Over the years we have witnessed a significant change in global temperatures and rainfall patterns which all came with serious effects into our traditional economic lifestyle. Climate Change is interlinked to the Global Warming battle which the world is fighting today.
By Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi
We should all remember that the fundamental structures of each and every economy are built on climatology since climate is the lifeblood of very critical sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism and Commerce. Good climatic conditions have seen huge agricultural productivity in the previous years in Zimbabwe but the story can be retold in present day climate changes.
So what is climate change? Climate is simply defined as the pattern of weather in a particular place like how much sunlight and rainfall it gets, how windy it is, and so on. The world’s weather is entirely powered by the Sun. Since Earth rotates on a tilted axis, different parts of our planet are heated by different amounts at different times of year, making some regions hotter than others and causing the seasons.
The temperature variations between one part of the world and another cause differences in air pressure, producing winds, storms, and even hurricanes. The Sun’s heat also warms the seas unevenly, driving ocean currents which, in some ways, are like underwater winds from one place to another. Links between the atmosphere and the oceans can produce complex weather patterns such as El-Niño Effect, a kind of abnormal and erratic weather that happens every few years in the Pacific regions and now extending into Sub-Saharan Africa .
Scientists believe that greater amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and hotter temperatures on Earth, will significantly change the climate across the whole planet. This climate change is already beginning to happen in parts of the world. If you live in a chilly place like Alaska or Greenland, you might think a bit of global warming sounds like a great idea but if you have been in Harare or Johannesburg in the past months, you will definitely tell a different story.
However, climate change doesn’t necessarily mean things will get hotter. Some places will be hotter some of the time, but most places will simply see more erratic and extreme weather. That could mean heavier rainfall on occasions, more snow in some places, longer periods of drought, more storms and hurricanes, and more frequent heat-waves.
Climate change is nothing new. Earth’s climate has been changing regularly for hundreds of millions of years, sometimes getting colder and sometimes warmer. Everyone knows about Ice Ages, those periods of history when Earth was far colder than it is now. The climate change people talk about today seems to be different.
Most scientists believe it is caused by systematic global warming, itself caused by a gradual increase in fossil fuels. Whereas traditional climate change makes Earth as a whole either hotter or cooler, modern climate change is going to make the climate much more erratic hotter in some places, cooler in others; drier in some places; wetter elsewhere. In a nutshell, climate change means the type of weather we experience will change perhaps quite dramatically in some places as the years go by.
In the next Episode we will dissect the effects and other impacts of Climate Change to our economies and what we stand to lose if we do not monitor this subject very closely.
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