Cli­mate change

Sun.Star Baguio - - Live! - Jen­nifer G. Em­per­ador

WHAT’S the dif­fer­ence between weather and cli­mate?

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NASA), weather is the way the at­mos­phere is be­hav­ing for a short pe­riod of time (min­utes, hours, days or months).

We think of weather in terms of sun­shine, rain, cloud cover, winds, hail, snow, sleet, freez­ing rain, flood­ing, bl­iz­zards, ice storms, thun­der­storms, steady rains from a cold front or warm front, ex­ces­sive heat, heat waves, high pres­sure, low pres­sure and more1.

Cli­mate, on the other hand, is the de­scrip­tion of a long-term pat­tern of weather in a par­tic­u­lar re­gion, usu­ally taken over 30 years.

When sci­en­tists talk about cli­mate, they're look­ing at av­er­ages of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity, sun­shine, wind ve­loc­ity, phenom­ena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other mea­sures of the weather that oc­cur over a long pe­riod in a par­tic­u­lar place2.

Cli­mate change, there­fore, are decades of stud­ies by sci­en­tists on the changes in weather pat­terns.

Cli­mate change and global warm­ing are of­ten used in­ter­change­ably, per­haps, due to the fact that the change in cli­mate nowa­days is go­ing to­ward warmer tem­per­a­ture, hot­ter sum­mer, shorter win­ter and ex­treme weather shifts.

The sad thing is that re­searches and stud­ies have shown that cli­mate change is brought about by an­thro­pogenic forces i.e. hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties3.

Air pol­lu­tion is the main cul­prit in the change of cli­mate that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing now. It comes from the emis­sions of green­house gases such as car­bon diox­ide, meth­ane and ni­trous ox­ide from the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els and in­dus­trial man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses4. Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies, the house­hold use of solid fu­els for cook­ing and heat­ing also con­trib­utes to air pol­lu­tion. Green­house gases are not good be­cause they trap heat, and as their con­cen­tra­tion in the at­mos­phere in­creases, so does the tem­per­a­ture5.

If global warm­ing con­tin­ues, there will be longer hot days and fewer cold days, sealevels will in­crease due to the melt­ing of glaciers and could re­sult to the drown­ing of smaller is­lands, oceans will be hot and acidic for ma­rine life re­sult­ing to the ex­tinc­tion of more species, and health will be­come very vul­ner­a­ble6.

But there is hope for planet Earth. Big steps have been made by na­tions all over the globe. But or­di­nary peo­ple can have their own small steps start­ing from their own space such as not burn­ing garbage, re­duc­tion of use of in­dus­trial ma­te­ri­als, ad­vo­cat­ing for veg­e­ta­tion and more trees and ad­her­ing to laws that pro­mote bet­ter and greener en­vi­ron­ment.

It is not enough to know facts about cli­mate change – know­ing should and must lead to do­ing.

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