The Earth ’s average temperature grew by around 1 degree Fahrenheit throughout the 20th century, according to NASA. The consequences of this minor temperature increase are diverse, from prolonged dry seasons and heat waves to more violent hurricanes. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, warming oceans and melting glaciers all have been significant signs that there’s something wrong happening with the world’s nature, which is climate change. In this article we tackle the causes of climate change that people blindly do every day, having no idea about the great impact they leave on the whole world. Activities such as deforestation, industrial production’s emissions and so many other factors affect both the local and global climate having the worst impacts on the different aspects of life in Egypt such as health, ecosystems, agriculture, economy, water resources, etc. Possible solutions such as wind powers, green buildings, chemical absorption and adsorption to capture the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere transferring them into functional elements is also provided in this article.
There has been a lot of scientific evidence proving that the climate is alternating and the Earth is getting warmer as following:
- Extreme weather. Extremely hot temperatures are expected to increase wherever mean temperatures rise, for example, will intensify extreme temperatures as soils dry out and fail to provide evaporative cooling at moderate temperatures, thus expanding the distribution of summer high daily temperatures in continental interiors. Atmospheric warming increases the atmospheric moisture holding ability potentially raising the frequency of severe rainfall events. In cities, roads and infrastructure can be heated to 50 to 90 degrees warmer than the air (Thomas Wernberg, 2012).
- Warming oceans. General expectations for biological and ecological responses to warming oceans include shifts in pole distribution, earlier spring events and delayed autumn events in mid-to-high latitudes, and reductions in marine ectothermic body sizes (Elvira S. Poloczanska, 2016).
- Melting glaciers. Kilimanjaro 's famous snows have melted over 80 percent since 1912. Glaciers in India's Garhwal Himalayas are so fast receding that researchers believe most central and eastern Himalayan glaciers could virtually disappear by 2035. Repeated laser altimeter readings by NASA indicate a diminishing edge of Greenland's ice cap. From the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the Indonesian Man Jaya Equatorial Glaciers, huge ice sheets, gigantic glaciers and sea ice are gradually vanishing (Daniel Glick, 2020).
- Rising sea levels. Melting ice, shifting surface winds and expanding warming ocean water all lead to changes in sea level that vary from one place to another. According to the latest BAMS State of the Atmosphere Study for 2018, acceleration of SLR (Sea Level Rise) over the post-1993 timeframe is about 0.1mm per year; this indicates that the SLR rate rises per decade by 1mm per year (Zeke Hausfather, 2019).
Climate Change Causes
There’s a variety of factors causing climate change, mostly are caused by human as well as natural factors as following:
- Deforestation. It’s known that green plants get their nutrition through the process of photosynthesis in which plants consume a great amount of CO2 and release O2 as a byproduct. Deforestation and cutting off trees minimized the available green soldiers that fight climate change protecting humans. Human beings have been widely replacing the green areas with buildings.
- Ozone layer depletion. Ozone is a natural as well as man-made synthetic gas. The ozone layer in the upper atmosphere protects plants as well as animal life from the Ultraviolet and Infrared radiations released by the sun which is known to cause great harm to plants, animals and humans. Though the ozone gas in the lower atmosphere is considered a pollutant, dissimilar to the other greenhouse gases, the ozone gas is only limited to the industrial zones. The ozone layer is damaged as the atmosphere is polluted with toxic gases, chemical repellent from industrial production, air conditioning devices, vehicles’ exhaust pipes and refrigerators. These emitted substances such as smoke, sulfur oxide, soot, dust, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrocarbons manage to deteriorate the ozone layer.
- CO2 concentration. CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere through natural mechanisms such as volcanic eruption, animal respiration and plant burning or rotting as well as organic materials. Human activities such as the consuming of petroleum products, industrial wastes, wood products for heating homes, operating cars and the generation of electricity often emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Concentration of CO2 has witnessed a great increase since the mid-1700s because of the Industrial Revolution. The IPCC recorded in 2007 that CO2 rates have risen to a record high of 379 ppm and are rising at a rate of 1.9 ppm per annum. In a higher discharge situation, CO2 is anticipated to reach 970 ppm by 2100, inferring dramatically multiplying the pre-mechanical fixations. Such a pattern in CO2 concentrations is rather troubling and risky, particularly given its negative impacts on farming systems. The utilization of fluid and vaporous fills in the agriculture sector prompted outflows of 51.3 and 5.4 million tons of CO2 respectively.
- Greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the Earth, wrapping energy into the atmosphere which causes Earth’s warming. They consist of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, perfluorocarbons, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons. These atmospheric gases concentrate because of creations that consume petroleum derivatives just as different activities, for example, clearing green lands for agriculture or buildings, and cause the Earth's atmosphere to get warmer than it would normally. Naturally, greenhouse gases are part of the atmosphere’s components, and they are the result of human activities as well. Water vapor is the most widespread greenhouse gas, released into the atmosphere through evaporation from oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, and ozone also exist naturally in the atmosphere, but human actions are now generating them at high amounts. Chemicals produced to function as greenhouse gases contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
- Aerosols. It’s known as the airborne particles absorbing, dispersing and reflecting radiation back into space. Haze, windblown residue, and particles that can be followed to emitting volcanoes are instances of natural aerosols. Human behaviors such as fossil-fuel combustion and slash-and - burn agricultural methods produce additional aerosols. Although aerosols are not deemed a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, they influence the flow of radiated heat energy from the Earth into space. Its effects on climate change are still under discussion, but climate scientists agree that light-colored aerosols have a cooling effect whereas dark-colored aerosols lead to heating.
- Agriculture. Agriculture is also a factor of climate change. Clearing trees for crops, burning crop residues, submerging land in rice paddies, growing huge numbers of cattle and other ruminants and nitrogen fertilization which unleash greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (Usman Adamu, 2012).
Consequences of Climate Change on Egypt
Egypt is expected to experience the first effects of climate change in the water domain. With an individual's portion of just less than 1000 m3 a year, Egypt is so near to the poverty line. The Nile River gives over 95% of all water to Egypt and the yearly precipitation differs from a limit of 180 mm/year on the North coast, to a normal of 20 mm close to the city of Cairo and decreases to as meager as 2 mm near the city of Aswan in upper Egypt. Climate change is expected to affect both the supply the needs of the Nile River as well as demand the population needs of water. Effects on the supply side are probably going to emerge from potential changes of precipitation designs over the Ethiopian highlands and equatorial lakes. The set-up may be exacerbated by declining rainfall in the upper White and Blue Nile catchments and the Middle Nile Basin (Mohamed Saber, 2006).
Climate Change Impact on Egypt’s Agriculture
Climate change is a great enemy to Egypt’s agriculture as agriculture plays a diverse function in the rural and national social and economic structures. Climate change can possibly both emphatically and adversely influence the area, timing, and profitability of harvest, domesticated animals, and fishery frameworks at national, and worldwide scales. It will likewise adjust the stability of food supplies and make new food security challenges by 2050. Agriculture represents a major aspect of the national economy as it balances Egyptian trade. Nonetheless, climate change will influence the amount of produce accessible for export and import just as costs. The land-use and farming and financial action of Egypt are totally obliged along a restricted T-shaped segment of land along the Nile and the coast around its delta. There is a chance of a significant decline in Nile streamflow under climate change. The water supply of the Nile is likely to be significantly strained due to increased water demands and evaporative losses arising from rising temperatures in the semi-arid zone which are regularly forecast through various climate models (Mahmoud A. Medany, 2016).
Plants Health and Food Insufficiency
Egyptian agriculture poses two significant possible threats. The first is that the Nile River’s water resources will probably drop by 30 to 60 percent as a projected effect of climate change. Second, all projections indicate that rain-fed production in North Africa would decline to 50 percent due to climate change. It is important to keep in mind that temperature controls seasonal crops and their geographical distribution. Owing to climate change and water scarcity, major crops in Egypt (wheat, maize, clover, rice, cotton, sugar cane, corn, sorghum and soybeans) are projected to decrease. A doubling of CO2 may greatly raise photosynthesis, however crop harvests would decrease due to water shortages and heat-related harm to plant pollination, flowering, and grain forming. By 2050 decrease in yields because climate change is relied upon to arrive at 19% for maize and sorghum and 11% for rice, 28% for soybean, 18% for wheat and grain, while that of cotton would be increased. Hotter and drier weather would expand the desertification-prone region and would also be exacerbated by increased deforestation and soil fertility declines (Mohamed Saber, 2006).
Consequences for Sea Level in the Nile Delta
Questions regarding whether the Nile Delta will be overflowed before the twenty-first century ends by the action of climate change got a lot of attention. The Egyptian coast is associated with the Mediterranean through the southern Levantine sub-bowl, which reaches out from 25°E in the west to 34.5°E in the east. The Egyptian Mediterranean beachfront zone incorporates five enormous lakes just as vacationer resorts, historical places, ripe agrarian grounds, and economic resources including natural gas. The Nile Delta’s coastal zone is predicted to be one of the five zones anticipated to endure the most noticeably terrible consequences of a 1.0 m increment in ocean level (SLR). El-Raey (2010) predicted that nearly half of the Nile Delta beaches and around 30 percent of Alexandria and Port Said cities would be degraded and destroyed even with an SLR of just 0.5 m. The coast of the Nile Delta plays an important role in both economy and social issues. This is primarily attributed to the large population densities of this region, high rates of poverty, and diversified economic activities, including natural gas production, farming, producing energy, tourism, and agriculture. According to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (1999), the agricultural sector employs about 35 percent of Egyptians and generates 14.8 percent of Egyptian gross domestic product (GDP), a sector that is especially significant in the Nile Delta region. SLR will reduce Egyptian GDP by damaging the agricultural sector and changing coastal lake ecology (Mohamed Shaltout, 2015).
Loss of Biodiversity and Habitats
The main habitats in Egypt keep the biodiversity maintained, but unfortunately, climate change will have a great negative effect on them, so we need to keep them protected. Areas located near the northern lakes of Egypt, aquatic ecosystems, natural mangrove vegetation of the Red Sea, habitats of the eastern desert, and marginal pastures in Sinai are predicted to be adversely affected, despite the different response of each of them. In the Southern Valley and the Western Desert habitats, the water requirement of fields and crops will increase alongside with the expected increase of temperature. A critical number of presently compromised animals could be lost as coastal habitats are lost, and rivals conquer native communities. The Red Sea owns the most impressive coral reefs in the world, having a large degree of biodiversity of more than 1,000 organisms recorded, with many more yet to be discovered. They are especially vulnerable to changes in sea surface temperatures, and corals can lack symbiotic algae when physiologically stressed, which provide nutrients and colors. In this case, corals seem white and are alluded to as bleached. Two cases of bleaching of coral reefs in Egypt had been observed in 2006. During the intense low tide, the first coral reefs were subjected to clear oxygen and thus lost its vitality. This phenomenon proceeded for a couple of days during spring season, where a few zones were as yet influenced and didn't recoup till now. Biological diversity has numerous advantages for individuals, its various types and species contribute in giving horticultural, angling and domesticated animals administrations, logical research and social legacy. With its hereditary parts, a few types of vegetation help in the advancement of the clinical, agrarian and modern areas. It also provides the daily necessities for the lives of many local communities, benefits for biodiversity, and nature tourism with its great economic potential (Mohamed Saber, 2006).
Consequences on Human Health in Egypt
Climate change is predicted to have negative effects on human health in Egypt, exacerbated by high population densities. This may include increased incidence of asthma and infectious illnesses, vector-borne diseases, neurological disorders, skin cancer, eye cataracts, respiratory problems, heat strokes, deteriorating public health systems, as well as extra deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diarrhea and dysenteric infections, mortality rates for children and malnutrition. The overall health contribution balance is likely to be unfavorable, and communities in low-income countries such as Egypt are likely to be more susceptible to the side effects (Mohamed Saber, 2006).
Solutions offered for the climate change issue are still under study. There’s an argument whether the solutions are economically affordable or it needs too much to manage. Among the successful strategies for limiting the progression of climate change are the followings:
It’s known that wind power has been the fastest and vigorous electricity tool in the world since the latest end of the 20th century. Generating energy using wind, a renewable source, through wind turbines almost has no impact on the environment. Additionally, wind turbines often don't require water to run. As per the U.S. Energy Agency, the use of wind turbines in 2013 alone reduced water utilization in the energy market by 36.5 billion gallons. The usage of wind energy in 2013 has lowered CO2 pollution by about 115 million metric tons, equal to pollution of 20 million vehicles over the year (‘Wind Power Benefits’). There is a problem confronting wind power though. One major challenge is the slaying of birds and bats from flying into the spinning blades. However, one way to help tackle the issue of killing birds and bats by the spinning impeller is to stop placing wind turbines in places where there is a high contingent of migrants. Another option is to have the blades of wind turbines just spin above certain wind speed. Scientists find that 99 percent of bat activity has ceased in certain places where the wind speed reaches above 15 mph (Jameel R. Kaddo, 2016).
Due to their dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and air-conditioning, the new buildings emit CO2 which is one of the main factors causing climate change. It’s recommended to use light bulbs which use much less energy and more efficient cooling and heating systems which aim to minimize the CO2 emissions from the buildings. In this manner, that diminishes our reliance on petroleum derivatives for power production about a decrease of ozone depleting substances outflow (Jameel R. Kaddo, 2016).
As noted above, methane is a greenhouse gas that leads to climate change progression. Among the main causes of methane pollution, natural gas and petroleum operations are also known. Upgrading the storage infrastructure, processing and refining oil and gas would reduce the release of methane (Jameel R. Kaddo, 2016).
Solutions Under Review
Two techniques have been suggested to seek to tackle the surplus CO2 produced by the usage of fossil fuels. These 2 methods work at extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and rendering it a functional resource. The first remedy is named chemical intake. Usage of aqueous solution of amine-ammonia to absorb as much CO2 as possible. Firstly, the CO2-containing gas flows through a tube and interacts with a CO2-absorbent flowing in the reverse direction. Upon absorption the CO2-filled absorbent streams through a thermal regeneration stripper. The pure CO2 discharged is squeezed for shipping and storage. However, the high regeneration expenditures of the process, toxic effects, materials oxidation, and its low CO2 capture ability are major setbacks for the process except if enhanced. The second remedy is named adsorption. Some strong adsorbents, such as zeolites, mesoporous silica, microporous organic polymers, metal-organic frameworks (MOFS), and porous carbons have been developed to better absorb CO2. Due to low cost, large supply, chemical and thermal stability, wide specific surface area and pore depth, easy-to-design pore size, surface modification and reduced energy consumption for regeneration, carbon-based materials are therefore the most effective. It has low capability to capture CO2 though. These strong adsorbents will absorb CO2 better by either temperature, pressure or by combining the two (Jameel R. Kaddo, 2016).
Climate change is a challenge affecting our world and it has taken tremendous strides since the Middle Ages. Carbon dioxide emissions have accelerated climate change progress and have stepped up our weather. Shifting to using renewable energy has been difficult as the world depends mainly on fossil fuels for industrialization, electricity and transportation. We need to prevent any potential changes, as well as adaptation, it's an important factor that we need to consider.