What is Global Warming?
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of global warming by now. But many of you may be asking yourself these questions. What is global warming exactly? What are the causes of global warming? What is global warming and its effects? Simply put, global warming is the overall warming of the Earth which has its causes and effects. Read below to learn more.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average temperatures on the Earth’s surface rose 1.71 degrees F between the years 1880 and 2016. The rate of change is about .13 degrees every 10 years, with the land’s surface warming quicker than the ocean. The land has warmed about .18 degrees F, and the ocean has become .11 degrees F warmer each decade.
The Paris Agreement, which was ratified by 159 countries as of summer 2017, was created to halt global warming at 2.7 degrees F above the average temperature of the Earth in pre-industrial times. This is a goal several policymakers and scientists agree will be challenging to accomplish. Under President Obama, the United States participated in this agreement. However, President Trump has stated he will no longer participate.
Global Warming’s Main Cause
Global warming’s main cause today is fossil-fuel combustion. This creates hydrocarbons, which make the planet significantly warmer because of the greenhouse effect — how the atmosphere interacts with the sun’s radiation. According to Josef Werne, a geology and environmental science professor at the University of Pittsburgh, “the basic physics of the greenhouse effect were figured out more than a hundred years ago by a smart guy using only a pencil and paper.” The “smart guy” to whom Werne is referring was Svante Arrhenius, a Nobel Prize winner and scientist from Sweden. Solar radiation encounters the Earth’s surface before bouncing back towards the atmosphere as heat. The heat is then trapped by various atmospheric gases, which keep it from escaping into space. This is necessary for life to thrive. In a 1895 paper, Arrhenius observed that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, could trap heat near the Earth’s surface. Minor changes in the concentration of those gases could make a huge difference in the amount of heat that is trapped.
Results of Global Warming
The planet is also suffering because of global warming which is believed to be the cause of climate change. Ice is melting all over the world, particularly in the poles. This includes mountain glaciers, as well as sheets of ice that cover the western regions of Antarctica and Greenland and Arctic sea ice.
As a result, the sea level has been rising rapidly over the last hundred years. Some foxes, butterflies, and plants that are native to alpine regions have migrated north to higher and cooler areas. Snowfall and rainfall have also increased on average. However, there are also some invasive species that are thriving, which is upsetting the balance of the Earth. For instance, in Alaska, spruce bark beetles have increased because summers have been warmer there for the last two decades. As a result, the insects have destroyed about 4 million acres of spruce trees.
What You Can Do
To reduce the effects, you can switch from incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs and drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. You can also purchase appliances that are energy-efficient and power your home or business with renewable energy. These changes will conserve heat and energy to slow the process of global warming.
We hope you have gained valuable knowledge reading our article “What is Global Warming?”
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