Human Activity and Climate Change
Nowadays, the climate change is an extremely hot topic. The humanity is developing rapidly, surrounding themselves with various appliances, while almost all production processes are carried out by burning of fossil fuels. Moreover, the majority of transportation facilities use various kinds of fuel. Consequently, the oil and gas industry play one of the major roles in the world. The topic of the impact of human activities on the climate change is constantly discussed and different scientific organizations make the emphasis exactly on the burning of fossil fuels, as one of the most important reason in the increasing of global greenhouse gases. Thus, the human activity, which is connected with burning of fossil fuels has a tremendous negative impact on the climate and should be reduced or substituted by the use of green technologies.
The increase of global CO2 emissions is largely caused by the fuel combustion. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere began to increase during the industrial revolution. The growth of production resulted in a huge fuel consumption. During the long period, people did not care about the impact of their activities on nature. Thus, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from ~ 280 ppm to 380 ppm. If to calculate the rate of growth, by the end of the 21st century the concentration will be over 560 ppm. It is known that now the level of carbonic gas in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 750,000 years. The enormous concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can be a reason for numerous negative factors, including the climate change (Hamilton, 2008).
Carbon dioxide makes the most harmful effect on the atmosphere and it is the cause of temperature rise. If to compare with other gases, a distinctive feature of greenhouse properties of carbon dioxide is its long-term impact on the climate, which remains constant over a thousand years. Other greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, exist in the atmosphere for a shorter time. About three-quarters of the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide have been the result of mining and burning of oil, natural gas, and coal. Thus, such people’s actions cause the greenhouse effect – the increase in temperature of lower atmospheric layers of the planet, compared to the effective temperature, i.e. the thermal radiation of the planet, which can be observed from the space (Rustad, Huntington & Boone, 2010). If to take into account that the negative effect of above mentioned phenomenon is obvious and well-known, it is necessary to mention that burning of fossil fuels significantly affects the temperature of the Earth and leads to negative processes in the atmosphere.
The carbon dioxide is not only one chemical combination, which is released into the atmosphere on a massive scale. The harm to humans and the environment from the usage of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) is associated primarily with the release of the combustion products into the atmosphere, such as sulfur dioxide, ash, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals, hydrocarbons. All these gases upset the balance of chemicals in the atmosphere and also affect the climate changes. Besides the temperature rise, there are plenty of other negative consequences: acid rains, drought, unusual for certain territories weather conditions, etc. For example, the negative effect on the climate has the sulfur dioxide (SO2), the colorless gas with a pungent odor, which is formed during the combustion of sulfur-containing fuels (primarily coal and heavy oil) (Hamilton, 2008). Sulfur dioxide is particularly harmful for the trees, because it leads to chlorosis (yellowing or discoloration on the leaves) and dwarfism. Thus, consequences on the atmosphere caused by the lack of the trees are obvious and need no explanation.
The widespread use of fossil fuels significantly alters the reflectivity of clouds and contributes to global climate change. Large-scale soot emissions affect the ability of clouds to reflect a solar radiation, which leads to a decrease in the temperature. Aerosol particles, which are contained in the clouds, increase the proportion of reflected solar radiation and reduce its impact on an Earth’s surface. At the same time, clouds serve as condensation centers that facilitate the formation of water droplets, which also reduces the heating of the lower atmosphere. The result is a significant reduction in surface temperature (Rustad, Huntington & Boone, 2010).
The impact of the gases on a climate change is also proved by the comprehensive studies. The harmful effect of the gases can also be proved by the way of analysis of the chemical composition of the atmosphere in different areas. The team of scientists compared the data collected at weather stations in Oklahoma, where the aerosol concentration is high enough, and in Alaska, where there are almost no emissions, and concluded that the reflectivity of clouds is determined by the difference in the content of aerosols. This is in line with results of computer calculations concerning climate models with different optical characteristics of the atmosphere. These calculations show that there is a broad range of concentrations of aerosols at various locations. According to Professor Hamilton, this study has two important consequences. First, it appears that human activities contribute not only a warming, but also a cooling of the atmosphere. Secondly, as follows from computer calculations, the effect of human activity on the climate is more significant than previously thought (Hamilton, 2008).
In order to disperse the circulated rumors it is extremely necessary to mention that human activities have an extremely negative impact on the Earth’s atmosphere. During the burning process, a lot of chemicals allocate, and their types depend on the combustible material. The effect of these chemical elements differs, but all of them change the climate. Nevertheless, most needs of humanity are satisfied with the use of various types of fuel. Almost all types of transport facilities need petrol or diesel fuel for their work ; factories use the fossil fuel in its production. This fact proves that nowadays, the atmosphere is terribly polluted, and it affects climate. This is why we can observe the enormous weather conditions around the world.
Hamilton, K. (2008). The oil industry and climate change. Greenpeace International, 5 (4), 15-24. Retrieved from
Rustad, L. E., Huntington, T.G. & Boone, R.D. (2010). Controls on soil respiration: Implications for climate change. Biogeochemistry, 48(1), 1-6.