What is Climate Change?

Climate change is a shifting in the planet's weather patterns or average temperatures over a long period. In its 4.5 billion years the Earth has been through many ice ages and tropical climes but this time it may be different.

11,000 or so years ago the last ice age ended. Since then Earth has seen a relatively stable climate of around 14 oC. Cue the industrial revolution, and within 100 or so years we can see a drastic rise in that average temperature, far greater than previously recorded rates.

Below are some of the changes that have occurred and are still progressing that indicate climate change is happening right now!

It’s hotter!

Research shows that the average temperature of the planet's surface has risen 0.89°C between 1901 and 2012. When this data is compared with patterns throughout Earth's history, the increase in temperature since the Industrial Revolution is unprecedented.

It’s wetter (for us at least)!

Changes in rainfall have been recorded globally. Unfortunately not all regions have long-term recordings but since the turn of the 20th century, rainfall has increased in the northern hemisphere. Changes are also being seen between seasons in different areas. The UK, for instance, is seeing less rainfall on average each summer, while during winter it’s increasing. North America is also seeing a increase in the intensity of rainfall events.

The Sea is Growing

In just over 100 years sea levels have risen by about 10cm around the UK and 19 cm globally. This rate of increase is continuing to speed up too!

Animals Behaving Strangely

Butterflies are starting to appear earlier in the year and birds are shifting their migration patterns. This is being attributed to changes in seasons. In the UK spring is starting earlier and autumn later, causing animals to behave differently.

Glaciers are Receding

Much like the receding hairline problem suffered by most men, glaciers are melting. Scarily, the rate at which they shrink is also increasing.

Ice Cubes are Melting

Since the 1970’s sea-ice in the Arctic has been steadily reducing. Every 10 years around 4%, or 0.6million square kilometres is lost. Sea-ice in the Antarctic is increasing however, but at a slower rate of about 1.5% per decade. The majority of the world's fresh water is stored between the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets, both are shrinking at an alarming rate.

We still have time to stop these things getting worse, so let’s keep pushing to protect our amazing world from climate change.

What do you love and want to protect from climate change? Tell the government by taking part in our photo petition!