Energy and Climate Change

Introduction to the Human Race's Greatest Challenge

Human Induced Climate Change is a global problem with local consequences. Changes in atmospheric conditions have been changing over recent history, and the most likely cause is the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during human activities.

Data from the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO show:

  • Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9ºC since 1910, with more extreme heat days and less cool extremes;

  • increases in rainfall over the northwest of the country with reductions over the southwest, and below average rainfalls in the southeast since 1990; and,

  • lengthier fire seasons.

At a global scale research has found:

  • mean temperature increased by 0.85ºC from 1880 to 2012;

  • an increase in sea-level of 225mm from 1880 to 2012 (click here to see the areas of Adelaide that will flood at high tide); and,

  • average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 395 parts per million in 2013, whilst other greenhouse gases reached their highest levels in the past 800,000 years.

To find out more information of how climate change is predicted to impact on Australia visit the CSIRO’s State of the Climate – 2014 Report website.

The Nature Conservancy website contains comprehensive information on the threats and impacts of Climate Change that are already occurring across the planet and that are projected to occur into the future.

 


 

The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Human Induced Climate Change is being caused by a phenomenon known as the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. Without the normal Greenhouse Effect the planet would be a great deal colder and life probably wouldn’t have evolved in the way that we know it today. However, by burning carbon rich fuels that are safely stored underground for energy, and by exposing carbon to the atmosphere by forest clearing, the human race has increased the Greenhouse Effect so much that it may potentially alter the global climate at a dangerous rate.

 

See below for the federal Environment Department's explanation of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect - click the image for a larger graphic and more information:

link to the australain government's climate change website

 

The CSIRO has developed an informative video which further explains the science behind the warming of the Earth:

 

Additionally, the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority have a series of animations that give a really clear explanations on the enhanced greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, the ozone layer and carbon footprints (great for kids and adults!).

 


 

Reducing Energy Consumption

Tackling Human Induced Climate Change is a monumental task, and it can only be addressed if everyone plays their part in reducing their carbon footprint, and the best way to do that is to reduce the amount of energy we consume. The great thing about reducing energy consumption is that most the time it can cost us a lot less money on our utility bills.

Click here to find out how you can reduce your energy consumption, save yourself money, and play your part in protecting the climate for the future.

 


 

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

To assess the amount of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by your household, several carbon footprint calculators have been developed. The great thing about calculating your carbon footprint is that it’s easy and fast! It also allows you to create a baseline so that you can determine how much of a difference changes in your behaviour can reduce your footprint.

Calculate your carbon footprint

 


 

The Causes of Climate Change

Climate Change has occurred throughout the Earth’s history, and can be impacted by a wide range of factors, such as volcanoes, meteorites, solar irradiance and cycles in the Earth’s rotation.

So what is meant by the Earth’s rotation? This refers to the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, and the angle that the Earth is facing the sun dependent on eccentricity, which refers to how circular or elliptic the Earth’s rotates around the sun, procession, which is the tilt the Earth sits from perfect upright, and obliquity, which is tilt of which the equator is to the plane of the sun. See the link and video below for further information.

Milankovitch Cycles

 

A fantastic five part series detailing some of the major climatic events theorised to have occurred through Earth’s history is featured in the below:

 

 

 

 

 


 

Interesting Video Clips

The videos below provide a series of easy to understand information on a range of Human Induced Climate Change topics:

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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