Climate change refers to the long-term
change in the distribution of weather patterns over periods
of time that range from decades to millions of years. It may be a change
in the average weather conditions or a change in the distribution of weather
events with respect to an average, for example, greater or fewer extreme
weather events. The climate change which
we are currently experiencing is due to global warming. Global warming is caused by excessive
greenhouse gasses (GHGs) in our atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane and nitrous oxide which prevent excess heat from escaping the
near-surface of the earth.
In addition to an increase in the average temperature of the earth and the
seas, we can expect - an indeed are already experiencing - changes in the
climate that include:
expect more frequent heavy downpours and snowfalls, since warmer air can hold
more water vapor. Already, the number of heavy precipitation events in the
United States increased 24 percent between 1948 and 2006, helping to make
flooding the most common weather-related disaster in the U.S. Recent years have
seen a string of incredibly destructive floods and snowstorms, including the
2008 Midwest flood that caused $8 to $10 billion in damage and 2010's
"Snowmaggedon" that cost the East Coast more than $2 billion.
already seeing fewer-but more intense-hurricanes worldwide, and that the number
of intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic may nearly double over
the course of the next century. Estimated damages from the seven most costly
hurricanes to strike the U.S. since 2005 exceed $200 billion.
waves are projected to be more frequent, more intense, and last longer due to
global warming. Heat waves are among the most lethal of extreme weather events,
as illustrated by a 2006 heat wave that affected the entire contiguous United
States and was blamed for at least 147 deaths in California and another 140
deaths in New York City.
common of the greenhouse gasses is CO2 which is a by-product of burning fossil
fuels such as coal. At least one half of
the electricity in the U.S. is sourced from the burning of coal. Transportation is the second biggest
contributor to the greenhouse gas problem.
National Resources Defense Council.
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