We all know that an accumulation of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere is causing the surface temperature to heat up - by an average of 0.8°C over the past century, to be exact - and this has been linked to more frequent and extreme weather events. But how can such a tiny increase in temperature over such a long period of time have such a significant effect on something as ubiquitious as the weather? As the latest episode of MinuteEarth explains above, that 0.8°C is only a fraction of the whole story - 1 percent of it, to be exact.
Turns out, that 0.8°C increase in temperature only amounts to 1 percent of the extra energy being that's been absorbed by Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years. As Henry explains, a few percent of this energy has been absorbed by the land, but a whole lot of it has been absorbed by the oceans. "That increase in ocean heat content is the energy increase equivalent of an atomic bomb exploding every second for the last 100 years," he says. So…. yikes.
All that extra heat given off by the oceans means the atmosphere above them can pick up more water than they used to, which means heavier rains and snowfall than ever before. And that increase in land temperature from the energy absorption is doing the same thing - the atmosphere above the land is picking up more water than ever before too, which is making dry lands drier, and droughts harsher, says the video above.
Another effect of warming oceans is the production of random hotspots on the surface, which drive the formation of the biggest storms, typhoons, and floods, which we've seen evidence of recent in the form of Hurricane Sandy and super-typhoon Haiyan. So I guess you could say that climate change is a whole lot of hot air… but that doesn't exactly make it bogus. Watch the latest episode of MinuteEarth above to find out more.