Global Warming and the Effects on Earth

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Global Warming and the Effects on Earth

Introduction
In my investigation I will show the cause of global warming, the effects it is having on earth today and what we all can do to help minimize it. I want to learn more about global warming so that I can share with others the understanding of it and what it is really doing to our planet. Global warming is the most serious potential environmental concern today. Global warming is the rising in the average temperature of the world. The temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit from the mid 1800’s to now. Researchers believe that human activity is the main cause. Human activities have altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere through buildup of greenhouse gases. Global warming is also known as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is what regulates the temperature of our planet. There are many things affected by global warming, air pollution, vanishing wildlife, spreading of disease, coral bleaching and melting ice caps to just name a few. According to former vice president of the United States, Al Gore, we are facing a climate crisis, one that may seem to be happening slowly but is actually happening very quickly. If we don’t recognize that this is a real crisis and take action, then the consequences will only get worse. What Is Global Warming?

To better understand what’s happening to our planet we must first educate ourselves on what global warming is. Global warming is also known as the “Greenhouse effect”. Atmospheric gases form a shield that surrounds earth. The air that makes up our atmosphere is made of primarily of Nitrogen and Oxygen. The remainder is made up of trace gases including carbon dioxide and methane which are called greenhouse gases. As the sun’s rays strike the earth’s surface heat is radiated back into the atmosphere. Some heat escapes into space – but the remaining heat is trapped by greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Without a natural greenhouse effect the temperature of the earth would be 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The greenhouse effect has lead scientists to collect data on temperatures at weather stations from all over the world. They use this data by plotting the temperatures to try and determine how fast the earth is heating up. The years 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987 and 1983 have been measured to be the warmest six years in the last hundred years. 1990 was the hottest year in the last century (www.geocities.com). The environment is responding to this warming. The concern is not with the fact that we have the greenhouse effect, but whether human activities are leading to an enhancement of the greenhouse effect.

Effects of Global Warming
Although we may not notice the effects of global warming when we begin our routine in our daily lives, it is happening all around us at every moment of the day. Increased agriculture, landfills, deforestation, industrial production and mining all contribute a large amount of methane and nitrous oxide and especially carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Twenty to fifty trillion pounds of carbon dioxide a year come out of our exhaust pipes and our factories chimneys. That’s enough to affect the climate of our planet.

A consequence of this warming is the melting of polar ice caps in the glaciers. The temperature in the Arctic is increasing twice as fast as the rest of the world (www.nwf.org). This is melting the ice and melting ice will result in raised sea levels. A large number of the world’s cities are in coastal areas. As an example studies show from 1950 to 1960 there were less than fifty floods in all of Asia. However, from 1990 to 2000 there were 325 floods in Asia (An Inconvenient Truth the Crisis of Global Warming). Weather patterns will change and this could cause more powerful storms. Scientists believe warmer oceans cause more intense storms. It could increase the intensity of hurricanes by over...
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