Need Help?

Get in touch with us


Weather and Climate Changes in Glaciers, Vegetation, and Human Activities

Grade 10
May 6, 2023

Glaciers, Vegetation, and Human Activities


There are many processes that can cause climate change. These processes include variations in the amount of energy the Sun produces over the years; the positions of the continents over millions of years; the amount of tilt in the Earth’s axis; variations in Earth’s orbit over thousands of years; the impact of asteroids on Earth; variations in the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some of these processes are caused naturally, and some by human activities.

Climate on the Earth

Land Cover

On a global scale, patterns of vegetation and climate patterns are closely related. For example, vegetation absorbs CO2, and this can protect some of the effects of global warming. On the other hand, desertification increases global warming as it increases the release of CO2 gas in the atmosphere.

A decrease in vegetation cover due to deforestation tends to increase local albedo, which in turn leads to surface cooling. Albedo means how much light a surface reflects. Generally, dark surfaces have a low albedo which means they absorb more light, and light surfaces have a high albedo which means they reflect more light. Ice with snow has a high albedo and reflects more light, i.e., about 90% of incoming solar radiation. The land area covered with dark-colored vegetation is expected to have a low albedo, i.e., they reflect less light and will absorb a large amount of radiation.

Albedo effect

Human Activities:

Humans are gradually affecting the climate and the Earth’s temperature by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, cutting down forests, and farming livestock.

These activities add large amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere. This increases the greenhouse effect and global warming.


In the 19th century, industrial development added the large-scale usage of fossil fuels for industrial activities. These industries generated many jobs, and people shifted from rural areas to cities over the years. Even today, this shift is continuing. Due to this, a large area of land that was covered with vegetation has been cleared to construct houses, roads, etc. To fulfill these requirements, natural resources are widely used for construction, industries, transport, and consumption. As a result, the requirement for material things has increased immensely, which leads to generating huge amounts of waste. Furthermore, our population has also increased to a great extent.

All these activities have mainly added to a rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Most of the energy required to run vehicles produces electricity for industries, households, etc., obtained from fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas (LPG, CNG), and coal. The energy generated by fossil fuels is responsible for the release of around ¾ of the carbon dioxide, methane, and a huge amount of nitrous oxide. It also generates nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), which are not greenhouse gases but impact the chemical cycles in the atmosphere, further leading to the production or destruction of greenhouse gases.

The emissions and concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased over a period of time and resulted in global warming.

Global warming arises when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere, absorbing sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the Earth’s surface. Usually, this radiation escapes into space, but these pollutants, which can stay for years in the atmosphere, catch the heat and cause the Earth to get warmer.

Global warming

Gases that add to the greenhouse effect are as follows:  


1.     Water vapor:

It is the most abundant greenhouse gas, but mainly, it acts as a feedback to the climate. For example, when Earth’s atmosphere gets warmer, water vapor increases. By this, the possibility of clouds and rain increases. This makes the feedback mechanism the greenhouse effect.

2.     Carbon dioxide:

It is a minimal but very important element of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is released by natural processes like respiration and volcanic eruptions and by human activities like deforestation, changes in land usage, and the burning of fossil fuels. Since industrial development, humans have increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2 by 48%. This is the major component of climate change.

3.     Methane:

It is a hydrocarbon gas produced through both the sources, such as natural sources and human activities, like the decomposition of waste materials in landfills, agriculture, and particularly in rice cultivation, as well as ruminant digestion process and manure management related to domestic livestock. Methane is a more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but it is also one of the components that is much less abundant in the atmosphere.

4.     Nitrous oxide:

It is a very powerful greenhouse gas emitted by various modes like methods of soil cultivation, particularly the use of commercial and organic fertilizers, burning of fossil fuels,  production of nitric acid, and burning of biomass.

5.     Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs):

Synthetic compounds are used in a number of products. Still, they are now mainly regulated in production and release to the atmosphere by international agreements for their capacity to add to the damage of the ozone layer. This is because CFCs are too greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases and Sources of greenhouse Emission

Greenhouse effect

The effects of changing the natural atmospheric greenhouse gases are as follows:

On the whole, Earth will become warmer. Some areas may accept warmer temperatures, whereas other regions may not feel it acceptable.

Generally, warmer conditions may lead to more evaporation and precipitation, but individual regions will differ; some regions may become wet, and others may dry up.

A stronger greenhouse effect will warm the ocean and partly melt glaciers and ice sheets, thereby increasing sea levels. Ocean water also will expand if it warms, which results in a further rise in sea level.

Extreme conditions of climate, such as droughts, floods, and extreme temperatures, can lead to losses of crops and affect the livelihoods of agricultural producers and the food security of communities throughout the world. In addition, based on the crop and ecosystem, weeds, pests, and fungi can grow well under conditions of warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and increased CO2 levels. Therefore, climate change can increase weeds and pests. This causes a big loss to agriculture.

Climate change can cause new patterns of pests and the development of diseases that affect plants, animals, and human beings. It also poses new risks for food security, the safety of food, and human health.

Climate change
Weather and Climate


Related topics

Natural Resources

Natural Resources: Depletion and Prevention

Natural Resources Natural resources are those that exist in nature without any human intervention or effort. This covers all desirable traits like magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces, among others. When referring to Earth, it is understood to include all the water, sunlight, atmosphere, land, and minerals, as well as all of the plants, crops, and […]

Equivalent Fractions and Comparing Fractions

Equivalent Fractions and Comparing Fractions

Use Models to Compare Fractions: Same Denominator Prior Knowledge: Identify and recognize the following fractions: 1. Which nation’s flag is ¼ red? 2. Compare which is greater 2/3 or 1/3 = ? 3. How many fractions lie between 0 and 1? Answers: 1. The fourth nation’s (Mexico) flag is ¼ red. 2. Both fractions have […]

Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

Cyclic Patterns of Eclipses: Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

Cyclic Patterns of Eclipses Introduction: Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse When an object in space, such as a planet or the Moon, moves through the shadow of another object in space, an eclipse occurs. In other words, when a moon or planet blocks the Sun’s light or Moon’s brightness, an eclipse occurs. The two largest […]

Synodic Day and Sidereal Day

Movement of Earth: Synodic Day and Sidereal Day

Introduction: The seasonal changes and other variations are not due to the elliptical orbit of the Earth. Seasonal variations result from the tilt of the Earth, whereas daily variations in light and temperature are caused by its rotation. Earth’s tilt changes the length of the days and nights during different seasons. The Earth’s one full […]


Other topics