I’m sure you’ve heard of this somewhere.
Climate and Change are two popular words right now; especially when used together.
It has become the norm nowadays that when it is too cold, climate change; too hot,climate change. When the rainy season is early, climate change; when the rainy season is late, climate change. Ice caps are melting, climate change. Deserts are spreading, climate change. Floods have increased, climate change. Hunger, climate change. Poverty, climate change. I could go on and on…
So lets first look at the two words:
Climate according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), is the average weather of a specific place over a period of 30 years. So climate has a system which has five main components which involve measuring the atmosphere (air), the hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (water in solid form e.g. ice), land surface and the biosphere (flora and fauna- plants and animals).
Change– to become different; to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something)different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change describes it as, “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”
So climate change is a difference from the normal. But it can only be called a change if it stays in a different state from the original for 30 years or more. If it is for a few months or years then it is a variation. For example, what Kenya is experiencing is a climate variation. However, more often than not, a variation eventually leads to a change.
Variability may be due to natural internal processes within the climate system (internal variability from the interactions between air and water for example), or as a result of variations in natural (for example volcanic eruptions or changes in solar radiation) or anthropogenic /human caused (such as emission of greenhouse gases and deforestation) external factors. (WMO)
So next week , we’ll have Climate Change. II. Causes.