The science of climate change looks at how the Earth’s climate has changed over the years and the causes as well as the possible future changes which could result from human interference with the climate system. Understanding how climate influences society and how humans influence climate has become more urgent now than ever before. Information and knowledge generated and provided by climate change science forms the basis in shaping policies and agreements. The cross-cutting nature of the problems requires the engagement of everyone at all levels. It is therefore important to have some basic understanding of the science of climate change in order to appreciate the seriousness of the problem
Chapter one of the this module explores the science of climate change. This involves a description of the concepts of weather and climate by clearly defining and differentiating between them. The elements of weather and climate are also well analyzed. The difference between the concept of climate variability and climate change is also discussed in detail. In addition, the types, sources and effects of of GHGs are discussed.
Chapter two discusses the causes of climate change. Both natural and human-indiuced drivers of climate change are decribed in detail. Under natural drivers, aspects of volcanic eruptions and wildfire are discussed. Under antropogenic drivers, land use changes, use of fossils fuels and also the urbanization are discussed.
Chapter three examines climate change and ecosystem. The disturbances of ecosystems under climate change are addressed. Various indicators of ecosystem disturbances are explained and also the challenges and opportunities of climate change on ecosystem.
Chapter four focuses on vulnerability to and impact of climate change. Various approaches of vulnerability assessments are discussed and from this chapter it is clear to determine the extent of vulnerability,using socioeconomic or ecological assessments.
Chapter five, finally, discusses the different UN conventions on the envrioment. It is important to note that these conventions play an important role in ensuring that environment is well maintained and protected from human induced actions. They are normally open for participation by the international community as a whole, or by a large number of States.
This module covers five chapters as follows:
- Basics of Climate Change
- Causes of Climate Change
- Climate Change and Ecosystems
- Vulnerability to and Impact of Climate Change
- United Nations Conventions on the Environment