Part III of Climate Change and Cities Reflection

Climate change affects every region and place. However mega cities are extremely vulnerable especially if they are located near a body of water. They play a huge role in climate change adaptation and strategies. Rise in temperatures in urban areas is due to that fact that their is too much concrete covering the earth and therefore light reflection and absorption is skewed. Also the tall buildings in a city do not allow enough sky, air, and wind exposure and therefore they offset the energy balances. Concrete, instead of natural vegetation, causes more flooding and air pollution causes higher temperatures. The heat island effect has many repercussions including raising the local air currents so that it rains more, reduced windspeed and therefore prolonged storms, and air pollutants causing acid rain. Teleconnections is the process of climate variability in one region impacting temperature and precipitation in other regions. I found it interesting that some weather events are predictable. For example, El Ninos are predicted to happen every seven years. However, in some cases, assumptions are made about certain natural disasters but when the storms actually hit they are the opposite of what was expected. El Nino and La Nina are common modes of natural climate variability that impact cities. However others exist such as Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Southern Annular Mode, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, and Madden-Julian Oscillation. As climate change increases it will be harder to make weather predictions.

Greenhouse gas concentration increases due to fossil fuel combustion, cement making, and land use changes. That fact is very interesting because when I think of greenhouse gases I don’t automatically think of those three things. The energy balances between outgoing terrestrial long wave radiation and incoming solar shortwave radiation is disrupted and has been since the industrial revolution. This imbalance is one reason for climate change. Climate change is impacted by three main factors: greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land use changes. Greenhouse gases are gases that traps heat in the atmosphere. Some greenhouse gases and aerosols are natural while others are anthropogenic. Anthrogoenic aerosols include fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning. Aerosols modify the earth’s energy by scattering and absorbing short and long wave radiation and they also influence cloud properties.

The reading said that it’s a 90% chance that warming temperatures are due to human activity. I don’t disagree with that but I think we should take responsibility but not blame ourselves for all the weather patterns of the earth. The earth has had weird weather conditions for the duration of its life.

I thought, “Say the sea levels keep on rising and at some point we are all forced to live on boats. That’s not so bad.” But this reading makes a good point that I hadn’t thought about. The ocean absorbs CO2 which causes it to acidify. As a result, marine ecosystems are impacted. That sounds pretty bad but won’t fish adapt? I know not all breeds of fish will, but we’ve already seen other animal species adapt to break down our waste.

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