The Planet Is Heating Up—and Fast Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years. We call the result global warming, but it is causing a set of changes to the Earth's climate, or long-term weather patterns, that varies from place to place. As the Earth spins each day, the new heat swirls with it, picking up moisture over the oceans, rising here, settling there. It's changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely upon. What will we do to slow this warming? How will we cope with the changes we've already set into motion? While we struggle to figure it all out, the face of the Earth as we know it—coasts, forests, farms and snow-capped mountains—hangs in the balance.
GLOBAL WARMING is the observed and projected increases in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans..
The scientific consensus is that global warming is occurring and was initiated by human activities, especially those that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
During the 20th century, global surface temperature increased by about 0.74 °C (1.33 °F)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that global surface temperature is likely to rise 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) by 2100
CAUSES 0F GLOBAL WARMING
Global warming is caused by several things, which include the Man-made causes and the natural causes…… The natural causes are the causes created by the nature. MAN MADE CAUSES… Causes probably do the most damage to our planet. Global warming is caused by several, and natural causes.
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants Our ever increasing addiction to electricity from coal burning power plants releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 40% of U.S. CO2 emissions come from electricity production, and burning coal accounts for 93% of emissions from the electric utility industry [EPA, pg. 10]. Every day, more electric gadgets flood the market, and without widespread alternative energy sources, we are highly dependent on burning coal for our personal and commercial electrical supply.
2. Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation Our modern car culture and appetite for globally sourced goods is responsible for about 33% of emissions in the U.S. [EPA pg. 8] With our population growing at an alarming rate, the demand for more cars and consumer goods means that we are increasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing. Our consumption is outpacing our discoveries of ways to mitigate the effects, with no end in sight to our massive consumer culture.
3. Methane emissions from animals, agriculture such as rice paddies, and from Arctic seabeds Methane is another extremely potent greenhouse gas, ranking right behind CO2. When organic matter is broken down by bacteria under oxygen-starved conditions (anaerobic decomposition) as in rice paddies, methane is produced. The process also takes place in the intestines of herbivorous animals, and with the increase in the amount of concentrated livestock production, the levels of methane released into the atmosphere is increasing. Another source of methane is methane clathrate, a compound containing large amounts of methane trapped in the crystal structure of ice. As methane escapes from the Arctic seabed, the rate of global warming will increase significantly.
4. Deforestation, especially tropical forests for wood, pulp, and farmland The use of forests for fuel (both wood and for charcoal) is one cause of deforestation, but in the first world, our appetite for wood and paper products, our consumption of livestock grazed on former forest land, and the use of tropical forest lands for commodities like palm oil plantations contributes to the mass deforestation of our world. Forests remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this deforestation releases large amounts of carbon, as well as reducing the amount of carbon capture on the planet.
5. Increase in usage of chemical fertilizers on croplands In the last half of the 20th century, the use of chemical fertilizers (as opposed to the historical use of animal manure) has risen dramatically. The high rate of application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers has effects on the heat storage of cropland (nitrogen oxides have 300 times more heat-trapping capacity per unit of volume than carbon dioxide) and the run-off of excess fertilizers creates ‘dead-zones’ in our oceans. In addition to these effects, high nitrate levels in groundwater due to over-fertilization are cause for concern for human health.
Effects of Global Warming
Increase in Temperature
-according to the study conducted by NASA, the earth has been warming at the remarkably rapid rate of .36° Fahrenheit (0.2° Celsius) per decade for the past 30 years.
Other effects: On the environment:
melting of glaciers and shrinking of inland bodies of water:
Boulder Glacier 2005 Boulder Glacier 1932
Shrinking of Lake Chad This will lead to severe shortage of fresh water supply
Larsen B Ice sheet (Antarctica)
The melting of ice shelves in Antarctica and other places will result to the rise in sea level worldwide.
Increase of Drought and heat waves
Will result to crop failures and reduced agricultural output that will eventually affect humans
Alteration of the growing season of plants
- Plant phenology, the timing of plant growth and development, is changing in response to global climate change. Changing temperature, soil moisture, nitrogen availability, light, and elevated CO2 are all likely to affect plant phenology.
Destruction of agricultural fields due to natural disasters
Loss of food
intense rains/stronger storms
- Warmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them stronger and potentially more destructive. Even with storms of the same intensity, future hurricanes will cause more damage as higher sea levels create more storm surges, flooding, and erosion.
On economy -the effects spell one thing for the countries of the world: economic consequences. Hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage, diseases cost money to treat and control and conflicts exacerbate all of these.
Is Global Warming Fact or Fiction? Not everyone is ready to believe that global warming is actually happening. In fact, the world is divided into two groups - people who understand the hazards of global warming and people who feel that the whole issue of global warming is a hoax. Both are armed with substantial amount of claims and arguments to support their stand and oppose the stand of others. The biggest global warming fiction is perhaps that human induced global warming has a negligible share in increasing global temperatures and climate change.
The truth is that the amount of carbon dioxide generated by human actions is too much to term it 'insignificant' or 'negligible' as the global warming skeptics do. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, have formed a layer in the atmosphere. As the sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, it is trapped by these gases and due to this trapping of sunlight, global temperatures are rising. The expected temperature rise is predicted to be somewhere between 1.4 degree Celsius to 5.8 degree Celsius by the end of this century. This is a significant increase considering that a fall of 5 degree Celsius triggered an ice age on this planet some centuries ago. A rise by 5 degrees is bound to trigger some calamities on the planet by causing a drastic climate change that will wipe off several plant and animal species from the planet.
Want to help stop global warming?
Things WE can do NOW
Educate yourself about global warming. The more facts that you have, as to what mainstream science says about it, the more you can persuade others to make simple yet effective changes in daily behaviour. Get Educated
A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Plants like bamboo grow faster and produce 35% more oxygen than trees like oak or birch, and require fewer chemicals and care. Plant a tree
Even when electronic devices are turned off, they use energy. Simply turning off television, DVD player, stereo and computer when you’re not using them will save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Get into the habit of switching the power off before you go to bed. Turn off electronic devices
Skipping meat one day per week would help save over 35,000 gallons of water. Cutting meat out of your diet entirely would help save 5,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year. Livestock are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation. This is due to the large amounts of petroleum used in creating ammonium nitrate fertilizer . Try Meatless Mondays
You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste. Recycle more
Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Change a light
Walk, bike, or take mass transit more often. You’ll save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you don’t drive! Drive less
Global warming is a deep rooted problem, and only a collective effort of humanity can reduce its effects. Global warming won't disappear overnight, but if each of us will follow the measures mentioned above we can all contribute to prevent global warming. For us and for our future generations, each of us must make the decision to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent global warming,