Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans. a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate. There is great debate among many people, and sometimes in the news, on whether global warming is real (some call it a hoax). But climate scientists looking at the data and facts agree the planet is warming.
Global warming describes the current rise in the averagetemperature of Earth’s air and oceans. Global warming is often described as the most recent example of climate change.
Earth’s climate has changed many times. Our planet has gone through multiple ice ages, in which ice sheets and glaciers covered large portions of the Earth. It has also gone through warm periods when temperatures were higher than they are today.
Facts About Global Warming is Global warming is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to greenhouse gases that collect in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket. Greenhouse gases keep heat close to the earth’s surface making it livable for humans and animals. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 800,000 years. Though Americans make up just 4 percent of the world’s population, we produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning — by far the largest share of any country.
Past changes in Earth’s temperature happened very slowly, over hundreds of thousands of years. However, the recent warming trend is happening much faster than it ever has. Natural cycles of warming and cooling are not enough to explain the amount of warming we have experienced in such a short time—only human activities can account for it. Scientists worry that the climate is changing faster than some living things can adapt to it.
The increased volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing, agriculture, and other human activities. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate carrying out global warming research have recently predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100. Changes resulting from global warming may include rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps, as well as an increase in occurrence and severity of storms and other severe weather events. The temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased by nearly 3°C in the region in the last 50 years, the only comparable regions are in the Arctic. The temperature of the rest of Antarctica shows indications of rising at a slower rate.
Greenhouse gases let the sun’s light shine onto the Earth’s surface, but they trap the heat that reflects back up into the atmosphere. In this way, they act like the insulating glass walls of a greenhouse. The greenhouse effect keeps Earth’s climate comfortable. Without it, surface temperatures would be cooler by about 33 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit), and many life forms would freeze.
People have further increased the levels of greenhouse gases in the air by changing the landscape. Plants take up carbon dioxide to make food in a process called photosynthesis. Once cut down, plants can no longer take in carbon dioxide. One result: This gas can begin building up in the air instead of fueling the growth of plants. So by cutting down trees and forests for farmland and other human uses, more carbon dioxide also enters the atmosphere.
Ice sheets and glaciers advance and retreat naturally. As Earth’s temperature has changed, the ice sheets have grown and shrunk, and sea levels have fallen and risen.Ancient corals found on land in Florida, Bermuda, and the Bahamas show that the sea level must have been 5 to 6 meters (16-20 feet) higher 130,000 years ago than it is today. Earth doesn’t need to become oven-hot to melt the glaciers. Northern summers were just 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5-9 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer during the time of those ancient fossils than they are today.
Nobody can look into a crystal ball and predict the future with certainty. However, scientists can make estimates about future population growth, greenhouse gas emissions, and other factors that affect climate. They can enter those estimates into computer models to find out the most likely effects of global warming.
The IPCC predicts that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase over the next few decades. As a result, they predict the average global temperature will increase by about 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. Even if we reduce greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions to their 2000 levels, we can still expect a warming of about 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade.
The biggest effort so far has been the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and went into effect in 2005. By the end of 2009, 187 countries had signed and ratified the agreement. Under the protocol, 37 industrialized countries and the European Union have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
There are several ways that governments, industries, and individuals can reduce greenhouse gases. We can improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses. We can improve the fuel efficiency of cars and other vehicles. We can also support development of alternative energy sources, such as solar power and biofuels, that don’t involve burning fossil fuels.
Changes in farming practices could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, farms use large amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizers, which increase nitrogen oxide emissions from the soil. The way farmers handle animal manure can also have an effect on global warming. When manure is stored as liquid or slurry in ponds or tanks, it releases methane. When it dries as a solid, however, it does not.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is vitally important. However, the global temperature has already changed and will most likely continue to change for years to come. The IPCC suggests that people explore ways to adapt to global warming as well as try to slow or stop it.
The warming of the Arctic regions affects everyone. It is our duty to help reduce the amount of global warming that takes place, and the only way we can do this is to stop production of green house gases now. If we wait to stop these emissions, it will take even longer for the world to heal itself.