Global Warming magazine article

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Global Warming magazine article

  1. 1. Investigate the main causes of climate change and evaluate the possible solutions. Alsha Patel
  2. 2. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 What is Climate Change? Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel - s16522 Global Warming and the Green House Effect Climate change is a natural process in which over a long period of time the earth’s average atmospheric temperature changes. It is a significant variation in the average state of the climate. This change is any multi-decadal or longer alteration in one or more physical, chemical and/or biological components of the climate system. Climate Change is easily identified in weather conditions by acknowledging changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other similar indicators that suggest variability. Climate variability can then be defined as changes that occur on shorter time periods. Over the past few centuries’ humans have played an immense part in speeding up this process by releasing large amounts of green house gasses into the atmosphere. This is done by burning lots of fossil fuels in order to produce energy. Greenhouse gasses act like a blanket over the earth trapping heat from escaping the atmosphere eventually resulting the planet to warm. This phenomenon is commonly known as the “greenhouse effect”. This effect plays a huge role in global warming which is one of the major participants in climate change. In the last 100 years or so the earths average temperature went up by 1.4°F and is anticipated to rise another 2°F to 11°F over the next century. This drastic change in the atmosphere and will have major effects. Global Warming is the earth’s temperature gradually rising. Although it is a natural process many other factors add to enhance it. The green house gasses on the earth act as a protective layer preventing our planet from getting too hot and maintaining a regular temperature. However the burning of fossil fuels result in the production of vast amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These gasses add to the ozone layer (greenhouse layer) and make it thicker. This still allows solar radiation to enter the earth’s atmosphere however reduces the amount that then escapes. Over a long period of time the climate on earth gets warmer as less heat can escape and this situation continues to get worse with the increasing production of greenhouse gasses. This change in our climate may result in dramatic effects on the environment such as the melting of ice cape and other extreme weather patterns.
  3. 3. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 Causes 9. Air pollution Greenhouse  effect  is  the  process  in  which  the  atmosphere  of  the   Earth  trap   some   of   the   heat   coming   from   the   sun,   making   the   Earth   warm   but   due   to   burning   fuels,   cutting   trees,  the   concentration  of   heat   on  Earth   is  increased   to   abnormal  levels   making  greenhouse  effect  as  one  of  the  major  causes  of  global   warming.  Carbon   Dioxide,   methane,   nitrous   oxide   are   the   greenhouse   gases   which   helps   to   keep   the   Earth   warm.   It   is   a   natural   phenomenon   that   takes   place   with   the   adequate   concentrations   of   the   greenhouse   gases.   But   when   the   concentration   of   these   gases   rises,   they   disturb   the   climatic   conditions,   making   the   Earth   more   warm.   These   gases   are   not   able   to   escape,   which   is   the   cause   of   worldwide   increase   in   temperature.  So  the  balance  of  carbon  dioxide  and  other  gases   should   be   maintained   so   that   it   does   not   become   the   major   reason  of  global  warming.   10. Greenhouse effect The   ozone   layer   is   the   layer   outside   atmosphere   which   protects  the  surface  of  the  Earth  from  the  harmful  Ultra-­‐violet   and   infrared   radiations   causing   dangerous   diseases   like   skin   cancer.   Ozone   layer  depletion  is   also   one   of   the   causes   of   global   warming;  entering   of   harmful   gases  which   helps   in   heating   up   the   Earth   but   the   other   greenhouse   gases   like   carbon   dioxide,   methane,   that   helps   in   heating   up   and  also   tears  up  the  ozone  layer  making  an  “Ozone  Hole”.  Mostly  the   CFCs   (chlorofluorocarbon)   damages   the   ozone   layer.   So   the   ozone  layer  depletes  due  to  these  gases  which  allow  the  UV   radiations   to   enter   the   Earth   making   the   Earth   more   warm   than   normal   and   affects   the   temperature    leading   to   global   warming.   It   is   interesting   to   note   that   ‘Ozone   Holes’   are   created   mainly   on   the   poles   which   is   the   reason   of   melting   glaciers,  increase  in  the  water  level  of  the  sea  and  of  course   significant  rise  in  temperature.   8. Depletion of Ozone layer The   harmful   gases   emitted   from   the   vehicles   and   factories   and  the  greenhouse  gases  cause  pollution  in  the  air  and  these   gases  get  captured  in  the  atmosphere.  The  smoke,  gather  up   in  the  atmosphere  forming  clouds  full  of  harmful  gases  which   later  on  fall  as  acid  rain  which  destroys  the  buildings  and  also   lead  to  many  dangerous  diseases  like  cancer,  skin  burns  and   the  death  of  plants.  Plants  provide  us  with  the  oxygen  and  if   they   die,   the   level   of   carbon   dioxide   will   increase   in   the   atmosphere   which   is   a   harmful   gas.   These   gases   also   emit   heat  which  increases  the  temperature  of  the  Earth  (following   the   same   pattern   as   in   the   above   paragraph)   and   causes   global  warming.   There are many causes as to why climate change takes place. The majority of these are ways in which carbon dioxide is emitted to the ozone layer. It is important that people recognize why the climate changes in order to know what action could be taken towards it. On the right there is a countdown showing the top ten main causes of global warming and climate change. Carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere absorb and re-reradiate heat from the earth to bring out the green house effect. Adding more CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels may upset the natural balance. As the earth warms a little due to the increased CO2 in the atmosphere, a little more water evaporates from the sea. This further increases global warming. Methane Methane is released from paddy fields, farm animals and natural gas fields. Its concentration is increasing at about 1.2 percent each year. Nitrous oxide Nitrous oxide is released as a result of the use of nitrogenous fertilizers. Chlorofluorocarbons Chlorofluorocarbons more commonly known as CFG’s have been reduced and will cease altogether because of it’s damaging effect on the ozone layer. Chemical Causes:
  4. 4. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 Volcanic  eruptions  is  also  one  of  the  major  reason  of  global   warming.   These   eruptions   contain   dust   particles   and   gases   like  sulphur  dioxide  which  stay  in  the  atmosphere  for  years   and  block  the  sunlight  from  reaching  the  surface  of  the  Earth   making  it  cool.  These  dust  particles  affects  the  balance  of  the   atmosphere   and   becomes   a   contributing   factor   of   global   warming.  Though  volcanic  eruptions  cannot  be  controlled  but   efforts  can  be  made  to  decrease  the  sulphur  dioxide  levels.   7. Volcanic Eruptions 5. Deforestation Melting   of   the   glaciers   is   a   natural   phenomena.   Large   mountains   of   ice   melt   due   to   warmer   temperature   of   the   Earth  so  that  new  ice  can  accumulate.  These  ice  mountains   helps  to  equalize  the  temperature  by  beating  up  the  heat.  But   there  is  excess  melting  of  the  ice  due  to  the  greenhouse  gases   in  the  atmosphere.  These  gases  contribute  to  the  melting  of   the  ice  at  faster  rate  which  leads  to  increased  sea  levels  and   eventually   floods.   If   the   temperature   kept   on   rising   then   there  is  a  chance  that  glaciers  might  disappear  which  will  lead   to  flooding  of  earth  and  destruction  of  land  resources.   6. Melting Of Glaciers More   and   more   industries   and   factories   are   set   up   in   this   modern  world  to  meet  the  needs  of  human  beings.  These  big   factories  need  large  amount  of  fuels  like  coal,  petroleum  for   power   and   electricity   required   by   the   machines   to   work.   Burning   of   these   fuels   releases   large   amount   of   carbon   dioxide   which   absorbs   the   harmful   radiations   from   the   sun   making   it   warm,   hence   global   warming.   The   smoke   that   is   produced  from  these  factories  is  mixed  with  the  air,  making  it   harmful  for  breathing.  As  written  earlier  developing  countries   are  the  major  contributors  towards  this.   4. Industrial Advancements Plants  give  us  oxygen  which  is  the  most  important  thing  for   our   survival.   They   undergo   a   process   of   photosynthesis   in   which  they  give  out  oxygen  and  take  carbon  dioxide.  Plants   consume  the  air,  sunlight  and  the  carbon  dioxide  we  breathe   out  to  make  food  and  oxygen.  So  if  trees  are  cut,  plants  will   not  produce  oxygen  and  the  concentration  of  carbon  dioxide   will  increase.  Increase  of  carbon  dioxide  in  the  air  is  harmful   for  human  beings  and  also  disturbs  the  water  cycle  and  hence   the   total   imbalance   of   our   ecosystem.   So   being   one   of   the   greenhouse   gases   it   will   lead   to   global   warming.   It’s   very   much   like   not   parking   your   car   under   a   tree,   the   car   gets   excessively  heated  up,  making  it  uncomfortable  to  sit  in  the   vehicle.   The  use  of  artificial  chemicals  for  the  crops  has  become  one   of   the   reason   for   global   warming.These   chemicals   are   very   dangerous   not   only   for   Earth   but   also   for   human   beings   too.  These  fertilizers  are  rich  in  nitrogen  oxide  which  is  even   more   dangerous   than   carbon   dioxide.  These   oxides   of   nitrogen  destroys  the  ozone  layer  even  more  faster  than  any   other   greenhouse   gas   and  hence   let   the   harmful  ultraviolet   rays   enter   the   atmosphere,   making   the   Earth   warm   and   leading  to  global  warming.   3. Chemical Fertilizers Fossil  fuels  are  burnt  on  a  day-­‐to-­‐day  basis  and  they  contain   high   percentage   of   carbon,   coal   and   petroleum   and   many   other  gases.  So  burning  of  these  fuels  releases  large  amount   of  extra  carbon   which   has   been   entombed   inside   the   Earth   millions  of  years  ago.  The  carbon  that  is  emitted  by  burning   these  fuels  is  the  extra  carbon  which  is  not  a  part  of  the  cycle.   So   carbon   dioxide   being   the   greenhouse   gas   is   provided   in   excess   in   the   atmosphere   which   again   leads   to   global   warming.   2. Burning of fossil fuels It   has   been   said   that   human   activities   are  primarily   responsible   for   global   warming.   These   activities   are   destroying  the  Earth  at  a  faster  rate.  The  emission  of  carbon   dioxide   from   the   vehicles,   the   burning   of   the   fuels,   cutting   down   of   trees   and   forest   to   build   buildings   and   malls,   the   dumping  of  trash  everywhere  and  not  recycling  it,  excessive   use   of   plastics,   smoke   from   the   factories,   etcetra.   All   these   activities   performed   by   human   beings   are   major   factors   of   the  polluted  gases  in  the  air  and  the  warming  up  of  the  Earth   which  destroys  the  ecological  balance  of  the  nature  leadingto   global  warming.   1. Human Activities
  5. 5. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 Extreme Weather Conditions Winter in Canada 2014 This winter the temperature in Canada fell down to a record- breaking -53 ºC. That is even colder than the weather on Vast crop failures According to recent research, there is a 90% chance that 3 billion people worldwide will have to choose between moving their families to milder climes and going hungry due to climate change within 100 years. Climate change is expected to have the most severe impact on water supplies. “Shortages in future are likely to threaten food production, reduce sanitation, hinder economic development and damage ecosystems. It causes more violent swings between floods and droughts Extinction of species According to research published in Nature, by 2050, rising temperatures could lead to the extinction of more than a million species. And because we can’t exist without a diverse population of species on Earth, this is scary news for humans. This 6th mass extinction is really just a continuation of the Holocene extinction, which began at the end of the last ice age and has resulted in the extinction of nearly all of the Earth’s mega fauna animals, largely as a result of human- expansion. Climate change now represents at least as great a threat to the number of species surviving on Earth as habitat-destruction and modification. Widespread species loss and lists of endangered species just keep growing. This is a concerning matter on many fronts. Increasing Severity of storms Scientists have come up with the firmest evidence so far that global warming will significantly increase the intensity of the most extreme storms worldwide. The maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones have increased significantly since 1981, according to research published in Nature this week. And the upward trend, thought to be driven by rising ocean temperatures, is unlikely to stop at any time soon. Effects The planet is warming and there are already several noticeable effects. The most common one is that the temperature rise has resulting ice caps from melting. This is taking place at both the north and south poles. Due to this the sea level is rising resulting more floods and storm surges everywhere. This is not even the worst; if the sea level continues to rise many cities will end up underwater. The melting of the ice caps also creates an imbalance in the fresh water to salt water ratio. This has a huge impact on the current and the water flow. On the right are just some of the many effects of climate change. Due to the changes in our climate the planet has been experiencing lot of extreme weather. There has also been an increase in the average precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) in the world. Some of the recent occurrences of severe weather include: Typhoon Haiyan This massive cyclone hit the Philippines killing 4460 people. This typhoon’s strength managed to fit into category 5 making it the strongest ever tropical cyclone. It had winds up to 235mph. Flooding in England February 2014 in England had been quite tough with sever flooding everywhere with drafts reaching up to 85mph. There had also been lots of rainfall simply making the situation a lot worse.
  6. 6. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 Government Action Individual Initiatives suggested by the HK Government: • switching to compact fluorescent lamps; • turning off electrical appliances when they are not in use; • maintaining temperature setting of air-conditioner at 25.5°C during summer months; • recycling use of waste material as far as possible; • reducing each shower by 1 minute. Climate change has had a huge impact on the environment of Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong Observatory, climate change in Hong Kong can be attributed to both global warming caused by increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, and localized urbanization which leads to the formation of what is called an 'urban heat island' where temperatures are higher than their rural surroundings. Urban heat island is caused by a combination of factors including changes in surface as vegetation is replaced by concrete and tarmac, reduced air ventilation due to buildings, anthropogenic heat production and motor vehicle emissions. The temperature is predicted to continue rising resulting longer summers with hot humid days. Considering the weather patterns in Hong Kong by 2100 there will be less than one cold day a year (12 °C or below) meaning that eventually winter will disappear in HK. On the left is a graph predicting the average temperature in the future based on the temperature rise from the past. On the right is another graph presenting how the number of cold days in Hong Kong will gradually decrease and eventually disappear at around 2040. The Hong Kong Observatory predicts that by the end of this century the average annual rainfall will increase by 11%. Urbanization is one of the possible causes for the rainfall's increasing trend and the regional variation in Hong Kong. The higher temperature in urban areas enhances convective activities and the increase in concentration of suspended particulates from urban activities also favors the formation and development of rain-bearing clouds. Climate Change in Hong Kong As Hong Kong is a financial centre and service-based city, it does not consists of energy-intensive industries. Two major contributors of greenhouse gases in Hong Kong are power generation and the transport sector. In addressing climate change, the Government has undertaken several initiatives. Buildings make up 90% of electrical consumption in Hong Kong. Energy efficiency can be improved in order to reduce HK’s carbon footprint. There are four main electrical factors in a building (air-conditioning, lift and escalators, lighting and electrical) and the Building Energy Efficiency ordinance states commenced more eco-friendly electrical building installations in both new and existing buildings. In 2008 a mandatory Energy Efficiency labeling scheme was introduced where all electrical products had a label informing the consumer of its electrical consumption. In terms of transportation, the Government is aware that the use of our extensive and energy-efficient public transport system and the use of cleaner vehicles can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is committed to further expanding and upgrading our public transport infrastructure with an emphasis on railways, and encouraging the use of cleaner vehicles. The government has also been promoting the use of renewable energy in power generation to reduce GHG emissions. All coal-fired generating units had also been banned in 1997 in favor of natural gas. This reduced the amount of greenhouse gas by 50% whilst still producing the same amount of energy.
  7. 7. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 Reducing tropical deforestation can significantly lower global warming emissions and — together with efforts to reduce emissions from fossil fuels — plays an integral role in a comprehensive long-term solution to global warming. Prepare for impacts Certain consequences of global warming are now inevitable, including sea level rise, more frequent and severe heat waves, growing wildfire risks, and an increase in extreme weather events. These were once largely preventable, but foot-dragging by our leaders and policy makers over the past two decades means that we must now confront the dangerous new reality of rising temperatures and the serious impacts that accompany them. Individual Amendments Everyone can make a difference by following a few simple guidelines. Although it may feel like a small change if everybody followed it there would be a significant improvement in the world’s climate. • Avoid taking baths. Take shorter showers. • Remember to turn of the tap while brushing your teeth • Recycle all possible waste • Switch to fluorescent light bulbs. • Switch off the lights when leaving the room. • Turn off any electronics when not in use. • Avoid driving a car or taking a taxi. Use public transportation as much as possible. Or even try walking to your destination. • Donate unwanted items to charity instead of throwing them away. • Buy local products, as it requires a lot of fuel to ship them from places. • The production of meat requires a lot of energy and water to eat less meat. • Use both sides of a piece of paper and then recycle it for complete usage. • Try not to use plastic bags when buying groceries. Instead bring your own. • Use rechargeable batteries. Possible Solutions There is no single solution to global warming however there are many little ways to improve the way we do things by making them more energy efficient. Some of the ways we can solve it are: 1. Encouraging green transportation (e.g. battery powered cars) 2. Phasing out fossil fuel electricity and using alternatives (e.g. solar panels, wind turbines, hydro energy etc.) 3. Managing forests and agriculture by planting more trees 4. Developing and deploying new low carbon technologies 5. Ensuring sustainable development in the world to prevent damaging the world. Reduce Emissions In order to effectively address global warming, we must significantly reduce the amount of heat-trapping emissions we are putting into the atmosphere. As individuals, we can help by taking action to reduce our personal carbon emissions. But to fully address the threat of global warming, we must demand action from our elected leaders to support and implement a comprehensive set of climate solutions. Stop Deforestation Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions — equivalent to the annual tailpipe emissions of 600 million average U.S. cars.
  8. 8. Monday, March 10, 2014 Alsha Patel – s16522 I believe that my actions have a huge impact on the climate and that I should be much more aware of the various small signs that point towards it. I try my best to be the most environmentally friendly possible by following the possible solutions. Us as humans are responsible for what is happening and eventually it will be us who is affected. I feel it is important to bring forth this issue and acknowledge it before it is too late. One way to do that is to raise awareness of it by informing and reminding people of the serious damage that is already occurred. In Hong Kong we don’t experience too much extreme weather although our climate continues to get warmer. I think it is time for us to stop our planet from getting any warmer. We need to be much more sustainable with our resources and remember to reuse an item until it is completely worn out, reduce our waste and consumption and recycle all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum. Climate Change and me STOP OUR PLANET FROM MELTING AWAY ~ BIBLIOGRAPHY ~ "50 Ways to Help the Planet." 50 Ways to Help the Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014. <http://www.50waystohelp.com>. BBC. "What is Global Warming?." BBC News. BBC, 10 Feb. 2001. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/find_out/guides/world/global_warming/newsid_1575000/157 5441.stm>. "Climate Change." GovHK:. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. <http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/environment/global/climate.htm>. "Climate Change." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange>. "Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet." Global Climate Change. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. <http://climate.nasa.gov>. European Commision. "What's causing climate change?." Climate Action. European Commission, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/brief/causes/index_en.htm>. "Global Warming Solutions." Global Warming Solutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. <http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-solutions/>. "Global Warming: Confronting the Realities of Climate Change." Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/>. "Global warming." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming>.
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