The Earth

Climate change. Causes and consequences

Climate change. Causes and consequences

Climate change is the change in climate over a long period. 

Climate is a chaotic nonlinear dynamic system that can be predicted on average. The climate includes indicators such as average temperature, rain, sunny days, and other variables that can be measured anywhere in particular.

The change is most clearly manifested in:

  1. Drop or rise in average temperature.
  2. Changes in the prevailing wind direction.
  3. In the water cycle and therefore in the clouds and the amount of rain on earth.

We are currently experiencing climate change. It is usual that when we talk about climate change we refer to the current one.

The following video shows the statement of the world meteorological organization on the state of the world climate in 2019.


What are the effects of climate change?

Some of the most serious consequences of climate change are the following.

The direct consequences of man-made climate change include:

  • Increase in maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • Sea level rise.
  • Higher ocean temperatures.
  • Increased heavy precipitation (heavy rain and hail).
  • Melting of glaciers.

The indirect consequences of climate change, which affect humans and our environment, include:

  • An increase in hunger and water crises, especially in developing countries.
  • Health risks due to increased air temperature and heat waves.
  • Economic and social effects to deal with secondary damages of climate change.
  • Increasing spread of pests and pathogens.
  • Loss of biodiversity due to the lack of adaptation of flora and fauna.
  • Ocean acidification due to increased HCO 3 concentrations in water as a consequence of increased CO 2 concentrations .
  • Need for adaptation in all areas (eg agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, tourism, etc.)

What factors cause climate change?

The main factors that cause climate change can be divided into:

  • Factors caused by human presence, such as the exploitation of fossil fuels emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • Natural factors. Some examples are the movement of tectonic plates or the particles emitted by erupting volcanoes.

In 2014, the united nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its Fifth Assessment Report . In this report, the conclusion was categorical: "Climate change is real and human activities are its main causes."

The European Union, for example, is committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 40% in 2030.

What influence do humans have on climate change?

In some cases, the causal relationship between human actions and climate change is direct.

The main causes are:

  • The increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to the combustion of fossil fuels.
  • Aerosols in the atmosphere that affect its cooling.
  • The cement industry.
  • Land use.
  • Ozone depletion.
  • Animal husbandry.
  • Deforestation.

What natural factors influence climate change?

The main cause of current climate change is human action. However, throughout history there have been other climatic changes. Therefore, there are natural factors that also affect the climate:

  • Tectonic plate movement.
  • Solar radiation.
  • Milankovitch cycles.
  • Volcanoes

Tectonic Plate Movement

Over long periods of time, the movements of tectonic plates move continents, form oceans, create and destroy mountain ranges.

That is, they modify the Earth's surface and, therefore, the way in which the climate behaves.

Solar radiation

The sun is the main source of heat in the climate system. Solar energy, converted into heat on Earth's surface, is an integral component that makes up Earth's climate. Different solar cycles affect the Earth's climate.

Milankovitch cycles

During its history, planet Earth regularly changes the eccentricity of its orbit, as well as the direction and angle of its axis. These changes lead to the redistribution of solar radiation on its surface.

These changes are commonly called "Milankovitch cycles", they are predictable with great precision.

Effects of volcanoes

A single volcanic eruption can affect the climate. A volcanic eruption can cause a cooling period of several years.

Giant eruptions occur only several times in a hundred million years. However, they affect the climate for millions of years and cause the extinction of the species.

What can you do to stop climate change?

In the fight against climate change you can follow these simple ideas:

  1. Ask your government to continue climate action.
  2. Take action in your community. Find entities and associations close to you and participate.
  3. Activate your physical state. Avoid motor vehicles, and if you can't help it, use public transportation.
  4. It uses renewable energy. Solar, wind, etc.
  5. The train better than the plane.
  6. Save energy at home.

International organizations and treaties

At the political level there are many political organizations. These organizations try to involve governments through treaties. For example, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ).


Climate change is the change in climate over a long period. Currently, when we refer to climate change we refer to current change.

The main reasons for the current change are a consequence of human action. Mainly the increase in the emission of greenhouse gases.

The impacts of climate change are consequences of global warming of the Earth: 

  • Temperature rise.
  • Melting of glaciers.
  • Rise in the level of seas and oceans.
  • Impact on the life of many species.
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Last Revision: May 18, 2020