Global warming has been a buzzword in the media and politics for some time now with many famous faces jumping on the bandwagon asking us to change our ways before it’s all too late. But with all the news stories and scientific reports flying around the basics are often overlooked.
So what exactly is global warming?
Global warming is simply a rise in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere.
The IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control) concluded that it is mankind and our burning of fossil fuels and deforestation that has been the main contributor the rise (one degree Fahrenheit since 1900) But they have also observed that natural phenomena such as volcanoes and solar radiation have added to the warming.
The climate panels' latest report predicts that the climate could rise by a further 3 to 9% by 2100 if our carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase. So climate change is not going to just disappear and the situation is likely to get much more severe unless we act quickly and in a coordinated manner. The threat is so severe that even Big Oil is rushing into renewable energy alternatives.
Why is the earth's atmosphere increasing in temperature?
Well the greenhouse gases that our fossil fuels and other pollutions create are staying within the earth's atmosphere and trapping inside heat that would normally escape. This trapped heat is then warming the planet's lower atmosphere and surface. The result of this is a change in the earth's climate, which although it doesn’t sound that serious could have a devastating effect on this planet. We have seen a steady increase in sea levels, there has also been an increasing number of extreme weather events, with an increase in droughts, heat-waves, hurricanes & coastal flooding, etc…
But this is just the start! If we continue adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at our current rate, the climate could rise in temperature by a further 3 to 9% which would have a much more severe impact on people and places than we are currently seeing. This is why Governments and big businesses have started taking global warming seriously.
An increase in temperature of these amounts could lead to an increase in Flooding and droughts, more extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and tsunamis, coral reef bleaching and disease would have the ability to spread with greater ease.
There has also been a very disturbing report recently published in the science journal “Nature” about how global warming could potentially trigger a climate doomsday by releasing the 10,000 gigatons of methane gas that are currently frozen in the worlds deep oceans and permafrost (as a greenhouse gas methane is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.0 If this report is correct and these methane deposits are released we could see the temperature change rapidly by tend of degrees.
But if we are to combat global warming successfully, everyone needs to start working together. Not just governments, but each of us can also have a positive impact by recycling, buying eco-friendly products, driving less and supporting the drive for renewables.
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