TODAY -

Global Warming - Climate change and its effect

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh *



Climatology (from Greek klima) or Climate Science is the scientific study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions, averaged over a period of time. This modern field of study is regarded as a branch of the atmospheric Science and a sub- field of Physical Geography, which is one of the Earth Sciences.

Climatology, now includes aspect of Oceanography and biogeochemistry. Basic knowledge of climate can be used within shorter term weather fore casting using analog techniques. Chinese Scientist - Shen Kuo( 1031-1095) inferred that climate naturally shifted over an enormous span of time, after observing petrified bamboos found underground near Yanzhou ( modern day Yan'an, Shaanxi Province), a dry climate area unsuitable for the growth of bamboos.

Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades and may be for millions of years.

The climate system comprised of five interacting parts
(i) the atmosphere (air)
(ii) hydrosphere (water)
(iii) Cryosphere (ice & permafrost)
(iv) biosphere (Living things)
(v) lithosphere (earth's crust & upper mantle).

The climate system received nearly all of its energy from the Sun with a relatively tiny amount from Earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy and passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's Energy budget.

When the incoming energy is greater than outgoing energy, Earth's energy budget is positive and climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling. As this energy moves through Earth's climate system, it creates Earth's weather and long term averages of weather called "Climate Change ".

Such change can be the result of internal variability, when natural process inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter Earth's energy budget. Climate change can also result from external forcing, when events outside of the climate system's five parts nonetheless produce changes within the system, For example, changes in solar output and volcanism. Human activities can also change earth's climate and presently driving climate change through global warming.

Here is a simple definition of global warming (Andyes, it is really happening). Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. And experts, see the trend is accelerating. All but one of the 16 hottest years in NASA's 134- year record have occurred since 2000.

Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants and green house gases collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth's surface.

Normally, this radiation would escape into space but these pollutants which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. That's what's known as the greenhouse effect. In the United States, the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest source of heat trapping pollution, producing about 2 billion tons of CO2 every year.

Coal burning power plants are by far the biggest polluters. The country's second largest source of carbon pollution is the transportation sector which generates about 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emission a year. India is the most vulnerable country to climate change followed by Pakistan, Philippines and Bangladesh as ranked by HSBC.

The greenhouse gases released by human activities are solely responsible for the warming climate in India. Scientist agree that the earth's rising temperatures are fueling longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall and more powerful hurricanes.

Such events started even in Manipur as we have seen recent deadly storms which was never happened before, flash flood in last year, water scarcity etc. We all know that most of our hills in Manipur have been heavily deforested, even in the catchment areas of almost all our rivers, which causes flash floods during rainy seasons and rivers all dried up during lean season.

Most of our one time, water bodies & wetlands have been perished, which stopped our water cycle, disturbing mild climatic system in Manipur, causing many unexpected natural calamities which were not existed at all in the past.

In 2015, for example, Scientist said that an ongoing drought in California—the state's worst water shortage in 1,200 years – had been intensified by 15% to 20% by global warming. They also said, the odds of similar draught happening in the future had roughly doubled over the past century.

And in 2016, the National Academic of Science, Engineering and Medicine announced that it's now possible to confidentially attribute certain weather events like some heat waves, directly to climate change.

The Earth's ocean temperatures are getting warmer too—which means that tropical storms can pick up more energy. So global warming could turn, say a category 3 storm into a more dangerous category 4 storm. In fact Scientist have found that the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes has increased since the early 1980s; as well as the number of storms that reach category 4 &5.

In 2005, Hurricanes "Katrina" —the costliest Hurricanes in U.S history stuck New Orleans; the second costliest Hurricanes "SANDY" , hit the East Coast in 2012.The impact of global warming are being felt across the globe. Extreme heat waves have caused tens of thousands of death around the World in recent years. And in an alarming sign of events to come.

Antarctica has been losing about 134 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002. This rate could speed up if we keep burning fossil fuels at our current pace, some experts says, causing sea level to rise several meters over the next 50 to 150 years.

Each year, Scientist learn more about the consequence of global warming and many agree that environmental, economic and health consequences are likely to occur if current trends continue.

Here is a smattering of what we can look forward to due to global warming

(i) Melting glacier, earlier snowmelt and severe droughts will cause more dramatic water shortages and increase the risk of wildfires

(ii) Rising sea level will lead to coastal floods and eastern seaboard, especially in Florida and other areas such as Gulf of Mexico

(iii) Forest, farms and cities will face troublesome new pests, heat waves, and heavy downpours and increased flooding. All these factors will damage or destroy agriculture and fisheries

(iv) Disruption of habitats, such as Coral Reefs and Alpine meadows could drive many plants and species to extinction

(v) Allergies, asthma and infectious diseases outbreaks will become more common due to increased growth of pollen producing ragweed, higher level of air pollution and spread of conditions favorable to pathogens and mosquitoes.

So, what shall we do now? Now we all need to understand all these problems and stop or check the factors causing these. It's we human being to choose whether we should go to hell or heaven.


* Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is a Faculty of Mathematics at NIELIT Imphal, Akampat and can be contacted at sjugeshwor7(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 26, 2019.



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