Climate Change, Its Effects Explored


Severe storms and floods. Coastal flooding. Longer, more severe droughts. Intense heat waves. Unpredictable weather conditions. These are some of the effects of climate change.
Many people do not know what climate change is. In fact, the expressions ‘greenhouseeffect’, ‘chlorofluorocarbons’ (CFCs), and ‘global warming’ are often bandied about without any real thought as to what they mean and how they impact on our lives. What is climate change and how widespread is it? How does it affect us in Jamaica?
“Climate change is really the changes which are taking place in the climate, which impact on our livelihood and our sustainability. As early as in the 1980s, scientific evidence actually linked greenhouse gas emission from human activities to global climate change and global warming in general,” says Jeffery Spooner, Climate Branch Head of the Meteorological Service.
Climate change refers to long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth’s climate. Energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’s surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
Without this natural ‘greenhouse effect,’ temperatures would be much lower than they are now, and life as known today would not be possible. Instead, thanks to greenhouse gases (GHGs), the earth’s average temperature is a more hospitable 60

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