A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants. Climate change is any substantial change in Earth’s climate that lasts for an extended period of time. Global warming refers to climate change that causes an increase in the average temperature of the lower atmosphere. Global warming can have many different causes, but it is most commonly associated with human interference, specifically the release of excessive amounts of greenhouse gases. (EPA, 2006)
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapor, and fluorinated gases, act like a greenhouse around the earth. This means that they let the heat from the Sun into the atmosphere, but do not allow the heat to escape back into space. The more greenhouse gases there are, the larger the percentage of heat that is trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere. The earth could not exist in its present state (that is, with life) without the presence of some naturally occurring greenhouse gases, such as CO2, CH4, and water vapor. Without any greenhouse gases no heat would be trapped in atmosphere, so the earth would be extremely cold. (NASA, 2002)
Naturally occurring greenhouse gases (not fluorinated gases) are good in naturally occurring amounts; it’s when people start contributing excessive amounts of them that greenhouse gases become a problem. With excessive greenhouse gas buildup, the earth’s atmosphere warms to unnatural temperatures which causes, among other things, sea level to rise. Global warming also causes sea surface temperatures to rise, precipitation patterns to change, etc.. (NASA, 2002) In February 2007, the United Nations released a scientific report that concludes that global warming is happening and will continue to happen for centuries. The report also stated with 90% certainty that the activity of humans has been the primary cause of increasing temperatures over the past few decades.
With those conclusions and the conclusions of innumerable other scientists that global warming is here and will continue into the foreseeable future, I wanted to summarize the likely effects of global warming, into the advantages and disadvantages of global warming. First, we will look at the many disadvantages of global warming and then follow with the very small number of advantages of global warming. Disadvantages of Global Warming
Ocean circulation disrupted, disrupting and having unknown effects on world climate. Higher sea level leading to flooding of low-lying lands and deaths and disease from flood and evacuation. Deserts get drier leaving to increased desertification.
Changes to agricultural production that can lead to food shortages. Water shortages in already water-scarce areas.
Starvation, malnutrition, and increased deaths due to food and crop shortages. More extreme weather and an increased frequency of severe and catastrophic storms. Increased disease in humans and animals.
Increased deaths from heat waves.
Extinction of additional species of animals and plants.
Loss of animal and plant habitats.
Increased emigration of those from poorer or low-lying countries to wealthier or higher countries seeking better (or non-deadly) conditions. Additional use of energy resources for cooling needs.
Increased air pollution.
Increased allergy and asthma rates due to earlier blooming of plants. Melt of permafrost leads to destruction of structures, landslides, and avalanches. Permanent loss of glaciers and ice sheets.
Cultural or heritage sites destroyed faster due to increased extremes. Increased acidity of rainfall.
Earlier drying of forests leading to increased forest fires in size and intensity. Increased cost of insurance as insurers pay out more claims resulting from increasingly large disasters. Aggressiveness will increase, leading to an increase in the...