The topic “global warming” has been top in the media, books, journals, conferences, amongst others, for the past couple of years now. Unfortunately, a recognizable number of people cannot explain what it is. Since the universe came into existence, it has gone through a number of climatic changes, having cooling and warming and cooling effects due to a shift in its orbit. To add insult to injury, humanity has constantly influenced the Earth’s climatic changes in the past century (Riebeek, 2010). If it were possible, those who lived in the 19th century could attest that the climate in those days is not as the one being experienced today. The weather is rapidly changing from worse to worst. When it is cold, it becomes extremely cold and when it is hot, it cause death is some places. When did the rain start beating us? The following discussion tries to explain the facts of global warming. However, it will not go into the detailed statistics and all the facts due to a limitation in time and space. As much as some people may deny it, the earth’s climate is changing. Global warming is a fact and not a hoax.
Global warming is the unusual rapid increase of the temperatures on the earth’s surface. The greatly recognized cause of this, are the greenhouse gases emitted after the burning of fossils. The earth’s temperatures begin with the sun. About 30% of the sunlight reflects back to space. This is caused by things such as clouds and ice. Most of the 70% that remains is taken up by the land and oceans. Whatever else that remains is taken up by the atmosphere (Riebeek, 2010). That which is absorbed by the sun is what heats the planet. The heat energy radiated from the water and the rocks is released in to the atmosphere where most of it is taken up by water vapor and gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which are green hose products. When these gases take up the energy, their molecules act like heaters, which continue to emit energy long after the fire is off. The molecules’ radiation heats the surface of the earth and the lower atmosphere thus increasing the heat.
Evidence obtained from ocean sediments, tree rings, coral reefs, amongst others, gives proof that climatic changes occurred in the past too. According to the global models, some past days were much warmer than what we are experiencing today. Those natural factors that contributed to the climatic change in those days are still there but their effects cannot compare to the experience that is there today.
Among what NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) satellites monitor and record are the ocean surface temperatures, atmospheric aerosols, the sun’s and earth’s radiation, the atmosphere gases, the sea level, the extension of the ice sheets, just to mention but a few.
If an action is not urgently taken, the concentration of the gases from the greenhouses will continue to shoot up. It is feared that between 2oC and 6oC of temperatures will shoot up by the time we wind up this century. This is cannot be compared the fact that it has taken the planet approximately 5,000 years in order to get 5 degrees warm. Even if there were a reduction in the gases being emitted, the warming would continue because the earth is not yet adjusted to the changes imposed by humanity. Two hundred and forty people out of a million died because of extreme weather conditions in the 1920s. These included drought, floods, earthquakes, landslide, just to mention but a few (Berg, 2011).
Many articles have been written claiming that global warming has not had any part to play in the temperature changes taking place today. The writers believe that the high concentration of Carbon dioxide has nothing to do with the wearing out of the ozone layer thus the effects it causes. David Morrison says, “These letters were so filled with misconceptions and false arguments that it is hard to know where to begin”, (Morrison, 2011). He continues and says that the fact that 99% of climate scientists have evidence in the reality of global warming should be taken seriously. If global warming is not responsible for the polar melt down and the extreme weather conditions, then what is? These questions have not been answered by the one of a contrary opinion..
Apart from the burn of fossil fuels, other activities have been found to make agreat contribution to these unusual experiences. The gases released into the air from cars’ exhaust pipes are not only harmful to the respiratory system but to the Earth as well. Statistics proves that the cars’ emissions and other outsourced goods add to 33% of the emissions in the United States. The population is rapidly growing and so is the demand for the cars (Markham, 2009).
The fertilizers, chemicals, and other farm inputs used make a contribution to the global warming. These inputs contain methane. When there is a decomposition of organic matter, there is a release of methane. This methane is also found herbivorous animals intestines. A resent survey shows that the keeping of farm animals has been on the increase in the recent. The gases released are absorbed by the rain, which falls as acid rain. This rain is known not to be good for the soil (Markham, 2009)
Some very serious effects have been seen due Global Warming. Unfortunately, they will get worse. For example, as the northern countries’ continue to go up, insects carrying diseases continue to move to that direction. For this reason, scientists believe that diseases such as malaria will not be completely gone in some countries. Some bird species that carry human pathogens have adapted to these changes in order to be more effective in transmitting diseases. This is by changing their breeding and dates.
Hurricanes and Tsunamis are on the increase now more than ever. That one is a fact. The speed of the wind of the tropical cyclones has rapidly risen at an alarming rate since 1981. The sea level has also been detected to increase. This is due to the ice melting ice in the Greenland and the Antarctica. Millions will be displaced in some in some years to come. The Maldives are already in search of a new place to live (Chan & Kin, 2004).
The drought spells are much longer and when it finally rains, the rain causes deaths. Africa is feared to be worst hit by the droughts. Earthquakes and landslides have left many dead. Another consequence is the world’s economic strain. Hurricanes Drought, floods, diseases, tsunamis, and other calamities cause governments billions of dollars.
The polar ice caps melt down is feared to do more than just raise sea levels. It will imbalance the global ecosystem by neutralizing the oceans’ salty water. This will make the desalinization of the gulf current mix up the currents of the ocean currents, which act as temperature control. The only thing that will act as a reflector of the sun is the ocean after the caps are gone. Darker colors absorb the sun more. This will increase the warming of the Earth (Morrison, 2011).
According to an article published in Nature, the increase in temperatures could cause millions of species extinction by the year 2050. Humans depend on these species. Their disappearance will also mean that there is a danger in the human race. If push comes to shove, population of corals will decrease by the year 2100. This is a threat for the life in the oceans as most species rely on the coral reefs for survival.
The bad news is that nothing much can be done to stop the warming. However, humans are doing something in order to adapt to it. According to the International Disaster Database, the 1920 figure went down to three deaths per a million. In the 20th century, risk deaths from drought reduced by 99% and the risk deaths from floods dropped to 89% (Riebeek, 2010). Countries are being urged to decrease their fossil fuel emission, and especially the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Governments have started to seclude a percentage of their income in order to use it in catering for the disasters that come because of global warming. For example, they have better transportation to reach the affected areas, recruit a lot of workforce, and join up with other countries in times of such crisis (Berg, 2011).
Global warming is not going to go away any time soon. Whether one accepts it or not, the effects are still being felt globally. Hurricanes are being seen, droughts experienced and the results are quite “loud and clear”. The only possible solution is to stop talking and start acting. Whether it is finding adapting to the effects or plainly finding the remedies, much talk and debates have been done. The whole world is in danger and the effects are on the rise. If we do not take care, we might become as history as the dinosaurs in a few decades to come.
It is only advisable that those who are in doubt be doing something that will help to boost the current situation as they find out the real cause of the mysterious climatic changes today. In the end, if it is not global warming, we will have nothing to loose, but if it is what it is said to be, and we do not do anything about it, we will have ourselves to blame.
Berg, Chris. “Climate change can’t be stopped, but we will adapt”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. April 6, 2011. Web. April 6, 2011.
Chan, Johnny & Kin Sik Liu. “Global Warming and Western North Pacific Typhoon Activity from an Observational Perspective”. AMS Journals Online. American Meteorological Society. Vol. 17 Issue 23, 2004. Web. 6 April 2011.
Cooper, Caren B. “Media Literacy as a Key Strategy Towards Improving Public Acceptance of Climate Change Science”. BioScience. American Institute of Biological Sciences: 231-237. 2011. Web. 6 April 2011.
Markham, Derek. “Global Warming Effects and Causes: A Top 10 List”. Planetsave. Solar Energy charity. June 7, 2009. Web. 6 April 2011.
Morrison, David. “Letter to Climate Skeptics”. Faqs.org. Millenium Press, Inc. Jan 1, 2011. Web. 6 April 2011.
Riebeek, Holli. Global Warming. Earth Observatory. NASA, June 3, 2010. Web. 6 April 2011.
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