Scientific Method vs. Climate Change
The scientific method is a process of experimentation that is used to carry out studies in order to investigate and explain a given a phenomenon. With the method, scholars have gained an opportunity for easier interpretation of ideas and concepts in a scientific manner and their validity. Many contemporary issues can be explained using this approach. The most significant purpose of the scientific method is to facilitate the research and explanation of a phenomenon, climate change. In most cases, the scientific method is applied to studying the issues with the sole purpose of finding a solution to minimize their adverse effects on the world and mankind. Climate change is one of such problems. According to Sanders (2009), latest reports about climate change reveal its severe effects, including warming of the oceans that causes strong storms which can lead to massive damage of property and loss of lives. In this regard, the issue of climate change and its impact on the environment and mankind can best be understood through the use of scientific method.
Foremost, this experimentation tool allows defining the problem and its elements as a basis for further in-depth exploration. To illustrate, Pojman, Pojman, and McShane (2016) point out the view that defining this problem entails assessing its cause and its impact. This circumstance implies two main goals in mind. The first goal is to discover the negative effects of the phenomenon on the environment, while the second goal is to identify some opportunities to mitigate this impact. At the same time, Peer, Hakemulder, and Zyngier (2012) caution that before embarking on this process, it is vital to understand all the critical steps of the scientific method. In some way, this circumstance can be directly linked to the second step of the scientific method that encompasses conducting a background research of the problem. The collected data will be essential in providing the direction on its solution.
In addition, constructing a hypothesis allows better comprehension of climate change in light of cause-effect. Ghalhari, Dastjerdi, and Nokhandan(2012) define a hypothesis as a statement formed when conducting a study. The statement is developed with the aim of bringing clarity and focus of the study. Therefore, for the issue of climate change, a suitable hypothesis can be stated as: ‘An increased level of greenhouse gases in the air causes global warming.’ Following the formulation of the hypothesis, the next step to be taken is to test the claim. This stage will also involve identifying the null and alternate hypotheses. For the proposed study, the null hypothesis, H0, is, ‘Greenhouse gases do not cause global warming.’ The alternate hypothesis, H1, is, ‘Greenhouse gases cause global warming.’ The next step in testing the hypothesis is to set the significance level. For this study, a suitable significance level will be 0.05, which gives a critical t-value of 1.94. Given an N of 7, expected mean µ of 2, observed mean x of 4, standard deviation of S of 0.9, and degree of freedom of 95, the information should be applied to calculate t. The formula to be applied in this process is
Inserting the given information in the formula, t is calculated as 2.45.
The next step in the scientific method that helps in the understanding of climate change is the analysis of the results of the test of the hypothesis and using this analysis to draw conclusions. Given that the calculated t-value is higher than the critical t-value of 1.94, the null hypothesis is rejected, while the alternate hypothesis is accepted. Therefore, this means that greenhouse gases cause global warming. More so, the fact that the t-value that was calculated was positive implies that the influence of the greenhouse gases in causing global warming is high. In this way, one is able to identify the independent variable. In this case, the independent variable is ‘greenhouse gases.’
The final step in the scientific method encompasses communicating the results of the study that also plays an instrumental role in understanding the climate change. This phase usually involves the process of peer reviewing. In this sense, the study on the impact of climate change on the environment will be presented to other scientists who have conducted similar research. Rapp (2014) explains that in cases where the results of the study are sound, valid, and the study meets the scientific standards, the research may be published in a journal as a peer-reviewed article.
In conclusion, the scientific method can be applied in the study of various forms of phenomenon and is not limited to the field of science alone. The chronological steps of the method could be used to carry out a research study in order to verify a hypothesis. For a topic such as climate change, this factor is highly significant since its impact endangers the future generations. The use of scientific method to shed light on the phenomenon may be a valuable tool in preventing and overcoming some of its consequences. The scientific method makes it easier for individuals to understand the process of climate change and ways that could be used in addressing the problem.
Ghalhari, G. F., Dastjerdi, J. K., & Nokhandan, M. H. (2012). Using Mann Kendal and t-test methods in identifying trends of climatic elements: A case study of northern parts of Iran. Management Science Letters, 2(3), 911-920.
Van Peer, W., Hakemulder, F., & Zyngier. (2012). ScientIfic methods for the humanities. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.
Pojman, L. P., Pojman, P., & McShane, K. (2016). Environmental ethics: Readings in theory and application. London, UK: Cengage Learning.
Rapp, D. (2014). Assessing climate change: Temperatures, solar radiation and heat balance. London, UK: Springer.
Sanders, B. (2009). The green zone: The environmental costs of militarism (6th ed.). Oakland, CA: AK Press.