While weather is constantly changing in an area, whether it is hour by hour, day by day, week to week or even year by year, climate is the long term pattern of weather in a particular region and can take at least thirty years to be classified. Climate is determined by a region’s climate system. A climate system has five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere (National Geographic Society, 2022).
The atmosphere is the most important part of the climate system because the make-up and the movement of gasses surrounding the Earth can change, influenced by natural and human made forces. The hydrosphere, which includes different variations of temperature and the salt content in ocean water, changes at a much slower pace compared to the atmosphere. The cryosphere is another dependable part of the climate system that helps regulate the thermohaline circulation which begins in the Earth’s polar regions (National Geographic Society, 2022). When ocean water gets cold, sea ice forms, causing the water around the ice to become saltier. In turn, this makes the ice sheets more dense and causes them to sink. This has a huge influence on the marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The land surfaces which include the vegetation and landforms influence climate by how the Sun’s energy is used on Earth. Plants, sand, soil and asphalt impact evaporation rate and temperature on Earth. Lastly, the biosphere, which contains all the living things on Earth, influences the climate through its plants and landscapes which can be altered by these living things. For example, photosynthesis helps regulate the flow of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. In addition, oceans and forests located in the biosphere serve as carbon sinks that have a cooling impact on a climate.
Our planet Earth is home to about 8.7 million species, including animals, insects, plants, fungi, single celled organisms, algae and bacteria. This is only possible because of the various climates that exist on Earth and the changes in climate that have occurred over time (National Geographic Society, 2022). Since climate has such a significant impact on an environment, living species, cultures and civilizations have had to also change and adapt to the climate as it has changed over time.
One example of climate change impacting a community during early civilization is clothing. A climate of frigid, wet temperatures had influenced the Indigenous Arctic cultures of Europe, Asia and North America when it came to developing clothing to withstand it. (National Geographic Society, 2022). These Indigenous people created clothing that was warm, tough, resistant and sturdy out of animal skin and fur.
Another example of the impact of climate change on a community is how early civilizations built their houses. The ancient Anasazi people of southern North America would construct their pithouses into tall cliffs made out of clay and stone, in order to create a shady area to keep the people cool in the hot, dry desert (National Geographic Society, 2022). Later construction also included adding mud to the outside walls and roof to protect from the weather.
One last example of the impact of climate change on communities during ancient civilizations is the evolution of agriculture (National Geographic Society, 2022). For instance, people in ancient Mesopotamia and India relied on the climate to be mild, since the area needed the rivers to stay full to utilize the water supply. This was important because they needed to grow crops all year round while they were experimenting and adapting to new farming techniques. In addition, it was important that their livestock was also able to survive in the mild climate. Today, farmers still use climate when planning for their growing season. Farmers rely on the typical climate in a particular area because if they did not, farming would become extremely difficult as crops would not survive or become more expensive to sell.