— Written By Raghav Agarwal
BBA LLB First Year,
We all remember getting official day offs from school due to rain, something which we used to call as ‘rainy day’. We got holidays on those particular days because it rained on those days, right. So, accordingly in North India, as it is rainy season in August and September, we know it’s going to rain these months, so why not get an extra vacation these months, called as ‘Monsoon Vacation’? The answer to that question is because it’s not going to rain throughout these months, so wonder why it’s even called rainy season? That’s where two confusable words ‘climate’ and ‘weather’ come into picture. Weather refers to short term atmospheric conditions whereas climate refers to the long term atmospheric conditions. Broadly speaking, while, weather is what defines the atmospheric conditions on a particular day or hour or moment, climate of a location or region is long term (about 30 years) summation of atmospheric conditions over that location or region. So, in north India, it is rainy season in August and September because for the past 30 years (approx.) the possibility of rain in August and September has been quite high, hence, it’s called rainy season.
As climate is a long term phenomenon, factors affecting climate are vast in comparison to weather. While, weather is affected by temperature, wind, humidity, cloudiness, precipitation and atmospheric pressure, climate is affected by strength of sun, shape of earth’s orbit, earth’s axis of rotation, quantity of green house gases in the atmosphere, quantity of carbon dioxide in oceans, tectonic plates, volcanic eruptions, ocean currents, vegetation coverage, meteorite impacts and most importantly, interaction of the mentioned factors with each other. Interestingly, the factors affecting weather are in turn affected by factors affecting climate because they, directly or indirectly, by nature of their existence, affect temperature, which along with atmospheric pressure affects winds, which has affects on precipitation and thus, humidity of a region. Basically, weather is a part of information given by climate. Hence, the information given as climate is wider in applicability as compared to weather. As weather is a day-to-day phenomenon, changes in weather are not a matter of concern. But, changes in climate are a matter of concern because a change in climate implies a drastic change in atmospheric conditions which affects biodiversity of the planet.
Climate change describes how weather patterns will be affected around the globe. Weather pattern refers to a fixed sequence of weather conditions occurring every year at a place, for instance, in north India, summer exists around April to June followed by monsoon from July to September, the year ends with winter starting from October to March next year. As this has been the weather pattern in north India for a very long time, flora and fauna of north India has adapted to this weather pattern, thus any change in the weather pattern or climate will disturb the flora and fauna of north India, thus disturbing the ecosystem and the food chain. Flora gets affected by climate change because the plants change the way they photosynthesize thus affecting their growth, for instance, if the precipitation decreases the plant life changes to thorny vegetation due to lack of water. Similarly, because of green house gases more heat is trapped in the atmosphere, thus affecting the fauna at Polar Regions, moreover, as polar caps melt, water level rise in the sea, thus affecting the biodiversity at coastlines. Climate change will also affect migratory species because they rely on climate of different region for migration. According to estimates, if biodiversity continues to the decline the same way then by 2100, we will lose 50% of our biodiversity. According to surveys, bumblebees, whales, Asian elephants, giraffes, insects, oceanic bird species, sharks, coral reefs, monarch butterflies and great apes of Southeast Asia are the species most affected by climate change in recent times.
Fortunately, climate change has now been taken very seriously by various organizations at different levels and has been addressed at various environmental and non-environmental conferences and summits by leaders of different countries. Recently, in G7 summit concluded in France, a separate session on “Biodiversity, Climate and Oceans” was conducted addressing the need to protect the planet’s climate. At this session, PM Narendra Modi, spoke about India’s efforts toward fighting climate change and also suggested the setting up of a global coalition of disaster resilient infrastructure and the creation of a pool of trained volunteers to help people recover after a natural disaster.
Although, various organizations are already working towards fighting climate change at global as well as domestic level, it is us as individuals who have to take a small step towards a bigger cause to fight climate change. And we should fight climate change as our responsibility rather than as our liability because at last it is us and our own future generations who are going to suffer the most from climate change.