What Causes Climate Change?

Natural Factors:

Changes in the sun’s energy or slow changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun and changes in ocean circulation.

Human Factors:

Over the past 200 years, starting with the Industrial Revolution, human activities have changed the earth’s atmosphere. Deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal and oil) have caused the concentrations of greenhouse gases to significantly increase in our earth’s atmosphere.

What are Greenhouse Gases?

Greenhouse gases prevent heat and infrared rays from being released back in to space. These gases are necessary for human life because they keep the planet’s surface warm enough to survive and thrive. But as greenhouse gases concentrations continue to increase, the earth’s temperature continues to increase.

In addition to greenhouse gases and rising temperatures, there are changes in rainfall patterns, melting snow and ice cover, changes in sea levels and carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing the ocean acidity, which negatively affects marine organisms.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/index.html