Kid's Corner - Climate Change
What is Climate ?
Climate describes the total of all weather occurring over a period of years in a given place. This includes average weather conditions, regular weather sequences (like winter, spring, summer, and fall), and special weather events (like tornadoes and floods). Climate tells us what it's usually like in the place where you live.

What is Climate change?
Climate is the long-term average of a region's weather events lumped together. Climate change represents a change in these long-term weather patterns. They can become warmer or colder. Annual amounts of rainfall or snowfall can increase or decrease.
What is Global Warming?
An increase in the Earth's temperature caused by human activities, such as burning coal, oil and natural gas. This releases carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases form a blanket around the Earth, trapping heat and raising temperatures on the ground. This is steadily changing our climate.
The Principle Greenhouse Gases
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is a product of combustion and respiration (breathing). It is a colourless gas, quite innocuous at ordinary levels. Higher level of Carbon dioxide is the most most significant of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Carbon dioxide concentrations have increased from about 280ppmv in the last 18th century to 385ppmv in 1994- an increase of almost 30%. The increase is primary due to combustion of fossil fuel in steam generators and industrial furnaces, in cement production, and in changes in tropical land use.
Methane (CH4)
Methane is another important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The increase of methane in the atmosphere is closely linked to the world's growing population and its growing demand for food, for example, in the increasing numbers of cattle and sheep and increasing hectares of rice paddies. An average cow is emitting 280 liters of methane each day. Methane is also emitted during the process of oil drilling, coal mining and also from leaking gas pipelines. Atmosphere methane has been increasing at the rate of about 1% each year. The atmospheric concentration of methane has increased from about 700ppbv in pre-industrial time to 1721ppbv in 1994.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
Nitrous oxide is another of the gases contributing to the greenhouse effect. Sources are fossil-fuel combustion, biomass burning, and the use of fertilizer.


When Do You Send Greenhouse Gases into the Air?
Whenever you...
Watch TV Play a Video Game
Use the Air Conditioner Turn on a Light
Use a Hair Dryer Ride in a Car
Listen to a Stereo Wash or Dry Clothes
Use a Dish Washer Microwave a Meal
To perform many of these functions, you need to use electricity. Electricity comes from power plants. Most power plants use coal and oil to make electricity. Burning coal and oil produces greenhouse gases.

Why should we care about Climate Change?
The following would be the probable scenario by the end of the 21st Century.
· Temperature will have increased by 1-3.5 ° C depending on population and economic growth.
· Sea level will be 15-90 cm higher, threatening about 92 million people with floods.
· Rainfall would have decreased and there would be a reduction of food crops.

Causes of Climate Change
The causes of climate change can be divided into two categories. They are as follows.
1. Natural causes

  • Continental drift- this drift also had an impact on the climate because it changed the physical features of the landmass, their position and the position of water bodies.
  • Volcanoes- when a volcano erupts it throws out large volumes of sulphur dioxide (SO2), water vapour, dust, and ash into the atmosphere.
  • Ocean currents - Much of the heat that escapes from the oceans is in the form of water vapour, the most abundant greenhouse gas on Earth.

2. Human causes

  • The large-scale use of fossil fuels for industrial activities.
  • People moved from rural areas to the cities.
  • Natural resources are being used extensively for construction, industries, transport, and consumption.
  • Our population has increased to an incredible extent.
  • Huge usage of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas to run vehicles, generate electricity for industries, households, etc.

Impacts of climate change
Climate change will affect agricultural yield directly because of alterations in temperature and rainfall, and indirectly through changes in soil quality, pests, and diseases.
A warmer climate will change rainfall and snowfall patterns, lead to increased droughts and floods. Rising warmth will lead to an increase in the level of evaporation of surface water; the air will also expand and this will increase its capacity to hold moisture. This, in turn, will affect water resources, forests, and other natural ecological systems, agriculture, power generation, infrastructure, tourism, and human health.
Sea level rise
The heating of oceans, and melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets, is predicted to raise the average sea level by about half a metre over the next century. Sea-level rise could have a number of physical impacts on coastal areas.
Forests and wildlife
Ecosystems sustain the earth's entire storehouse of species and genetic diversity. Plants and animals in the natural environment are very sensitive to changes in climate. Mountain parks have been identified as being especially at risk from the environmental destruction caused by climate change. Climate change will affect the flight pattern and shift the feeding points of migratory birds.



  • Changes in weather pattern, can lead to ecological disturbances, changes in food production levels, increase in the distribution of malaria, and other vector-borne diseases.
  • Fluctuation in the climate especially in the temperature, precipitation, and humidity can influence biological organisms and the processes linked to the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Higher temperature will cause the sea levels to rise that could lead to erosion and damage to important ecosystems such as wetlands and coral reefs. Direct impact of this rise would include deaths and injury caused by intense flooding.
  • Temperature rise would indirectly result in geohydrological changes along the coastline such as saltwater intrusion into the groundwater and the wetlands, coral reef destruction, and damage to the drainage in the low-lying areas.
  • Climate change could increase air pollution levels by accelerating the atmospheric chemical reactions that produce photochemical oxidants due to a rise in the temperature.

Solutions to cut down the Climate change

  • Learning about the environment is very important. There are many good books that will help you learn.
  • Talk with your family and friends about global warming. Let them know what you've learned
  • Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air.
  • Buy more efficient household appliances.
  • Replace all incandescent bulbs by compact fluorescent bulbs that last four times longer and use just one-fourth of the electricity.
  • Use sodium vapour lights for street lighting; these are more efficient.
  • Keep car engines well tuned and use more fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Form car pools and encourage parents and friends to do the same.
  • Cycle or walk to the neighbourhood market.
  • You can save energy by sometimes taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking
  • Recycle cans, bottles, plastic bags, and newspapers. When you recycle, you send less trash to the landfill and you help save natural resources, like trees, oil, and elements such as aluminum.
  • One of the ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the air is to buy products that don't use as much energy. By conserving energy- products like certain cars and stereos - are made specially to save energy.
  • Cars also cause pollution and release a lot of greenhouse gases into the air. Using gasoline cars can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.
  • Buying products (computers, TVs, stereos, and VCRs ) with ENERGY STAR® labels will help protect the environment.


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