Facts, Causes and Effects of Global Warming: [Essay Example], 3843 words GradesFixer
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Facts, Causes and Effects of Global Warming

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What is global warming? Global warming refers to extreme changes in the Earth’s climate. The term illustrates dramatic increases in atmospheric and water temperatures experienced as a result of growing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Humans are responsible for producing these gases via cars, electricity, and factories. The main products of these activities that are to blame for global warming are methane and carbon dioxide; as carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbon compounds go farther and farther into the Earth’s atmosphere, they deplete the ozone layer. Holes in the ozone are allowing harmful ultraviolet rays (that are usually deflected by the ozone layer) to make their way to lower levels of the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases absorb and give off radiation from the UV rays, contributing to extreme temperature conditions. Some of the effects. Global warming has had extreme effects on the planet.

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Earth’s average surface temperature has been increasing; since the 1880s, temperature has increased by between 1 and 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. While this may sound like a small number, it has heavily impacted other aspects of our global ecosystem, and it is continuing to rise at a faster rate. Arctic ice is vanishing and glaciers are melting; as a result, polar bears, penguins, and other animals have begun to suffer.The recent frequency of heat waves, intense tropical storms, and natural disasters has also been partially attributed to trends in global climate change. Extreme weather will most likely have a negative impact on crops and agriculture. As staple crops become scarcer, they will become more expensive. Such products include rice, wheat, corn, and soy, which are also utilized in animal feed; the result: prices of many other types of food will increase as well, making all food relatively more expensive.“Carbon footprints” are used to measure the impact that certain individuals, products, and activities have on global warming. This metric attempts to quantify the amount of greenhouse gases that are being produced. Greenhouse gases are comprised of many elements and compounds, but Carbon Dioxide is often used as a proxy for these elements in calculations and discussions related to carbon footprints.Almost every activity that occurs in the course of a single day has some impact on the environment. Transportation, electricity, and manufacturing are often highly detrimental and are major areas where people, businesses, and countries can cut down on their carbon footprints. Understanding the size of carbon footprints and what contributes to them allows each participant in the global environment to take action to reduce it.Global warming is understood to result from an overall, long-term increase in the retention of the sun’s heat around Earth due to blanketing by “greenhouse gases,” especially CO2 and methane. Emissions of CO2 have been rising at a speed unprecedented in human history, due to accelerating fossil fuel burning that began in the Industrial Revolution.

The effects of the resulting “climate change” are uneven and can even produce localized cooling ( if warm currents change direction). The climate change may also initiate positive feedback in which the initial impact is further enhanced by its own effects, for example if melting ice reduces the reflective properties of white surfaces (the “albedo” effect) or if melting tundra releases frozen methane, leading to further warming. Debate continues about which manifestations are due to long-term climate change and which to normal climate variability. Five yearly aerial photographs show the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean at a record low, with a loss of 50 cubic kilometers annually and glacier retreat doubling to 12 kilometers a year. In September 2005 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) doubled its estimates of the volume of melted fresh water flowing into the North Atlantic, reducing salinity and thus potentially threatening the conveyor that drives the Gulf Stream. Temperate mussels have been found in Arctic waters, and news broadcasts in 2005 and 2006 have repeatedly shown scenes of Inuit and polar bears (recently listed as endangered) cut off from their hunting grounds as the ice bridges melt.

In 2005 an eight-year European study drilling Antarctic ice cores to measure the past composition of the atmosphere reported that CO2 levels were at least 30 percent higher than at any time in the last 65,000 years. The speed of the rise in CO2 was unprecedented, from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution to 388 ppm in 2006. Early in 2007 the Norwegian Polar Institute reported acceleration to a new level of 390 ppm. In January 2006 a British Antarctic survey, analyzing CO2 in crevasse ice in the Antarctic Peninsula, found levels of CO2 higher than at any time in the previous 800,000 years .Still aren’t convinced yet. The science of global warming has progressed through tackling anomalies cited by skeptics. Critics of global warming made attempts to discredit the methodology of climatologist Michael Mann’s famous “Hockey stick” graph (first published in Nature in 1998). Mann’s graph showed average global temperatures over the last 1,000 years, with little variation for the first 900 and a sharp rise in the last century. After more than a dozen replication studies, some using different statistical techniques and different combinations of proxy records (indirect measures of past temperatures such as ice cores or tree rings), Mann’s results were vindicated. A report in 2006 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, supported much of Mann’s image of global warming history. “There is sufficient evidence from the tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers and other ‘proxies’ of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the twentieth century were warmer than any comparable period for the last 400 years.” For periods before 1600, the 2006 report found there was not enough reliable data to be sure but the committee found the “Mann team’s conclusion that warming in the last few decades of the twentieth century was unprecedented over the last 1,000 years to be plausible” (National Academy of Science press release 2006).Measurements from satellites and balloons in the lower troposphere have until recently indicated cooling, which contradicted measurements from the surface and the upper troposphere. In August 2005 a publication in Science of the findings of three independent studies described their measurements as “nails in the coffin” of the skeptic’s’ case. These showed that faulty data, which failed to allow for satellite drift, lay behind the apparent anomaly.

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Another anomaly was that observed temperature rises were in fact less than the modelling of CO2 impacts predicted. This is now explained by evidence on the temporary masking properties of aerosols, from rising pollution and a cyclical upward swing of volcanic eruptions since 1960.Critics of global warming have been disarmed and discredited. Media investigations and social research have increasingly highlighted the industry funding of skeptics and their think tanks, and the political pressures on government scientists to keep silent. Estimates of the catastrophic costs of action on emissions have also been contradicted most dramatically by the British Stern Report in October 2006. Many companies have been abandoning the skeptical business coalitions. The Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change estimated in 2005 that the cost to gross domestic product of strong early action would be minimal and would create jobs.

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia. Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate. The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response. Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months. The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century. The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year. What Is Global Warming? Earth as seen by the EPIC imager on the DSCOVR satellite on March 29, 2017.Credit: NASAThe globe is heating up. Both land and oceans are warmer now than record-keeping began in 1880, and temperatures are still ticking upward. This temperature rise, in a nutshell, is global warming.

Here are the bare numbers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Average surface temperatures rose a total of 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95 degrees Celsius) between 1880 and 2016. The pace of change has been an additional 0.13 degrees F (0.07 degrees C) per decade, with the land surface warming faster than the ocean surface — 0.18 degrees F (0.10 degrees C) versus 0.11 degrees F (0.06 degrees C) per decade, respectively.

The Paris Agreement, ratified by 159 nations as of the summer 2017, aims to halt that warming at 2.7 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) above Earth’s average temperature during preindustrial times — a goal most scientists and policy makers agree will be a challenge to meet. (The United States participated in the crafting of that nonbinding treaty under President Barack Obama, but President Donald Trump has said that his administration will not participate.) Here’s how humanity has managed to heat up the planet. The main driver of today’s warming is the combustion of fossil fuels. These hydrocarbons heat up the planet via the greenhouse effect, which is caused by the interaction between Earth’s atmosphere and incoming radiation from the sun. “The basic physics of the greenhouse effect were figured out more than a hundred years ago by a smart guy using only pencil and paper,” Josef Werne, a professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh, told Live Science. That “smart guy” was Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist and eventual Nobel Prize winner. Simply put, solar radiation hits Earth’s surface and then bounces back toward the atmosphere as heat. Gases in the atmosphere trap this heat, preventing it from escaping into the void of space (good news for life on the planet). In a paper presented in 1895, Arrhenius figured out that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide could trap heat close to the Earth’s surface — and that small changes in the amount of those gases could make a big difference in how much heat was trapped. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have been rapidly changing the balance of gases in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels like coal and oil releases water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), ozone and nitrous oxide (N2O) — the primary greenhouse gases.

Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas. Between about 800,000 years ago and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, its presence in the atmosphere amounted to about 280 parts per million (ppm). Today, it’s about 400 ppm. (This number means there are 400 molecules of carbon dioxide in the air per every million air molecules.) Levels of CO2 haven’t been that high since the Pliocene epoch, which occurred between 3 million and 5 million years ago, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.In 2015, CO2 accounted for about 82 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to an EPA inventory. “We know through high-accuracy instrumental measurements that there is an unprecedented increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. We know that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation [heat] and the global mean temperature is increasing,” Keith Peterman, a professor of chemistry at York College of Pennsylvania, and his research partner, Gregory Foy, an associate professor of chemistry at York College of Pennsylvania, told Live Science in a joint email message.CO2 makes its way into the atmosphere through a variety of routes. Burning fossil fuels releases CO2 and is by far the primary way that U.S. emissions warm the globe. According to the EPA’s 2015 report, U.S. fossil fuel combustion, including electricity generation, releases just over 5.5 billion tons (5 billion metric tons) of CO2into the atmosphere annually. Other processes — such as non-energy use of fuels, iron and steel production, cement production and waste incineration — boost the total annual CO2 release in the U.S. to almost 6 billion tons (5.5 billion metric tons).

Deforestation is also a large contributor to excessive CO2 in the atmosphere. In fact, deforestation is the second largest anthropogenic (human-made) source of carbon dioxide, according to research published by Duke University. When trees are killed, they release the carbon they have stored during photosynthesis. According to the 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessment, deforestation releases nearly a billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere per year. Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas, but it is much more efficient at trapping heat. In 2012, the gas accounted for about 9 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The EPA reports that methane has 20 times more impact than carbon dioxide on climate change over a 100-year period Methane can come from many natural sources, but humans cause a large portion of methane emissions through mining, the use of natural gas, the mass raising of livestock and the use of landfills, according to the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks report from 1990 to 2012. In fact, according to the EPA, humans are responsible for more than 60 percent of methane emissions.

There are some hopeful trends in greenhouse gas emissions. Though U.S. emissions increased by a total of 7.7 percent between 1990 and 2014, according to EPA data, they have declined 8 percent in the timeframe between 2005 and 2014. Much of the reason for this recent decline is the replacement of coal with natural gas, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. The U.S. economy is also transitioning from manufacturing-based to a less carbon-intense service economy. Fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-efficiency standards for buildings have also improved emissions, according to the EPA.Effects of global warming Global warming doesn’t just mean warming — which is why “climate change” has become the trendier term among researchers and policy makers. While the globe is becoming hotter on average, this temperature increase can have paradoxical effects, such as more serious snowstorms.

There are several big ways climate change can and will affect the globe: By melting ice, by drying out already-arid areas, by causing weather extremes and by disrupting the delicate balance of the oceans. Perhaps the most visible effect of climate change so far is the melting of glaciers and sea ice. The ice sheets have been retreating since the end of the last Ice Age about 11,700 years ago, but the last century’s warming has hastened their demise. A 2016 study found that there is a 99 percent chance that global warming has caused the recent retreat of glaciers; in fact, the research showed, these rivers of ice retreated 10 to 15 times the distance they would have if the climate had stayed stable. Glacier National Park in Montana had 150 glaciers in the late 1800s. Today it has 26. The loss of glaciers can cause the loss of human life when icy dams holding back glacier lakes destabilize and burst, or when avalanches caused by unstable ice bury villages. At the North Pole, warming is proceeding twice as quickly as it is at middle latitudes, and the sea ice is showing the strain. Fall and winter ice in the Arctic hit record lows in both 2015 and 2016, meaning the ice expanse did not cover as much of the open sea as previously observed. According to NASA, the 13 smallest maximum winter extents of sea ice in the Arctic have all happened in the last 13 years. The ice also forms later in the season and melts more readily in spring. Some scientists think the Arctic Ocean will see ice-free summers within 20 or 30 years.In the Antarctic, the picture has been a little less clear.

The Western Antarctic Peninsula is warming faster than anywhere else besides some parts of the Arctic, according to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. The peninsula is where the Larsen C ice shelf just rifted in July 2017, spawning an iceberg the size of Delaware. The sea ice off Antarctica is very variable, though, and some areas have actually hit record highs in recent years — though those record highs could bear the fingerprints of climate change, as they might result from land-based ice moving out to sea as the glaciers melt, or in warming-related changes to wind. In 2017, though, this pattern of record-high ice abruptly reversed, with a record low. On March 3, 2017, Antarctic sea ice was measured at an extent of 71,000 square miles (184,000 square kilometers) less than the previous low from 1997.Global warming will change things between the poles, too. Many already-dry areas are expected to become even drier as the world warms. The Southwest and Central Plains of the United States, for example, are expected to experience decades-long “megadroughts” harsher than anything else in human memory. “The future of drought in western North America is likely to be worse than anybody has experienced in the history of the United States,” Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City who published research projecting these droughts in 2015, told Livescience. “These are droughts that are so far beyond our contemporary experience that they are almost impossible to even think about. “The study predicted an 85 percent chance of droughts lasting at least 35 years in the region by 2100. The main driver, the researchers found, is the increasing evaporation of water from hotter and hotter soil. Much of the precipitation that does fall in these arid regions will be lost. Meanwhile, 2014 research finds that many areas will likely see less rainfall as the climate warms. Subtropical regions, including the Mediterranean, the Amazon, Central America and Indonesia will likely be hardest hit, that study found, while South Africa, Mexico, western Australia and California will also dry out. There is only a few ways to stop global warming A growing number of business leaders, government officials and private citizens are concerned about global warming and its implications, and are proposing steps to reverse the trend.

“While some argue that ‘the Earth will heal itself,’ the natural processes for removing this human-caused CO2 from the atmosphere work on the timescale of hundreds of thousands to millions of years,” the University of Pittsburgh’s Werne said. “So, yes, the Earth will heal itself, but not in time for our cultural institutions to be preserved as they are. Therefore, in our own self-interests, we must act in one way or another to deal with the changes in climate we are causing.

“The most ambitious effort to forestall warming is the Paris Agreement. This nonbinding international treaty entered into force in November 2016. The aim is to keep warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” according to the United Nations. Each signatory to the treaty agreed to set their own voluntary emissions limits and to make them stricter over time. For the United States under President Obama, that meant limiting greenhouse emissions to less than 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025. Climate scientists said that the emissions limits suggested so far wouldn’t keep warming as low as 1.5 or even 2 degrees C, but that it would be an improvement over the “business-as-usual” scenario.However, President Trump said in June that his administration will not honor the Paris Agreement. Shortly thereafter, more than 1,000 mayors, governors and business executives said they would continue to abide by the promised emissions cuts, Inside Climate News Reported.Solving climate change will require big shifts in energy production, from fossil fuels to less carbon-intensive sources. Some scientists even think geoengineering will be needed to cool the planet. But I think it us so we as a nation need to start doing things better for the environment that we live in. If we keep going a lot of icebergs will melt and that’s not good because the sea level will rise and some of the land of the United States will be underwater and some other countries around the world. That is all i have for this research paper.

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