Millie HennickJuly 24, 201811071
Man-made climate change is here. Global Warming is the term used to describe the rise in the average global temperatures above those temperatures predicted from the patterns of data collected over the past years. The effect of global warming has a significant impact on everything from unpredictable weather patterns and cycles to the rapid melting of the polar ice caps and as such global warming is disturbing the natural ecosystem of the Earth.
Most scientists agree that the Earth’s greatest threat to global warming is an increased concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other types of upper atmospheric pollutants as a direct result of burning fossil fuels. Scientists also generally agree that the use of renewable energy sources (including solar, wind and biomass) as an energy resource, is not only cleaner and greener for the planet with regards to most fossil fuel pollutants, but its continuous use represents a closed-loop and balanced carbon cycle with regards to the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The most obvious effect of global warming is that the Earth is getting warmer every day as the average temperature of the planet slowly increases. We have all seen on the TV and news channels the melting of the polar ice caps as the temperature rises by about one degree Fahrenheit each year. This melting of the polar ice caps deposits enormous quantities of liquid water directly into the sea, increasing sea levels around the globe. Normally, snow and ice reflect most of the sunlight from its surface. Since polar ice caps are covered in snow and ice, they can, therefore, reflect a very high percentage of the solar radiation that falls on its surface.
Another effect of global warming is climate change. The greenhouse effect threatens to change the entire global climate due to a rise in the average global and regional temperatures, with some regional increases more significant than others. This will, of course, have an unwelcoming effect on agricultural and economic activities around the world which depend on a constant climate, predictable summer and winter seasons and a healthy amount of rainfall throughout the year. Consequently, any changes in regional climates along with rises in sea level, of any magnitude will inevitably disrupt the economic life of the planet. Global warming could result in the permanent displacement of millions of people.
Most of the effects of global warming and climate change are a result of man’s activities. It may seem obvious that burning fossil fuels is driving global warming, or at very least, making global warming worse than it would otherwise be. But recent climatology studies have shown that the sun undergoes an 11-year sunspot cycle which can have a definitive effect upon the global climate.
Global warming and climate change create variations in the Earth’s atmosphere in which the average temperature of the Earth rises, melting ice caps, rising sea levels and has a negative effect on human activity. While the Earth’s weather may appear to be unpredictable and constantly changing, from a climatic point of view, the Earth’s weather patterns with regards to average temperature, days of sunlight, amount of rainfall, etc. are relatively stable and predictable throughout the year. The constant burning of petroleum oil, natural gas, coal and other such non-renewable sources produces large amounts of toxic smoke which pollutes the atmosphere and air we breath resulting in the unwanted effects of global warming. One of these effects is the production of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas is a gas, such as carbon dioxide or methane, that is added to the Earth’s atmosphere by human actions. These gases trap heat and contribute to global warming. The Kyoto Protocol, which is an agreement reached by many nations around the world, both developed and developing, for a reduction in the use and burning of fossil fuels intended to reduce the growth of CO2 global greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow or prevent global warming.
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