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  • Emily Mandl

Climate Change - An Overview

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It refers to the long-term alteration of global weather patterns and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and heatwaves. The primary cause of climate change is the increase in greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun, which causes the planet to warm up. Climate change is already having severe consequences for the planet and its inhabitants, and it is only predicted to get worse unless we take immediate action.

The evidence of climate change is overwhelming. The global average temperature has already risen by about 1.1°C (2°F) since the pre-industrial era, and it is projected to increase by another 1.5°C (2.7°F) to 5°C (9°F) by the end of the century, depending on how much more greenhouse gases we emit. This may seem like an insignificant increase, but it is enough to cause significant changes in the climate. For example, it can lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves, more intense hurricanes, more frequent and severe droughts, and more frequent wildfires.

One of the most concerning aspects of climate change is its impact on the world's oceans. The oceans have absorbed about 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, which has led to ocean acidification. This makes it more difficult for marine organisms to build their shells and skeletons, which can have a ripple effect throughout the food chain. Additionally, warmer ocean temperatures have caused the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, which contribute to a rise in the sea-level. This not only threatens low-lying areas and coastal communities but also increases the danger posed by storms and flooding.

Another major consequence of climate change is the impact it has on human health. Rising temperatures and increased air pollution can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and heat-related illnesses. Additionally, climate change can exacerbate food and water insecurity, which can lead to malnutrition and disease. As climate change continues, the number of people affected by these health risks is only going to grow.

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