What Causes Climate Change?

What Causes Climate Change?

It’s been said that “Climate change is real and man-made.” But what actually causes climate change? Does the Earth really heat up? Is it man-made?

Climate change isn't always caused by humans. It's not always caused by carbon emissions. It's not always caused by anything.

The thing is, there is no singular cause for climate change. It's a complex issue and the only way to truly understand it is to look at all the possible factors.

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Humans are just now experiencing some of the changes because of our impact on the environment. As the climate continues to change, it has an effect on our economy and the way we live.

This post will attempt to break down some of the main causes of climate change, but keep in mind that there are many more.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an invisible gas that is emitted when energy is released from burning fuels. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is currently rising, and scientists predict that it will continue to do so. This means that CO2 is a major contributor to climate change.

One of the most common methods of producing carbon dioxide is by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. Burning these fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air, which then ends up in the atmosphere. If you look at a weather map, you will see that the world is heating up. This is due to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, there is also another source of carbon dioxide that is produced naturally. Plants release carbon dioxide when they photosynthesize, the process by which they create their own food. In nature, the amount of carbon dioxide released by plants is much smaller than the amount of carbon dioxide produced by humans, but it still plays an important role in the ecosystem.

The amount of carbon dioxide produced by human activities is growing quickly. It is predicted that in the coming years, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase by 2.9 percent. This is due to the continued burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. If this prediction is correct, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could reach a level that is higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To start, let’s look at what greenhouse gases are. The basic definition is that they allow light to pass through a window and into a room but prevent it from escaping.

The more greenhouse gases there are, the more light is trapped. When there’s too much light, plants are unable to grow, and the temperature increases. In a greenhouse, this is called greenhouse effect.

It turns out that greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributing factor to global warming. We are emitting large amounts of methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.

These gases are responsible for a large portion of the greenhouse effect, so reducing their emission is critical to lowering the average temperature of the Earth.

However, we can’t just reduce emissions on their own. Other factors also play a role, and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that global warming is happening at a rate of 0.4°C per decade.

If you’d like to learn more about climate change, the IPCC is an excellent resource. 

Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion is when the ozone layer absorbs more UV rays than normal. This leads to less oxygen in the stratosphere and higher levels of ultraviolet radiation.

This is bad news because UV radiation is linked to skin cancer and cataracts. There are also links to skin cancer, premature aging, and death in humans and other animals.

In the 1970s, countries agreed to reduce pollution in an attempt to prevent further damage. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was created to regulate the issue.

In 1985, the Montreal Protocol was adopted, an international treaty that required the United States and other countries to phase out chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Chlorofluorocarbons are used in refrigerators and air conditioners, among other things.

The Earth’s ozone layer has started to recover, but there are still concerns about its recovery.

Ice Ages

It is generally agreed that ice ages and interglacials are periods of increased and decreased temperature, respectively. The Earth’s average temperature is lower in glacial periods, but the cold periods are relatively short.

During the last glacial period, the Earth’s average temperature was about 2-3 degrees Celsius colder than it is today. It is currently estimated that the Earth’s average temperature will increase by 3.7 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.

The cause of these ice ages is the movement of vast amounts of ice from the poles to the equator.

Changes in Climate

When you talk about the climate, you can generally talk about two things.

First, there is the weather. Weather is the day-to-day conditions that we experience in the world around us. These are the extremes that we can see, such as temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity, etc.

Second, there is the climate. Climate is the long-term average conditions of a certain region. If you live in California, then you are used to living in a place with a certain average temperature.

Because climate is an average, it is more difficult to measure. You can go out and measure the weather, but climate is not something you can easily observe and record.

There are several theories about why temperature changes occur. The most widely accepted theory is that Earth's orbit changes, causing a change in the amount of solar radiation received by the planet.

Ice Sheets

As we saw in the last blog, ice sheets are an important part of the climate. They store and release water from the oceans to the atmosphere, and they are important for regulating the climate.

Most of the time, ice sheets are stable. However, over time, they can break off into smaller pieces and be carried away. These pieces can then melt and turn into liquid water. The result is a warmer world.

While it may seem counterintuitive, global warming is actually caused by cooling. If the oceans were warmed, they would release more heat into the air, causing more ice sheets to melt. However, if the oceans are colder, they hold more ice.


We are part of the biosphere, and it is our duty to look after it.

In recent years, ocean acidification has increased. This has happened due to our use of fossil fuels. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide, the water becomes acidic.

This causes coral reefs to dissolve and shellfish to die. This also has an effect on fisheries and tourism.

There are also several theories about why oceans grow or shrink. One widely accepted theory is that the amount of water stored in the oceans affects the Earth's temperature.


The climate has been changing over the last several thousand years. The most recent change has been a warming trend since the Industrial Revolution. This warming trend has led to many climate changes and effects, such as rising sea levels.

Sea levels have been rising by about a millimeter every year. Since 1880, they’ve risen by about 3.2 mm every year. The rate has slowed, but it still averages 0.12 mm per year.

However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Meteorological Society shows that the rate is increasing by 0.08 mm per year. If this trend continues, the sea level may rise as high as 0.8 m by 2100.

Why does the weather change?

We can look at the cause of climate change from two perspectives. The first is the scientific perspective, where we can look at the physical science behind climate change. The second is the political perspective, where we can look at the political actions of governments around the world that have contributed to climate change.

The physical science behind climate change is simple. We know that the Earth is round, and it orbits the sun. This orbit is known as the planetary orbits.

When the Earth is closer to the sun, it is warmer. When the Earth is further away from the sun, it is cooler. This is called the astronomical orbits.

As the Earth’s distance from the sun increases, so does the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the Earth. As the Earth’s distance from the sun decreases, so does the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the Earth.

The Earth’s distance from the sun has changed throughout history. The current distance is greater than it’s historical average, which is why we are currently experiencing climate change.

We know that the sun is responsible for climate change, but how does the sun affect the Earth?

Solar radiation is energy that comes from the sun. It can either be visible light, which is a portion of the solar spectrum, or invisible, which is called infrared.

When the Sun is higher in the sky, it is more directly overhead, and therefore, its energy is more directly hitting the Earth. As the Sun moves away from being directly overhead, less solar energy is hitting the Earth.

The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of gases and air. The gases are mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The atmosphere is mostly transparent to visible light, but it is not transparent to infrared.

As the Sun gets farther away, less of its light is reaching the Earth. The Earth has to rely on the atmosphere to carry the Sun’s energy to the surface of the Earth. If the atmosphere was not there, then the energy would have nowhere to go. The atmosphere is able to carry the Sun’s energy to the Earth, but it is also the atmosphere that is heating up.

The other gases in the atmosphere are also absorbing the Sun’s energy. The greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are absorbing a large portion of the Sun’s energy.

If the Earth’s distance from the Sun increased, the energy absorbed by the greenhouse gases would increase. The Earth’s temperature would rise.

This is why the average global temperature has increased since 1880. The Earth’s distance from the Sun is greater than it was in 1880, and the Earth is warmer today.

The Sun

The sun is one of the most important factors that affect climate change. The sun produces heat and light energy that powers our planet.

The sun’s energy is released into the atmosphere, which is then reflected back to space. The solar radiation is then absorbed by the land and oceans, and converted into heat energy.

The energy is then transferred to the Earth’s atmosphere, and it is then distributed around the globe.


One of the most important causes of climate change is volcanic eruptions. There are several factors that influence volcanoes to erupt. Volcanic eruptions can affect air pressure, causing weather patterns that could cause drought, flooding, and even earthquakes.

Volcanic eruptions can also release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, a volcano eruption is the main reason why the Earth’s temperature has been increasing over the past few decades.

Volcanoes can also create ash, dust, and gases that affect the climate. One of the most damaging of these volcanic gases is sulfur dioxide. It can be toxic to humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria.

Volcanic eruptions are very rare, but when they occur they can have devastating consequences. One of the most famous examples is Mount St. Helens in Washington State. In 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, sending a massive cloud of ash and dust into the air. This cloud affected the Earth’s weather patterns for months. The ash from Mount St. Helens blocked out the sun for the entire month of June. This resulted in the Earth being covered in snow, which resulted in record-breaking temperatures.

The Solar Cycle

The Sun is the center of the solar system, and its cycles play a major role in determining climate.

A Solar Cycle is the pattern of activity and periods between sunspots, and it can vary from cycle to cycle. When the number of sunspots is increasing, the Sun is said to be in an active phase.

As the number of sunspots decreases, the Sun is in an inactive phase.

The Milankovitch Cycles

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Humans are just now experiencing some of the changes because of our impact on the environment. As the climate continues to change, it has an effect on our economy and the way we live.

The Milankovitch Cycles are cycles that affect the Earth’s climate. The cycles are named after Milutin Milankovitch, a Serbian geophysicist who studied the connection between astronomical changes and climate change.

The cycles are divided into three categories:

**Annual** – The annual cycle is the most important. The seasons are a reflection of the annual cycle. The annual cycle is also responsible for El Niño.

**Oligo** – The oligo cycle is the least important, but it still has a measurable effect.

**Quad** – The quadratic cycle is a complex mathematical relationship between the annual and oligo cycles.

The annual cycle is a reflection of the sun’s orbit. The sun’s orbit is a reflection of the Milankovitch cycles.

The annual cycle is important because it influences temperature and precipitation. The annual cycle is influenced by the tilt and ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit. The Earth’s orbit changes from elliptical to circular to elliptical again. The Earth’s tilt is also a factor.

The annual cycle is responsible for the spring and autumn seasons.


Deforestation is when trees are removed from the land. The trees provide a home for animals, and they also help regulate the temperature of the air. When we cut down trees, we are removing the home for animals and removing the protection from the heat.

As the Earth heats up, the trees cannot handle the heat as well. We are losing the habitat that helps regulate the air. This causes the air to become more hot, which makes us feel hotter.

Use of Fossil Fuels

As of 2016, the world consumed about 1.5 billion barrels of oil per day, which is a little under half of what it consumed in 2007. There are two primary sources of oil: petroleum and natural gas. Petroleum is mainly produced from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

A common misconception is that petroleum is made out of coal. While coal is a common fuel for electricity generation, it has very little effect on the global climate. In fact, coal is often a significant contributor to climate change.

Natural gas is produced from shale rock and methane gas found underground. Natural gas is cleaner than petroleum, but it can cause the greenhouse gas methane to enter the atmosphere, which can have a significant impact on climate change.

Non-renewable Energy Sources

Humans have relied on fossil fuels to power their cars, homes, and businesses for decades. The problem is that these sources of energy are non-renewable. That means once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

While the use of non-renewable energy sources has provided a great deal of economic growth, it has also caused the Earth to heat up. To combat this issue, many countries have implemented policies to limit the use of fossil fuels. 


The main causes of climate change are fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), deforestation, and the use of non-renewable energy sources.

Deforestation is the removal of trees, and therefore removing a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity or heat, and produce harmful emissions.

Non-renewable energy sources are not sustainable, because once we have used them up, they won’t be able to provide us with energy in the future.