Understanding Climate Change

Gases in our atmosphere, including water vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane, block heat radiation from escaping from the Earth to space, affecting the temperature of our planet. Recently, there have been unprecedented increases in the concentration of some of these atmospheric gases caused by the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing for agriculture, and other industrial activities.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by more than a third due to human activity.

Some of the effects of climate change have already begun to take hold, but many more are just beginning to be realized. As the temperatures on Earth continue to increase, sea levels will continue to rise as arctic and other ice continues to melt, different regions will see changes in precipitation patterns, and weather events like hurricanes and droughts will become more extreme. In New York State specifically, the average statewide temperature has increased by around 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970. The average annual precipitation has also been increasing since 1900, along with precipitation variability with the state getting more precipitation in winter months and less in summer months.

Climate Change “mitigation” refers to reducing the effects of climate change by reducing the release of these greenhouse gases by limiting waste and energy expenditure. You yourself have the power to make a difference and limit the impact of this harmful cycle!

NASA – Climate Change
Global Change