Ist der Klimawandel real? Beweise und wissenschaftlicher Konsens erklärt 

Our planet is a swirling storm of weather patterns, a dynamic tapestry woven from scorching deserts to icy tundras. But lately, the delicate balance seems to be tipping. Heatwaves are shattering records with alarming regularity, wildfires are raging with unprecedented fury across continents, and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. It’s no wonder climate change has become a topic of heated debate.

Some folks believe it’s simply a natural fluctuation in Earth’s climate, a blip on a long-term trend. Others, however, see it as a pressing threat, a looming crisis demanding immediate action. So, what’s the real story? Buckle up, because in this article, we’ll dive into the hard evidence for climate change and see what the vast majority of scientists actually agree on. Is climate change real? And if so, how certain are the experts?

Die unmissverständlichen Zeichen: Wissenschaftliche Beweise für den Klimawandel

Here’s a closer look at the compelling scientific evidence for climate change, a reality no longer shrouded in debate:

Rising Global Temperatures

This is perhaps the most well-known indicator. Since the late 19th century, the average global temperature has risen by a staggering 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). This might seem small, but it’s important to remember that this increase represents a global average, masking even larger regional variations. What’s more concerning is the rate of warming. This relentless warming trend is a clear indication of a changing climate.

climate change has resulted in the hottest year on record over the last 20 years
  • Global average surface temperatures have risen by approximately 1.1°C (2°F) since the late 19th century, according to data from NASA, NOAA, and other scientific organisations.
  • The past ten years (2013–2023) have been the warmest on record globally
  • The rate of warming over the past few decades has worsened with a harsher El Nino, which is devastating the Amazon and worsening the climate situation!

Melting Glaciers and Ice Caps

The Earth’s glaciers and ice caps are like giant thermometers, recording the planet’s temperature history within their icy layers. Unfortunately, these thermometers are giving us a worrying reading. Glaciers around the world are retreating at alarming rates. Greenland and Antarctica, Earth’s colossal ice sheets, are also losing mass at an accelerated pace. This relentless melt contributes to rising sea levels, a threat we’ll explore next.

Doomsday glacier, a clear representation of the effects of climate change on the planet.

Thwaites Glacier, also known as the Doomsday Glacier, is rapidly melting and has been a global cause for concern over the last two decades.

  • Glaciers worldwide are losing mass at an accelerating rate, having lost over 9 trillion tons of ice since 1961, with some smaller glaciers already disappearing entirely.  A study published in Nature revealed that Greenland is shedding ice seven times faster today than in the 1990s. 
  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are shedding approximately 250 billion metric tons and 120 billion metric tons of ice per year, respectively, according to NASA satellite data.
  • Arctic sea ice extent has declined by about 13% per decade since the late 1970s, with summer Arctic sea ice projected to disappear entirely by the mid-21st century if current trends continue.

Sea Level Rise

As temperatures climb, so does the level of our oceans. This rise is due to two main factors: the thermal expansion of sea water (warmer water occupies more space) and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. This seemingly small increase translates to significant coastal flooding and erosion, threatening coastal communities and ecosystems worldwide.

Observed sea level since the start of the satellite altimeter record in 1993 (black line), plus independent estimates of the different contributions to sea level rise: thermal expansion (red) and added water, mostly due to glacier melt (blue). Added together (purple line), these separate estimates match the observed sea level very well. NOAA graphic
  • Global mean sea level has risen by approximately 8 inches (20 cm) since 1900, with the rate of rise accelerating in recent decades, according to data from tide gauges and satellite altimetry.
  • Sea levels are projected to rise by an additional 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 metres) by the end of this century, depending on future greenhouse gas emissions and the rate of ice sheet melting, according to the IPCC.
  • Rising seas are already contributing to increased coastal flooding and erosion in many low-lying areas around the world, with projections suggesting that hundreds of millions of people will be affected by rising sea levels by 2100.

Increasing Extreme Weather Events

Have you noticed more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms in recent years? You’re not alone. These extreme weather events are becoming more common and more severe due to climate change. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, leading to heavier precipitation and more intense storms. Additionally, rising temperatures create conditions ripe for wildfires and droughts.

  • The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and heavy precipitation events, have increased significantly in recent decades due to climate change.
  • For example, the number of heat waves in the United States has tripled in the past few decades, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Climate models and observational data suggest that further warming will lead to more frequent and severe extreme weather events, with projections indicating that events like the 2021 Pacific Northwest heatwave could become an annual occurrence by the end of the century in a high-emissions scenario.

Ocean Acidification

The oceans, vast and seemingly limitless, are not immune to the effects of climate change. As the atmosphere absorbs more carbon dioxide, a portion of it gets absorbed by the oceans. While this helps regulate atmospheric CO2 levels, it comes at a cost. The oceans become more acidic, threatening marine life. Shell-building organisms like oysters and corals are particularly vulnerable, as their ability to build their shells and skeletons weakens in acidic conditions. Research suggests that ocean acidification rates have accelerated in recent decades, posing a serious threat to marine ecosystems.

  • Auch world’s oceans have absorbed approximately 30% of the excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities, resulting in a decrease in ocean pH levels by about 0.1 units since the pre-industrial era.
  • This increase in acidity is already impacting marine life, particularly organisms with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, such as corals, oysters, and certain plankton species. The Great Barrier Reef, for example, has lost over half of its coral due to ocean acidification and warming.
  • If current trends continue, ocean acidity is projected to increase by 100-150% by the end of this century, posing a significant threat to marine ecosystems and the billions of people who rely on them for food and income.

Shifts in Plant and Animal Habitats

As the planet warms, so do the boundaries of suitable habitats for plants and animals. Species that rely on specific temperature ranges are forced to migrate to cooler regions to survive. This can disrupt delicate ecological balances and lead to population declines or even extinction events. Polar bears, dependent on sea ice for hunting, are a prime example of how climate change disrupts habitats. A study published in Science warns that up to one-third of Earth’s land surface could become unsuitable for current plant and animal life by the end of the century under a business-as-usual climate change scenario.

The Polar Bear is a stellar example of how climate change is destroying the habitats of animals and plant species globally. We risk the extinction of several species that are unable to adapt to the changes in their habitats.

  • Many plant and animal species are shifting their geographic ranges and annual behaviours in response to changing temperatures, precipitation patterns, and seasonal cues associated with climate change.
  • For example, studies have documented shifts in the timing of spring events, such as bird migration and plant flowering, by an average of 2-3 days per decade in recent years.
  • Climate change is also contributing to the decline and potential extinction of some species that are unable to adapt or migrate to more suitable habitats. According to the IPCC, up to 1 million species are at risk of extinction due to climate change and other human-caused factors.

The evidence is clear and irrefutable. Climate change is real, and it’s happening now. From rising temperatures and melting glaciers to extreme weather events and ocean acidification, the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are the primary driver.

Beyond Doubt: The Overwhelming Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

In the face of an issue as complex as climate change, it’s natural to seek clarity and a definitive answer. Thankfully, the scientific community has a powerful tool to establish a shared understanding of the world: consensus.

The Power of 99%

Multiple independent studies have overwhelmingly shown that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that human activities are the primary driver of climate change. A landmark study published in Environmental Research Letters in 2021 analysed over 88,000 climate research papers and found that a staggering 99.9% agreed with this conclusion. This isn’t just a single study; surveys conducted throughout the past few decades consistently point to a consensus exceeding 97%.

Building on a Foundation of Scrutiny

This consensus isn’t built on blind faith, but on the rigorous process of peer review. Imagine a scientific paper as a building. Before construction begins, blueprints are meticulously reviewed by other experts (peers) to ensure their soundness. Similarly, scientific research undergoes a rigorous review process by other qualified scientists in the field. Peer reviewers scrutinize the methodology, data analysis, and conclusions of the research, ensuring its accuracy, credibility, and adherence to established scientific principles. Only once a paper passes this gauntlet of scrutiny does it get published in a reputable scientific journal.

Major scientific organisations worldwide have issued clear statements echoing this consensus. Here are a few examples:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): This leading international body, established by the United Nations, compiles and synthesises the latest scientific research on climate change. Their comprehensive reports, based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies, conclude that it is “extremely likely” that human influence has been the dominant cause of the warming observed since the mid-20th century.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM): This prestigious organisation serves as the official scientific advisor to the U.S. government. Their reports on climate change unequivocally state that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU): Representing over 60,000 Earth and space scientists, the AGU firmly states on their website that “human activities are the primary cause of recent global warming”

The scientific consensus on climate change is not a matter of opinion; it’s the product of rigorous research, meticulous peer review, and the collective voice of the world’s leading scientists. While science is never truly settled, the evidence overwhelmingly points to human activities as the primary driver of climate change. Understanding this consensus is crucial as we move forward with addressing this global challenge.

Taking Action Against Climate change.

Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity and our planet as we know it. The potential impacts of unabated global warming are staggering, ranging from environmental catastrophes to economic upheaval and social unrest. We are already witnessing the effects of a changing climate. 

Auch WHO speculates that between the years 2030 and 2050, climate change could cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress alone. The direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between US$ 2–4 billion per year by 2030. We stand at a pivotal juncture where our actions today will shape the fate of generations to come.

Addressing climate change is not just a moral imperative; it is a necessity for our collective survival and prosperity. Mitigating the effects of global warming requires a comprehensive, coordinated effort involving individuals, communities, businesses, and governments worldwide. However, these efforts cannot be piecemeal or isolated; they demand global cooperation, ambitious policy frameworks, and a fundamental shift in our societal values and priorities. The stakes are too high for inaction or complacency. By acknowledging the gravity of the situation and committing to bold, collaborative solutions, we can avert the worst impacts of climate change and create a sustainable future for all life on Earth.

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Bild von David Imolore

David Imolore

David Imolore ist Content Writer bei FundThePlanet und schreibt mit Leidenschaft über wichtige Themen wie den Schutz des Regenwaldes, den Klimawandel und Nachhaltigkeit für Menschen und Unternehmen. Seine Leidenschaft ist es, das Bewusstsein dafür zu schärfen, wie wichtig es ist, die lebenswichtigen Ökosysteme unseres Planeten zu bewahren. Mit seinen Texten möchte er zu positiven Klimaschutzmaßnahmen inspirieren und eine tiefere Verbindung zwischen Menschen, Gemeinschaften und der Umwelt schaffen.
Bild von David Imolore

David Imolore

David Imolore ist Content Writer bei FundThePlanet und schreibt mit Leidenschaft über wichtige Themen wie den Schutz des Regenwaldes, den Klimawandel und Nachhaltigkeit für Menschen und Unternehmen. Seine Leidenschaft ist es, das Bewusstsein dafür zu schärfen, wie wichtig es ist, die lebenswichtigen Ökosysteme unseres Planeten zu bewahren. Mit seinen Texten möchte er zu positiven Klimaschutzmaßnahmen inspirieren und eine tiefere Verbindung zwischen Menschen, Gemeinschaften und der Umwelt schaffen.
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