We’ve all heard the news. The earth’s climate is going through a major shift. Temperatures are on a rise, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting. Most of these observed changes are directly associated with the alarming rise in carbon dioxide levels and other greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.
In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons (15.1 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide equivalents. This total represents a 7 percent increase since 1990.
During the period from 1990 to 2014:
– Emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities such as burning of oil, coal and gas, increased by 9 percent.
– Methane emissions decreased by 6 percent, as reduced emissions from landfills, coal mines, and natural gas systems more than offset increases in emissions from activities such as livestock production.
– Nitrous oxide emissions, predominantly from agricultural soil management practices such as the use of nitrogen as a fertilizer, decreased by 1 percent.
– Fluorinated gas (hydrofluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) emissions from industrial, commercial and household uses, increased by 77 percent.
Several factors influence the quantities of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, including economic activity, population, consumption patterns, energy prices, land use, and technology.
Is Climate Change real, then?
Here are 5 sure shot signs signalling a change in weather in the US
1. Temperature: Unusually high temperatures have increased in the western United States and in several areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. The number of unusually cold days has generally decreased throughout the country, particularly in the western United States.
2. Precipitation: On average, total annual precipitation has increased over land areas in the United States. Precipitation globally has risen at an average rate of 0.08 inches per decade, while in the contiguous 48 states, precipitation has risen at a rate of 0.17 inches per decade, since 1901.
3. Tropical Cyclone Activity: Climate change affects tropical cyclones by increasing sea surface temperatures, a key factor that influences cyclone formation and behavior. According to the past annual values of the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index, cyclone intensity has surged noticeably over the past 20 years.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change project that tropical cyclones will become more intense as the 21st century progresses, with higher wind speeds and heavier rains.
4. River Flooding: The frequency of large floods has increased across the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Great Plains. Flood frequency has decreased in some other parts of the country, especially the Southwest and the Rockies. Rise and fall in frequency and magnitude of river flood events generally coincide with rise and fall in the frequency of heavy rainfall events.
5. Ocean Acidity: Measurements made over the last few decades have demonstrated that ocean carbon dioxide levels have risen in response to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to an increase in acidity.
The decreasing pH can lead to widespread changes in the global structure of ocean and coastal ecosystems, affecting marine population and the people who depend on them. Signs of damage are already starting to appear in certain areas.