The Underlying Principles of Climate Change

Although, climate change seems to be an issue which has only recently come up in the public eye, the underlying works of it have been present for many years. In order to start looking at the issue of climate change we will start with the history of the discoveries and issues that have sparked the climate change discussion.

The civic issue brought on by climate change claims that the temperature of the earth is steadily rising due to non-natural means. In order to understand our role in climate change we have to understand the principles that govern our influence with the environment.

Our understanding of our climate first originated when we first discovered some of our  greenhouyseproperties of our atmosphere. In the 1820’s Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a famous mathematician, began inquiring about the temperature of the earth. He found that the temperature of the earth was higher than he calculated the temperature should be from being the distance we are away from the sun. He concluded that there must be something that is warming our planet other than the heat from the sun. His conclusion was that the radiation from the sun was being trapped in our atmosphere and heating the earth more than if it had just been reflected away. This is now known as the greenhouse effect.

We continued to refine our idea of our atmosphere’s part in the status of our climate near the end of 1860’s with the work of Svante Arrhenius. He began to look at the relationship of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere with the temperature of the earth. It was found that more carbon dioxide doesn’t just magnify the greenhouse effect, but it also increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere due to the increase in temperature causing a further increase in climate temperature. From this data, he calculated that doubling the total amount of carbon dioxide in the air would in term raise the temperature of the earth by roughly five to six degrees celsius.

From these findings we can look at the beginning of our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. The steam engine was invented in 1712 and began the process of burning fossil fuels in order to power technology. By burning fossil fuels we began to release carbon dioxide into the environment by non-natural means. This began to raise the temperature of the earth due to the increased gas in the atmosphere fueling the greenhouse effect.

The use of fossil fuels only began to increase after the invention of the steam engine with the increasing innovation brought on by modern technology. Before long everything ran on fossil fuels, from boats, to trains, to planes, and many other engine based objects.

Tcarbon dioxidehe effects of the burning fossil fuels began increasing as more innovations developed in society. One of the most notable was the creation of the automobile. Not long after the automobile was introduced to the public, did almost every household in the United States and many other developed countries own at least one. This lead to an exponential increase in the amount of fossil fuels that were burnt in order to propel our technology which in turn raised the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The measurement of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been monitored ever since it was noticed that it plays a role in our climate. Alongside, the rising carbon dioxide levels each year, the temperature of the earth also seems to be rising as well. This relationship has formed the basis for the issue of climate change.

We can for the most part clearly see that we as humans have a distinct role in the condition of our climate. By burning fossil fuels and contributing to the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere we are actively taking a role in warming the planet, and in term hurting it. If we continue to not inform the public of our monumental effect on our atmosphere we may continue to aid to this issue of climate change. However, informing the public does no good if we consist of a society in which people would rather continue with their daily lives which are more beneficial to themselves in opposed to stopping the changing condition of our planet. What may be even worse, is if the general public is already aware of their impact on the environment, yet continues to hurt it without care.

3 thoughts on “The Underlying Principles of Climate Change

  1. Brandon Corey Sullivan

    Good post! It’s too often we forget that climate change has been talked about since the 1800’s, though the names and forms of discussion have definitely changed over the years. It’s interesting to see the exact history of climate change and how it’s operated and been studied through time. Even back in the 1800’s, studies of temperature led scientists to the conclusion of some form of climate change. I feel as though one of the biggest things is that many people say this change is normal, and while it somewhat is people must realize the Earth has never changed this quickly. We know we’re responsible for it, too. We have to do something now before it’s too and with summits like the G2 and some countries passing carbon tax bills, there might be some hope for us all.

  2. ces5729

    Hey Tyler!
    I really enjoyed reading this post. I didn’t realize that even back in 1820, climate change was beginning to become a discussion. Obviously the advancement technology is increasing the worlds temperature. When I think of technology that is helping to advance climate change, I think specifically of cars, which is also what I did my blog on this week. Basically, its no secret that technology and innovation, though often times good for humankind as a whole, can be extremely detrimental to the environment.
    Along with that, increased dependence on fossil fuels are also something of concern in the environmental community. Thats no shock to anyone though. We are losing valued resources because of our dependence on fossil fuels, which needs to be changed. I think humans are the greatest contributors to global climate change, no question. We are the ones admitting harmful toxins into the air and polluting the earth that we live on. The earth would be fine without humans really, all humans do is pollute it.
    Very interesting post this week, I look forward to reading what you write next week!

  3. sjt5234

    Wow, interesting post! Ever since the industrial revolution where we greatly increased our carbon dioxide emissions, global warming has been slowly raising the average temperature of the Earth. I’ve always found the greenhouse effect to be particularly interesting, as it’s a fairly simple explanation for a phenomenon that effects everyone on Earth.

    Although the debate rages on about how much humans contribute to global warming, I believe the best course of action is to do everything in our power to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of how much we contribute to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, fossil fuels will eventually be used up or become expensive beyond what the average consumer can pay, and the focus will shift to alternative forms of energy. By denying the problem, we’re delaying the inevitable.

    Some countries have already begun to make the switch. I think the best course of action is to either introduce a “carbon tax”, charging companies that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide in an effort to make them cut back, or to give big tax breaks to large companies that incorporate alternative forms of energy into their business model.

    Looking forward to next week!

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