Natural and Human Causes of Climate Change PDF 2024

This Content Demonstrates the Natural and Human Causes of Climate Change in 2024.

Climate Change

Climate change refers to the prolonged change of weather conditions such as temperature, snowfall, rainfall, tsunami, and drought on the Earth. It means different weather on the Earth compared to earlier decades. So, climate change denotes global warming on the Earth.  For example, now the Earth is warmer than thousands of years before. NASA scientists have stated that the Earth's temperature has increased rapidly in the past 150 years. It is estimated that approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit temperature has been raised in the last 100 years. Although the Earth's temperature has constantly been evolving, the last five years were the warmest in the century. Therefore, climate change has been a much-talked topic for global leaders. Scientists mention the natural and human causes of climate change on the planet.

Causes of Climate Change

Climate change causes refers to the natural factors and human activities that change the Earth's atmosphere. Scientists have identified many natural factors and human activities that influence changing the global atmosphere.

Natural Causes of Climate Change

The natural causes of climate change refer to the natural factors and activities that change the Earth's atmosphere. It might occur throughout the cycle of the Earth's motion, ocean current, plate movement, volcanic eruption, natural forest fire, and greenhouse gases. Natural causes are natural factors that occur mostly automatically rather than people's contributions.

What are the natural causes of climate change?
The Nine Natural Causes of Climate Change are:
  1. Solar Variation
  2. Volcanic Eruptions
  3. Axial Tilt
  4. Precession
  5. Eccentricity
  6. Continental Drift
  7. Ocean Current
  8. Natural Forest Fire
  9. Natural Greenhouse Gases. 
Causes of Climate Change Diagram in 2024
Nine Causes of Climate Change & Natural Cause of Climate Change
Natural Causes of Climate Change 2024
1. Solar Variation (Sunspot)
The most significant natural cause of climate change is the solar variation that changes the global atmosphere gradually. Solar variation means emitting different amounts of radiation from the Sun. The amount of solar radiation depends on the sunspots driven by the Sun's magnetism. Sunspots emit more heat from the Sun, and that makes the Earth warmer. They look like black holes that throw more solar radiation toward the planet compared to the natural part of the Sun. However, the solar variation and sunspots are related to the solar magnetic cycle or solar activities. Sunspots are also known as storms on the outside layer of the Sun.  It plays a critical role in ejecting solar gassy and flares from the Sun's corona.
Solar Variation (Sunspots)
Solar Variation (Sunspots)
Although the temperature of the sunspot is lower than other parts of the Sun, the outer layer of the sunspots releases huge ultraviolet rays and throws them on the Earth's surface. The number of sunspots reaches a peak during 11 years of solar activities- it is called the solar maximum. In the last century, many sunspots have been identified on the Sun simultaneously the Earth's temperature increased. The sunspots and solar variations have raised the Earth's temperature by about 0.1 degrees Celsius. The Sun has been brighter than 100 years ago due to the solar cycle activities driven by the sunspots, as the Earth has been warmer.
2. Volcanic Eruptions

Volcanic eruptions mean emitting huge gas, flash, lava, rock, and dust from the planet's surface. Volcano eruption is one of the most devastating natural disasters that change the environment of the disaster area. Therefore, it is another natural cause of climate change. The most adverse impact of the volcanic eruption is increasing the temperature of the Earth.  The lava emitted from volcanic eruptions can increase the surrounding area's temperature by around 1200 degrees Celsius.

However, it emits a huge amount of flash and creates ash clouds in the sky. This ash cloud acts like a blanket in the sky that redirects the Sun's rays. The solar radiation goes back by reflecting on the ash cloud in the sky. The prolonged ash cloud reflects the solar radiation; therefore, the ground of the Earth gets colder. In sum, the volcano eruption is a natural disaster that causes climate change.

Volcanic Eruptions
Volcanic Eruptions- Natural Causes of Climate Change

Does volcano eruption increase or decrease the Earth's temperature?

Volcanic activities decrease the average temperature of the surrounding areas. Although the lava increases the surrounding area's temperature, the ash cloud reflects the solar radiation that reduces the Earth's temperature. So, the volcano eruption makes the planet colder and changes the climate.

3. Axial Tilt

According to Milankovitch Cycles, the Earth moves around the Sun, and it takes 365 days to complete around the Sun. Additionally, the Sun takes 24 hours to complete the rotation. Axial tilt is a crucial natural cause of climate change that receives more and less solar radiation based on the position. Axial tilt refers to the Earth's angle between the orbital plane and the equatorial plane during rotation. It is also known as obliquity which represents the Earth's angle. Axial tilt makes different seasons in the same area of the planet.

According to the statistical reports, the Earth has been tilted 23.5 degrees perpendicular to the plane. The axial tilt differs by 22.1 and 24.5 degrees from its orbital plane around the Sun. The season of the Earth depends on the axial tilt; therefore, the more axial tilt angle, the greater the seasons. The Sun provides more solar radiation when the Earth's hemisphere tilts towards the Sun in the summer season. On the other hand, the Earth receives less solar radiation when the Earth tilts away from the Sun's orbital plane. According to Milankovitch (1930), it takes 41,000 years to complete the ice age cycle. So, the ice age comes back after every 41,000 years.

For example, now the Earth is tilted 23.45; therefore, one hemisphere receives more solar radiation that creates extreme summer on the Earth; simultaneously, another hemisphere gets extreme winter. The axial tilt is reducing; therefore, the Earth gets extremely hot in summer and cold in the winter seasons. Based on the discussion, it is optimal to say that the axial tilt causes climate change on the Earth.

Milankovitch Cycles (Axial Tilt, Precession, Eccentricity)
Milankovitch Cycles of Climate Change
4. Precession

Precession refers to the movement in the orientation of the rotational axis due to the gravitational force of the Sun and moon. It is a type of movement that occurs when it starts to wobble and change the direction of the first axis. The Earth rotates once every day which takes 24 hours. However, it wobbles slightly roughly after every 19 to 24 thousand years.  If it's leaning towards the Sun, it gets more heat. On the other hand, the Earth gets less heat if it leans away from the Sun. The Earth's precession affects climate change; hence, precession is another natural cause of climate change.

5. Eccentricity
Eccentricity is also known as orbital eccentricity, describes how the Earth moves around the Sun. The Earth does not move the Sun in the same circular motion. Orbital eccentricity measures the variation of the orbital path from a perfect circular shape. It is also known as the orbital parameter that controls the amount of solar radiation received by the Earth. The variation of the orbital path affects the gap between the Sun and planet. It controls the lengths of the summer and winter seasons. According to statistical reports, the summer is approximately 4.5 days longer than winter due to the orbital eccentricity. It is all about the distance between the Sun and Earth. The Sun is positioned around 152.1 million kilometers from the Earth in summer, the farthest distance.
The Earth gets closer to the Sun during the winter seasons in the northern hemisphere. On the other hand, in the winter season, the distance between the Sun and Earth is 147.1 million kilometers, also known as the closest distance. NASA scientists have declared the current orbital eccentricity of Earth is e ≈ 0.01671. Now, the Earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical motion shape. It is slowly reducing the cycle of 100,000 years. The Earth gets warmer when it rotates around the Sun in a circular orbit. In contrast, the Earth gets colder when it moves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit or eye shape. The discussion proves that orbital eccentricity is a significant natural cause of climate change.
6. Continental Drift by Plate Tectonics

Continental drift refers to the slow movement of the Earth's tectonic plates, also known as the shifts in the Earth's crust. Initially, Alfred Wegener proposed continental drift in 1912. There are seven continents on the Earth; however, the position of the continents is not fixed. Some continents are getting closer year by year; on the other hand, some are getting distant from each other. The movement is a prolonged process. The motion of the continental drift movement is around 0.6 cm to 10.5 cm per year. Hence, continental drift is the critical natural cause of climate change on the Earth.

The tectonic plates are the separated pieces of the Earth's crust. The outer face of the crust is rocky and solid, and it differs into two types of materials, such as less-dense and more-dense oceanic crust. These tectonic plates can move freely and cause Earthquakes and volcanoes on the Earth. Most ocean volcanoes and Earthquakes are the direct consequences of continental drift. The tectonic plate's movement can be stipulated in four patterns: transform faulting, spreading, subduction, and collision.

For example, the collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates has extended the Himalayan Mountains range. Magma is created from the molten rock below the crust emitted from volcano vents that change the climate. In sum, continental drift by plate tectonics is a natural cause of climate change.

7. Ocean Current

The ocean current is the natural cause of climate change on the Earth formed from the continuous movement of the ocean water. It is generated from the ocean wind, gravitation of the moon, breaking waves, temperature, and rotation of the Earth. The ocean current plays a crucial role in causing climate change by warming the Earth. Most solar radiation is absorbed by the ocean, although land areas receive some radiation. The land area returns some heat into space after sunset. However, the sea retains solar radiation and finally spreads it around the planet. The heat evaporates the ocean waters continuously, raising the temperature and humidity of surrounding areas on Earth. Ultimately, the evaporation process creates rain and storms that reduce the temperatures.

If the current system collapses, it will lead to dramatic changes in worldwide weather patterns. Ocean currents could rapidly freeze parts of North America. If this circulation shuts down, it could bring extreme cold to Europe and parts of North America.

8. Natural Forest Fire

Natural forest fire is a significant natural cause of climate change that increases the temperature of surrounding areas. There are two reasons for forest fires: natural causes forest fires and human causes of forest fires. Natural forest fire refers to a wildfire that burns a thousand acres of land, including trees and animals.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency report, 20 percent of forest fires occur naturally; and around 80 percent of forest fires occurs from human activities.

Natural Forest Fire
Natural Forest Fire Causes Climate Change

Natural forest fires can spark from lightning and drought that set fire to trees. Usually, warm temperatures encourage setting fires, and strong winds spread the fires surrounding areas rapidly.  Forest fire transforms green vegetation into the desert for a while.

Forest fires release huge greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and ashes. These gases trigger the warming of the atmosphere and destroy the soil nutrient.  Therefore, a natural forest fire is a significant natural cause of climate change.

9. Natural Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases refer to the gases that change the climate by trapping infrared radiation or heat in the atmosphere. GHG is the short form or abbreviation of greenhouse gases. There are two types of reasons for producing greenhouse gases: natural causes and human-induced causes to produce greenhouse gases. Natural greenhouse gases are produced naturally on the Earth without people's activities. For example, permafrost is a frozen ground that contains and releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) naturally. 

The most common natural greenhouse gases on the Earth are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). The greenhouse gases assist the sunlight in hitting the Earth's surfaces and blocking the heat returning from the atmosphere. These natural gases prevent the heat released from the atmosphere from passing outward from the Earth's surfaces. Natural greenhouse gases stimulate to rise of the temperature in the atmosphere directly and indirectly. In essence, natural greenhouse gases warm the Earth's atmosphere by trapping the heat. So, it is another natural cause of climate change that warms the atmosphere.

There are two causes to generate greenhouse gases: natural causes and human causes of producing greenhouse gases. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels contribute to emitting greenhouse gases. They also produce greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs). People cut forests for agriculture which also causes global warming. Now, researchers and political leaders are working together to reduce human-induced causes of climate change. They create social awareness to avoid global warming. Social etiquette and social awareness among people can protect the environment from pollution. In a nutshell, greenhouse gases cause global warming and change the climate worldwide.


In conclusion, these nine natural causes of climate change (Solar Variation, Volcanic Eruptions, Axial Tilt, Precession, Eccentricity, Continental Drift, Ocean Current, Natural Forest Fires, and Natural Greenhouse Gases) contribute to change in the global atmosphere. These factors are natural contributors to global warming, change the atmosphere, and change the Earth's environment directly and indirectly.

What are the human causes of climate change?

The Major Human Causes of Climate Change are
  1. Burning Fossil Fuels
  2. Deforestation
  3. Livestock Production
  4. Fluorinated Gases
  5. Chemical Fertilizers
  6. Fluorinated Gases
  7. Industrial Gases
  8. Food Waste
  9. Transport Vehicles.

These are the crucial human activities that cause climate change on the Planet.

 Causes of Climate Change
Human and Natural Causes of Climate Change

 1. Burning Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel burning is the most crucial human cause that enhances the temperature on the Planet. Fossil fuels contain many carbon and hydrogen gases beneath the Earth’s crust. They are made from decomposing animals and plants. The most common examples of fossil fuels are natural gas, bitumen, oil, coal, tar sands, and petroleum. People burn fossil fuels to generate energy for electricity and transportation. Fossil fuels release greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), that trap heat in the atmosphere. So, burning fossil fuels is a catastrophic cause of global warming. They are the source of 80% of Earth’s energy that is not renewable.  The Earth’s average temperature has risen around 1 degree Celsius and sea level. As a result, people experience scorching weather in summer. It is also caused by biodiversity destruction, plant and animal extinction, and global health conditions.

2. Deforestation

Deforestation is another human cause of environmental change on the Planet that occurs in people’s activities. People are directly associated with deforestation, which affects biodiversity and the ecosystem on the Earth. Deforestation means cutting the forest areas by humans. People cut trees in the forest for urbanization, crop cultivation, and mining factors. Since 1960, deforestation has reduced the forest areas on the Earth excessively, which contributes to changing the atmosphere. According to the oxygen cycle, people inhale oxygen and exhale the carbon dioxide that trees consume. On the other hand, trees receive carbon dioxide and release oxygen for the respiration process.

The more trees on the Planet consume the more significant carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to deforestation. Deforestation destroys the carbon stores and releases carbon dioxide on the Planet. It is a primary human cause of rising greenhouse gases and climate change. According to a study in 2019, deforestation is responsible for an increase of 11 percent in carbon dioxide (CO2).

3. Livestock Production

Livestock production is another primary human cause of climate change. It contributes to producing greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Livestock production is the agricultural process of farming domestic animals, including breeding, caring for, and raising them. Nowadays, people farm domestic animals for commercial purposes to produce meat, milk, leather, etc. The most common animals in livestock farms are cows and sheep. These animals generate methane(CH4) when they consume and digest foods. A report shows that cows generate around 150 billion gallons of methane gas daily.

Methane is one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to raising the temperature of the Planet. Livestock production is responsible for producing 14.5 percent of greenhouse gases. Domestic animal farming produces a large carbon footprint that causes climate change. As people are actively associated with livestock, it is optimal to say that livestock production is an essential human cause of climate change.

4. Chemical Fertilizers

Chemical fertilizer is responsible for changing the climate on Earth. People produce chemical fertilizers to use in modern agriculture.

Chemical fertilizers are modern fertilizers formed with chemical syntheses such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, etc. These ingredients contain nutrients for the plants. Fertilizers containing nitrogen produce nitrous oxide emissions. The farmers use chemical fertilizers to get more benefits from the farm. Although these fertilizers help grow plants quickly and produce more corn and fruits, chemical fertilizers adversely affect the environment.

For example, nitrogen-based chemical fertilizers emit nitrous oxide (N2O), known as greenhouse gas(GHG). It is said that nitrous oxide (N2O) is a long-lived greenhouse gas produced by agricultural activities. Chemical fertilizers contain nitrate (NO3) and ammonia (NH4+).  As a result, chemical fertilizer in agriculture generates critical greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). Nitrous oxide (N2O) traps the heat in the atmosphere, allowing shortwave infrared to enter the Earth and obstructing the longwave Infrared from returning toward the sun. The percentage of nitrous oxide in greenhouse gasses is 10-14 percent. People are responsible for producing 80% nitrous oxide through modern agriculture. The scientists warned the modern farmer to reduce chemical fertilizers in agriculture to combat the climate change problem.

5. Fluorinated Gases

Fluorinated gases are also human causes of climate change as people produce these gases for commercial purposes. The most common fluorinated gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), nitrogen difluoride perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). People produce these fluorinated gases as the elements of aerosol cans, air conditions, refrigerators, and so more. These gases are crucial materials for producing semiconductors in the factory.

Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases

  1. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  2. Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
  3. Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)
  4. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

The fluorinated gases are also powerful GHGs that trap temperature in the atmosphere. Fluorinated greenhouse gases, also known as F-gases, are responsible for global warming. According to the report, fluorinated greenhouse gases affect more than 23000 times more global warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).

6. Industrial Gases

Industrial gasses include carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, helium, noble gases, etc. These gases can be produced from two types of human activities: people intentionally produce them and industrial gases emitted from industrial factories. Firstly, people produce these industrial gases in factories for commercial purposes. They compress these gases into liquid in the cylinder to sell them in the market. Secondly, electrical factories generate carbon dioxide and nitrogen when producing goods and energy. In the United States, electricity production factories emit 40 percent carbon dioxide (CO2).

Industrial gases such as carbon dioxide and gaseous nitrogen materials are greenhouse gases that affect ozone depletion. The quantity of industrial gas emissions is increasing due to rising factories globally.

7. Food Waste

Food waste is one of the silent human causes of climate change that many people do not know.  For example, many people waste food intentionally without knowing the negative consequences of food waste. Food waste occurs during processing and distribution from the seller to the buyer. It is estimated that Americans waste around 40 percent of their food yearly. Additionally, Americans waste around 27,000 gallons of water annually by throwing vegetables, fruits, eggs, and beef. Food waste produces methane(CH4) gas when it decomposes in landfills. Methane(CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas that causes global warming and climate change on the Earth. The study shows that around 6-8 percent of methane gas is emitted from wasted food. Therefore, food waste is a significant factor in climate change that many people do not know.

8. Transport Vehicles

Transport vehicles consume fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most devastating greenhouse gas that raises the temperature. It is estimated that vehicles generate around 30 percent of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased rapidly in the last 30 years.

Significance of this Article

This article offers in-depth insights into the natural and human causes of climate change. It also offers how humans can prevent this beautiful world from global warming. International organizations and global leaders highlight this issue. For example, the United Nations schedule for The 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 29) from 11 to 22 November 2024 in Baku, Azerbaijan. People from different groups in society have to come up to prevent global warming. Students can download the pdf.

Natural Causes of Climate Change PDF
Citation For This Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2024). Cause of Climate Change- 9 Natural Causes of Climate Change in 2024. Newsmoor- Educational Website For Online Learning.

Author: M M Kobiruzzaman

M M Kobiruzzaman, Researcher and Content Writer

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