Effects Of Climate Change And Global Warming In Agricultural Regions

2818 words - 12 pages

1. Introduction
Rural development is South Africa’s priority to achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs). The millennium development goals aim at cutting poverty by 50% by the year 2015. In South Africa about 40% of the country’s population resides in rural areas and they directly or indirectly depend on the land that they live in. Agriculture plays a significant role in the country’s economy, contributing in 2000 about 2.9% of GDP, 10% of formal employment and 10% of the total value of exports. Agriculture as a percentage of GDP has decreased over past four decades, currently contributing around 2%. This implies that the economy is maturing, moving towards the secondary and ...view middle of the document...

Some of the more prominent ones are continental drift, volcanoes, ocean currents, the earth's tilt, and comets. The first natural cause of climate change is continental drift which is the separation of the earth landmass into different continents. The continents that we see today were formed when the landmass began gradually drifting apart, millions of years back. This drift had an impact on the climate because it changed the physical features of the landmass, their position and the position of water bodies. The separation of the landmasses changed the flow of ocean currents and winds, which affected the climate. This drift of the continents continues even today (Edugreen). In addition to the natural causes of global warming they are volcanoes, volcanoes are natural causes of global warming because when they erupt they emit large volumes of gases such as sulphur oxide, water vapour, dust and ash in the atmosphere. The gases caused by volcanoes blocks the rays of the sun, leading to cooling on earth (Edugreen). Climate can change as a result of the natural movement of the earth; the earth makes one full orbit around the sun each year. It is tilted at an angle of 23.5° to the perpendicular plane of its orbital path. For one half of the year when it is summer, the northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun. In the other half when it is winter, the earth is tilted away from the sun. If there was no tilt we would not have experienced seasons. Changes in the tilt of the earth can affect the severity of the seasons - more tilt means warmer summers and colder winters; less tilt means cooler summers and milder winters (Edugreen). The oceans are a major component of the climate system. They cover about 71% of the Earth and absorb about twice as much of the sun's radiation as the atmosphere or the land surface. Ocean currents move vast amounts of heat across the planet - roughly the same amount as the atmosphere does (Edugreen).

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2.2.Human causes Global warming is unmistakeable and human influence has been the dominant cause since the mid-20th century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Every year, almost 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by human activity. This harrowing figure is the main cause of global warming, and has been increasing for the last 50 years. Global warming is caused by the increase of greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide and methane primarily, in the earth's upper atmosphere directly caused by human burning of fossil fuels, industrial, farming, and deforestation activities When humans extract and burn fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum, they cause the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Though natural amounts of CO2 have varied from 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm), today's CO2 levels are around 400 ppm. That's 40% more than the highest natural levels over the past 800,000 years; we also can tell that...

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