Global Warming: Explained


Global Warming (also known as Climate Change) is an increase in average temperature of the earth; it causes the earth to become warmer and warmer. This occurs when carbon dioxide and other air pollutanta collect in the atmosphere. Since 1979, global average land temperatures have increased about twice as fast as global average ocean temperatures.

Greenhouse Effect:

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It has become clear that humans have caused most of the past centuries warming by releasing heat-trapping as we power our modern lives. These are called greenhouse gasses, and their levels are higher now than any time in the last 800,000 years.

Greenhouse effect is the natural phenomenon that allows our planet to maintain the necessary conditions to harbor life. The atmosphere captures some of the sun's rays that reach the earth's crust, keeping them inside to get an average temperature of 15 0C. If the atmosphere did not catch any of these rays that bounce off the surface, the average temperature of the Earth would be -18 0C. The atmosphere is composed of various natural gases, of which nitrogen, oxygen and argon constitute the 99.93%. However, there are other gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone which have a greater impact on the greenhouse effect. Moreover, artificial gases called chlorofluorocarbons are also present in the atmosphere.

The Impact:

Climate Change has resulted in recent fires, floods and natural disasters. In Bangladesh, homes have been destroyed by the ocean moving into land. Additionally, in California, there have been fires spreading across large forests - this has put many innocent lives at risk. Global Warming has also affected storm formations. As temperatures rise, it has increased the number of intense storms. If more water vapor evaporates into the atmosphere, there will be more tropical storms - hurricanes - because water vapor is the fuel for storms.

Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. In Montana's Glacier National Park the number of glaciers has declined to fewer than 30 from more than 150 in 1910. Much of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. Global sea levels are rising 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, and the rise is occurring at a faster rate in recent years.

Rising temperatures are affecting wildlife and their habitats. Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, where some populations on the western peninsula have collapsed by 90 percent or more.

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