Global Warming

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Global Warming

11/27/2012
Global Warming

11/27/2012
Individual Observing Project
Individual Observing Project

Summary
Global warming is a significant increase in the Earth's climatic temperature over a relatively short period of time as a result of the activities of humans. Observations show that warming of the climate is clear. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with additional contributions from the clearing of forests and agricultural activities. Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide would lessen warming over this century and beyond. Sizable early cuts in emissions would significantly reduce the pace and the overall amount of climate change. Earlier cuts in emissions would have a greater effect in reducing climate change than com- parable reductions made later. In addition, reducing emissions of some shorter-lived heat-trapping gases, such as methane, and some types of particles, such as soot, would begin to reduce warming within weeks to decades. A protocol called Kyoto has been made to stop this huge catastrophe, but there are still some efforts to be made to convince the polluting countries from emitting extra amounts of CO2 than what the protocol has given.

Introduction
Global warming was once an uncommon term used by a few scientists who were growing concerned over the effects of decades of pollution on long-term weather patterns. Today, the idea of global warming is well known, if not well understood. It is not unusual to hear someone complaining about a hot day or a freak storm and remark, "It's global warming." In this paper, we'll see what global warming is, what causes it, what its current effects are and what the future effects could be. Although there has been a scientific consensus on global warming, some aren't sure it's something we need to worry about. We'll examine some proposed changes in the United States' national policies related to curbing global warming and the criticisms and concerns surrounding them. Global warming is a significant increase in the Earth's climatic temperature over a relatively short period of time as a result of the activities of humans. In specific terms, an increase of 1 or more degrees Celsius in a period of one hundred to two hundred years would be considered global warming. Over the course of a single century, an increase of even 0.4 degrees Celsius would be significant.

Global Warming
What’s happening?
The greenhouse effect happens because of certain naturally occurring substances in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been pouring huge amounts of those substances into the air. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless gas that is a by-product of the combustion of organic matter. It makes up less than 0.04 percent of Earth's atmosphere, most of which was put there by volcanic activity very early in the planet's life. Today, human activities are pumping huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, resulting in an overall increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. These increased concentrations are considered the primary factor in global warming, because carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation. Most of the energy that escapes Earth's atmosphere comes in this form, so extra CO2 means more energy absorption and an overall increase in the planet's temperature.

Carbon dioxide concentration as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii The Worldwatch Institute reports that carbon emissions worldwide have increased from about 1 billion tons in 1900 to about 7 billion tons in 1995. The Institute also notes that the average surface temperature of Earth has gone from 14.5 degrees C in 1860 to 15.3 degrees C in 1980. The IPCC says that the pre-industrial amount of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere was about 280 parts per million (ppm), meaning that for every...
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