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Climate Change

Climate Change

[Climate Change] Why does climate change occur? by Lee Oh-Keum

by | 02-03-2012 14:13 Comments 25 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

Why does climate change occur?


British Embassy in Korea, officer Lee Oh-Keum


Climate change, called global warming, occurs because excessive amount of greenhouse gas was emitted into the atmosphere due to human activity. Some solar energy that reached earth in natural state gets absorbed into the atmosphere and some portion leave earth, and here, greenhouse gases prevent solar energy from going into space and to remain inside the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases in natural state have been exercising positive role for appropriate amount of solar energy to go into space and proper amount remain in earth to help living organisms to maintain an optimal temperature for living organisms to live. Unfortunately, the earth?s climate is increasing as excessive amount of heat is trapped inside the earth?s atmosphere because humans emitted too much greenhouse gases. Therefore, the cause of climate change is called the increasing greenhouse gases (specially, carbon dioxide) due to human activity.

 Why does climate change occur?_Lee Oh-Keum_00

The representative gases of greenhouse gas are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Compared to the carbon dioxide, methane has 60 greater force of holding heat energy, but the remaining time in the atmosphere is relatively short. Methane is contained in wetlands, gas, and burp. Large amount of methane is released in the livestock industry, so one of the important behaviors that we should take to stop climate change is to start eating more vegetables and reduce the meat diet. Nitrous oxide has 270 times greater capacity of holding heat inside the atmosphere and remains inside the air for 150 years. Nitrous oxide is emitted while fossil fuels are burned and also from nitrogenous manure.  

The reason why carbon dioxide is considered as the major cause of climate change when other greenhouse gases have strong energy of holding the heat and remains inside the atmosphere for quite long period of time is because the increasing amount of emitted carbon dioxide is awfully large. Take a look at the three graphs below and observe the relationship between the increasing amount of carbon dioxide concentration and the temperature.

 1. Why does climate change occur?_Lee Oh-Keum_01

Before nineteenth century when Industrial Revolution begun, the concentration of carbon dioxide within the atmosphere was approximately 280ppm, but the concentration of today is approximately 380ppm that has increased tremendously. If you take a look at the graph above, the concentration of carbon dioxide has remained around 280ppm for hundreds of years, but has made drastic increase since 1800?s.

1. Why does climate change occur?_Lee Oh-Keum_02

The graph above represents the Keeling Curve that has measured the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 1958. This data was measured on top of Mauna Loa Mountain in Hawaii, and this mountain was selected because it was considered to be the place that was least affected by the atmospheric pollution. This graph clearly shows growth in carbon dioxide concentration. The concentration of carbon dioxide which was approximately 310ppm in 1958 has marked 381ppm in 2005. The reason why concentration goes up and down every year is because the concentration level decreases while trees are absorbing carbon dioxide according to the season in the northern hemisphere and the concentration increases again when it is winter in northern hemisphere.

 1. Why does climate change occur?_Lee Oh-Keum_03

The graph above is the combination of carbon dioxide concentration tendency and average temperature of the Earth. As in this graph, the tendency of average temperature is making gradual increase as the carbon dioxide concentration increases. 

These graphs are partial scientific evidence that the increasing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are the cause of global warming. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), global warming is evidently occurring and the phenomenon of temperature increasing has been observed. They clearly stated in their 4th report that the above phenomenon since the mid-20th century is due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases that the human race has emitted. IPPC received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 when they published this report. Some still insist that there are other causes for global warming not because of excessive greenhouse gas emission, but the figures are merely few and most scientists agree with IPCC?s conclusion or consider IPCC to have underestimated the threat of climate change.   

   For example, IPCC report did not consider the feedback effect of quantity.  When earth?s temperature increases, arctic permafrost will melt. Then, greenhouse gases confined below are expected to be released into the atmosphere and this will increase the average temperature of the Earth again. The Arctic ice cap reflects most of solar radiation and sea water absorbs most of heat. When ice cap melts into the ocean, the amount of reflected solar energy will decrease whereas the absorbed energy is expected to be much greater. Such phenomenon is referred to the ?amount of feedback.? When this phenomenon gets out of control, the climate change becomes irreversible. Therefore, it is urgent to take preventive measure in advance. 

If average temperature increases more than 2 degrees than the mean atmospheric temperature prior to the Industrial Revolution, scientists are predicting that there is a greater chance of feedback occurrences. So far, the earth?s average temperature has increased by 0.6 degree compared to the pre-Industrial Revolution. There has been universal agreement to prevent not more than 2 degrees of temperature rise than before Industrial Revolution took place, but how to realize such matter still remains as a big challenge.








  • Quyen Do says :
    how can economic benefits not disrupt the prevention of temperature rise should be the main question

    Posted 28-07-2019 19:31

  • says :
    Great essay!
    Posted 25-11-2014 18:46

  • says :
    Thanks for sharing!
    Posted 03-11-2014 10:22

  • says :
    having read this article can say that it is not too late to prevent climate change because we can act to slow the progression of it, even if we can??t stop it completely due to greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
    Posted 04-05-2014 21:24

  • says :
    good article
    Posted 31-12-2013 00:38

  • says :
    thanks for the information
    Posted 30-12-2013 19:32

  • says :
    good share
    Posted 30-12-2013 13:35

  • says :
    nice report
    Posted 27-12-2013 22:56

  • says :
    good info
    Posted 27-12-2013 01:03

  • says :
    very informaitve
    Posted 26-12-2013 22:52

  • says :
    Posted 25-12-2013 11:36

  • says :
    good to know its causes
    Posted 22-12-2013 16:08

  • says :
    thanks for the report
    Posted 22-12-2013 00:31

  • says :
    Thanks for sharing
    Posted 19-12-2013 00:43

  • says :
    good essay
    Posted 16-12-2013 21:05

  • says :
    those greenhouse gasses are causing a global climate change which affects everyone, especially the people who live on islands, like me.
    Posted 04-12-2013 20:00

  • says :
    This particular problem is bringing in more of the sun's harmful rays and more sunlight.
    Posted 04-12-2013 18:30

  • says :
    This is seriously true and we should try and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is one of the reasons why climate change is occurring and it is not good for our future environment.
    Posted 04-12-2013 18:27

  • says :
    wow cool. it is helpful in geography
    Posted 10-11-2013 01:30

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 31-08-2013 04:39

  • says :
    Thank you for sharing this balanced report :)
    Posted 24-08-2013 17:42

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 20-07-2013 13:29

  • says :
    thanks for sharing this
    Posted 19-07-2013 03:10

Rohan Kapur

  • Rohan Kapur says :
    The essay is really good
    Posted 18-06-2013 00:55

  • says :
    Crisp presentation. I'll use it for reference.
    Posted 18-06-2013 00:00

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