n this post, we will discuss the role of ocean heat and storms, ozone at ground level and high in the sky, particulate matter, and their impact on climate change.
OCEAN HEAT AND STORMS The oceans act as giant water storage tanks for water of different temperatures. Carbon and other gases trapped in the atmosphere can stay there for decades and centuries, and these gases and water vapor trap the heat below them in the atmosphere. Due to their very high thermal mass, oceans absorb more than 90% of the excess energy produced by greenhouse gases in the last 50 years. This excess heat causes the sea level to rise.
Higher temperatures from ocean water surfaces mixed with the excess heat and gases in the atmosphere directly result in more powerful storm surges. In other words, more heat leads to more storms.
OZONE AT GROUND LEVEL AND HIGH IN THE SKY Ozone (O3) is a very strong oxidising agent and a significant greenhouse gas. Ozone is not actually released into the air directly by humans as a pollutant, but rather it occurs as a chemical reaction between various gases in the atmosphere. These gases are called “precursor emissions” and are made up mainly of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen oxides (NOX).
Regrettably, it is human actions that create the precursors that cause ground level ozone or “tropospheric ozone” to form. This results from the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and VOCs, which are produced from exhaust gases in transportation, the burning of fuel for energy in power plants, the production of consumables, and even vegetation. Trees and vegetation emit VOCs usually as part of the pollination process, but they also give off VOCs at times of stress.
Ozone is a photochemical that only forms during the day in certain conditions. A hot, sunny, dry day in a large city during a traffic jam would produce higher concentrations of ozone compared to the rural environment.
THE OZONE LAYER Ozone in the atmosphere is named “stratospheric ozone,” better known as the “ozone layer” and consists of 90% ozone. This ozone absorbs the harmful ultraviolet rays travelling from the sun and stabilises the Earth’s temperature, literally protecting life on Earth. Damage to the ozone layer is responsible for climate change and many of its attributed problems. Ozone depletes the Earth’s atmosphere over time.
The hole in the ozone layer was first discovered in 1985, and by 1987, 130 countries had signed the “Montreal Protocol.” They acknowledged and agreed that CFCs were the main source of ozone depletion in the stratosphere, causing the famous “hole.” The international response was to phase out the offending CFCs by banning their use and to introduce new HydroChloroFlouroCarbons (HCFCs).
HCFCs have less offensive effects and cause less damage than CFCs because they break down naturally and faster in the atmosphere than CFCs. CFCs and HCFCs are greenhouse gases and cause a lot more damage than CO2. Scientists have found four man-made ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) that were previously unknown. It is not yet known what causes these new substances or how they were created. These new ODSs are CFC – 112, CFC – 112a, CFC 113a, and HCFC – 133a. These substances did not exist before the 1960s. Monitoring between 1960 and 2012 has yielded staggering results.
Two of the ODSs have increased in volume by 48%, but they
RENEWABLE ENERGY One solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change is to shift away from traditional fossil fuels and move towards renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources include solar power, wind power, hydro power, geothermal energy, and biomass energy.
Solar power is derived from the energy of the sun and can be used to produce electricity through the use of solar panels. Wind power is generated by wind turbines, which are used to capture the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. Hydro power is produced by the flow of water, which is used to drive turbines and produce electricity. Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth’s core, which can be harnessed to produce electricity. Biomass energy is derived from organic matter such as wood, crop residues, and municipal solid waste, which is burned to produce heat or electricity.
The use of renewable energy sources has several advantages. First, renewable energy is abundant and can be replenished, unlike fossil fuels, which are finite resources. Second, renewable energy sources produce little or no greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the impact of climate change. Third, renewable energy sources can be locally produced, reducing dependence on foreign energy sources and increasing energy security.
However, there are also challenges to the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources. One challenge is the initial cost of setting up renewable energy infrastructure, which can be expensive. Another challenge is the variability of renewable energy sources, which are dependent on weather conditions and may not produce energy when it is needed. Additionally, the production of renewable energy sources requires a large amount of land and may have environmental impacts.
CONCLUSION Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, and it is essential that we take action to mitigate its effects. The science of climate change is clear, and we have the knowledge and technology to address the problem.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency measures, and changes in our daily habits can help to slow the pace of climate change. Additionally, adaptation measures such as improved infrastructure and disaster preparedness can help to minimize the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.
It is important for individuals, businesses, and governments to work together to address climate change and create a sustainable future for generations to come.