I supposed to post this entry last week, but due to some circumstances it was postponed. So here it is now.
Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, I woke up anticipating for a good sunny day because I scheduled a lunch out with my previous colleagues. When I drew out the curtain it was far from what I expected – gloomy and bits of snow were falling. I felt so lazy in an instant. I didn’t want to go out on a snowy day like this. Wonder why? Well, I presently live in Changchun city, and it is one of the coldest places in Northeast China. Its geographical location explains why. I moved here last December 2011. Though it is my second time to live here, I am still not used to the extreme cold weather in winter. Minus 30 degrees Celsius (or even lower than this) is incredibly scary. Agree?
I was happy to notice that since I arrived last December, there was no snow fall until that day on the 22nd of February. It is not that I don’t like the snow, I like it actually but I don’t want it to add to the extreme temperature every day.
And so, no matter what, I had to face my day. I thought of calling my friends to cancel our lunch out but I changed my mind. I wanted to see them after 2 years! I changed into my thick coat and boots and headed out to our meeting place. Apparently, the bits of snow in the morning became heavier and by lunch time, the city was completely covered up and some roads were blocked. I was still lucky to get into a cab, but for all glory’s sake, it took me more than an hour to reach our meeting place that normally takes 15 minutes. It snowed the whole day and night, however, the following day, until yesterday 28th of February, the weather was back to fair with glorious Mr. Sun shining brightly.
While today, 29th of February, the sky is closed again. It is completely cloudy and it snowing outside. I assume it will go on all throughout the day.
What surprised and puzzled me was that, snow fall in Changchun was less this year (only snowed few times since November with long intervals) and the temperature is actually better (-25 degrees Celsius is the coldest so far and it goes higher to – 8 in the middle of the day) compared to the previous years, when it almost snowed everyday of the week and temperature remained the same the whole day (-30 Celsius).
The major snow fall happened in 2009 when classes and some offices all over the city and the outskirts were all suspended. It snowed for a few days leaving the roads and fields covered with knee –deep to waist – deep of snow. According to some Chinese locals I talked to, that heavy snow fall happened again after more than a decade.
I can’t completely say that I enjoy this kind of weather here in Changchun being fairly sunny and clear every day this winter season. I am just being a curious george to find out why we are experiencing this. Is this supposed to be normal or does it mean something terrible is about to occur?
This climate change is not a new issue. We have heard and read different stories/articles regarding this, watched it on tv, or even studied it in school. Scientists, climatologist and other experts in this field have done intensive studies, and research to find out what causes all these changes and what would be the earth’s future in this case.
What causes all this sudden and rapid changes? There are many things that influence the earth’s climate. There are natural causes and there are man – made causes that affect the earth’s climate. Natural causes can be -variation in solar activity. Which means that the Sun, yes! our Mr. Sun, has a huge impact to the climate change that we are experiencing here on earth because the sun constantly goes through different cycles that we can’t control. We all know that the sun is the source of solar energy. Scientists say that changes in the sun’s energy output can cause climate change.
Another natural cause is the change in our Earth’s orbital motions. We learnt that the earth makes one full orbit around the sun each year. It is tilted at a certain degree on its orbital path as it goes around the sun. Slight changes in the tilt of the earth can lead to minor but significant changes in the strength of the seasons. Therefore, more tilt means warmer summers and colder winters, less tilt means cooler summer and milder winters. Ocean currents, volcanic eruptions, and continental drift also contribute to the climate change.
There are also Man – made causes. Obviously human activities trigger the climate change. In what way? Greenhouse gasses (Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc.) are primarily produced by human activities, deforestation, agriculture, rapid population growth, and burning of fossil fuels are just a few examples of how human causes change in the climate.
Is this supposed to be normal or does it mean something terrible is about to occur?
With all the natural and man –made causes, it became clear to me why these sudden changes are happening. I have also accepted the fact that we are part of the system that makes these changes to occur. Natural causes? ” we can’t prevent that. We can only predict using scientific tools / instruments to monitor the changes and give us precautionary measures when natural disasters caused by climate change occur. As for man – made causes, we have to educate ourselves on how to minimize the release of all these gasses that cause green –house effect, and other factors that contribute to the climate change and we have to act now to at least prevent, or slow down the rapid effects of man – made causes.