Change: Effects.” NASA, NASA, 28 Nov. 2018, climate.nasa.gov/effects/.
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