CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE AND EMPIRICS

  1. Are humans responsible for climate change?” What is the evidence for this?

Yes, humans are responsible for climate change being witnessed around the globe. This is evident from the constant increase in the emission of greenhouse gases caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and cement manufacture. This creates imbalance in that carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere faster it is removed. The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere forms a blanket in the skies, which results in global warming.

  1. Summarize the observed changes attributable to climate change, globally and for

Australia.

There are a number of changes related to climate change, both globally and for Australia. Changes in temperature is one the observed changes; average global temperature showed a warming of 0.85 [0.65-1.06] °C over the period 1880 to 2012. Another observed change is the distribution of precipitation and an increase in number of extreme weather and climate events since 1950. Other changes include ocean warming dominating the increase in stored energy, Antarctic ice sheets losing mass, and rise in sea level between 1901 and 2010. In Australia, some of the observed changes include warming of climate in 1910 by 0.9oC, increase in the amount of rainfall across the country, increase in extreme fire, and increase in days and nights of extreme heat.

  1. How do scientists expect climate to evolve in the future?

Scientists’ expectations of evolution of climate are based on scenarios of anthropogenic forcings, also known as the radiative forcing due to human activities. Based on these scenarios, scientists expect various future climate changes such as storm surges, coastal flooding and sea level, inland flooding, and extreme heat. These changes in climate are expected to be accompanied by risks such as mortality and morbidity, disruptions of livelihoods is coastal regions due to flooding, and severe ill health for urban residents due to inland flooding.

  1. What are the potential future impacts and consequences of climate change, globally and for Australia?

Some of the potential impacts and consequences of climate change in Australia include decline in agricultural production because the irrigated agricultural in the Murray-Darling Basin will lose half of its output owing to the decline in precipitation and increased frequency of drought. Another impact is effective destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo Reef (Coral bleaching) thus leading to increase in acidity and warming ocean temperature and loss of marine biodiversity. Global impacts and consequences include rise in food insecurity, increase in geopolitical instability, rise of sea level, increase in infectious diseases, and decline in terms of trade as China, India, Indonesia, and other countries