Global Warming and Human Influence
Global warming can be defined as; “An increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2008). According to University of Phoenix Global Warming (2008), the data accumulated from daily measurements indicate that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2005 was the third highest since the mid-1800s. Apparently the last two decades of the 20th century were its warmest.
Humans have mostly contributed to the cause of global warming. Burning carbon-containg fossil fuels accounts for most human-made CO2. Land conversion, like when tropical forests are logged or burned, also releases CO2. By 2050 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 may be double what it was in the 1700s (University of Phoenix, 2008, para 4). Gasoline is a perfect example of a product that we purchase that affects global warming. The combustion of the gasoline in your car’s engine releases not only CO2 but also nitrous oxide, which triggers the production of tropospheric oxide. Other industrial processes, land-use conversion, and the use of fertilizers also produce nitrous oxide. Global warming occurs because these gases absorb infrared radiation-that is, heat energy-given off by Earth’s surface. This absorption slows the natural flow of heat into space, warming the lower atmosphere. Some of the heat from the lower atmosphere is transferred to the ocean and raises it’s temperatures as well (University of Phoenix, 2008, para. 5-6).
There are a many nonliving and living factors that global warming and climate changes contribute to. Scientists suspect a link between climate change and the 1993-1994 hantavirus outbreaks. Hantavirus is a very deadly disease that affects the lungs and is spread by carriers like deer mice. People contract the disease by breathing in the virus that has gotten into the air through rodent droppings and urine. Six years of drought followed by heavy spring rains in 1993 produced a burst of plant growth (Environmental Defense Fund, 2008).” This disease was virtually unknown in the United States before 1993. By February 2006, 416 cases of hantavirus had been found in a number of states as far-flung as Florida and New York” (Environmental Defense Fund, 2008).
Apparently, climate change effects how far many diseases spread in other countries too. In the U.S., a warmer climate and the heavy, extended rains it brought likely helped spread the hantavirus. However, in other places, a warmer world is helping expand the ranges of insects that carry diseases like dengue and yellow fever (Environmental Defense Fund, 2008).
As for the world it self as a whole, temperature changes may have more effect then we know it today. If temperatures rise by 1ْ C, sand dunes spread across Nebraska as a major drought hits the Great Plains, Kilimanjaro loses the last of its snow, and tropical coral reefs will be mostly wiped out by hotter oceans. If temperatures rise by 2۫ C the marine food chain will be threatened as the ocean acidity rises due to absorption of CO2, summer heat waves will routinely match 2003 levels that killed 30,000 people in Europe and Greenland’s ice sheet is doomed to melt away (Jennings, 2008).
Many more major world catastrophes will happen if the world’s internal temperature rises any higher. At a rise of 3ْ C, there will be a disappearance of the Artic ice cap; even at the north pole. Along with this, category 6 hurricanes will attack tropical coasts worldwide and the Amazon rain forest is replaced with desert and savannah. Basically by the time temperatures rise 6ْ C, sea level oceans will flood coastal cities worldwide, new deserts will spread in southern Europe and the last glaciers vanish from the Alps. Not only will these catastrophic horrors appear but the Artic Ocean will become as warm as the Mediterranean, all mountain...
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