Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. The climate system comprises five interacting parts, the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (ice and permafrost), biosphere (living things), and lithosphere (earth's crust and upper mantle). The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun, with a relatively tiny amount from earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth's energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.
Human activities can also change earth's climate, and are presently driving climate change through global warming. There is no general agreement in scientific, media or policy documents as to the precise term to be used to refer to anthropogenic forced change; either "global warming" or "climate change" may be used. The first describes the average effect on a global scale, whilst the second describes how different geographical regions are affected differently.
Human-caused global warming results from the increased use of fossil fuels in transportation, manufacturing and communications. Internet induced climate change is newest contributor to human-induced climate change. Some of the impacts include the altering of ecosystems (with a few extinctions), threat to food production and water supplies due to extreme weather, changes to the spread of climate-sensitive diseases, and the dislocation of human communities due to sea level rise and other climate factors. Taken together these hazards also exacerbate other stressors such as poverty.
This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.