What is climate change?
Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants and greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally, this radiation would escape into space—but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. That is what’s known as the greenhouse effect. Scientists agree that the earth’s rising temperatures are causing a shift in our long term weather patterns (longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes) which is known as ‘climate change’.
Temperature and rainfall fluctuate greatly, with large variability in seasonal and regional climatic conditions bringing heatwaves, storms, droughts, floods and bushfires, which can have devastating effects on the environment, human life and property.
Climate change will exacerbate natural variability, making it more difficult to manage our landscapes and ecosystems and the human activities that depend on them. Communities already affected by climate variability will be challenged by a climate shift, and there will be additional demands on things like our emergency services and health system.
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