Global warming what is it?Global Warming is the term used for the heating of the earth. It is also known as the greenhouse effect. These terms are commonly confused with climate change which is a more descriptive term. Climate change refers to the buildup of man-made gases in the atmosphere that trap the radiated heat from the earth, causing changes in weather patterns on a global scale. (The greenhouse gases of most concern are Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and nitrous oxides.) The recent effect that climate change has had is the equivalent of a 1 watt light bulb burning over every square meter of the earth.
A common misconception of global warming is that it is mans fault. Strictly speaking this is not entirely true. The effects of Global Warming are completely natural yet there is no denying that we are contributing to these effects and making them stronger and more rapid. For several years believers and skeptics have argued about the causes of Global Warming. Reduction of the rainforests, continued growth in hydrocarbon industries, increases in livestock, and depletion of the ozone are all considered factors in the debate. Skeptics maintain that the climate change is a natural phenomenon, that man's effect on nature is largely overrated. Over the past Century the earth's temperature has been rising. It has not been a noticeable increase to us but for example, it can easily be seen in the Antarctic where bigger and bigger pieces of ice are breaking away and melting.
Evidence of Climate changeOne of the most important sources of evidence for climatic change can be found in the Antarctic where ice has preserved a 400,000-year record of levels of CO2, CH4 and temperature levels in the atmosphere. Scientists study the gas bubbles in the ice using ice cores extracted from the ice and then transported to a laboratory. Here these are evaluated and compared with more recent ice cores. From these, scientists can tell how the climate has changed in these 400,000 years.
Over the past century global (land and sea) temperature have increased by roughly 0.2 °C. A more recent study using state of the art satellites indicate a slight warming over the past 18 years. Other scientists are saying that the main evidence of Global Warming are the erratic weather patterns we have been having over the past 5 years. For instance the amount of severe Hurricanes this year were in excess of the amount ever before recorded, with the highest number of category 5 huricanes recorded.
Global warming may have a disastrous effect on birds that migrate large distances to and from Europe. If Birds who fly across the Sahara dessert leave at the same time they do nowadays there is the possibility, that in 12 years they will be leaving too late and the drought will kick in before they cross the dessert. This could lead to many birds either changing their nesting grounds or becoming extinct altogether.
Researchers warn that more than 25% of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution and global warming. Scientists said that most of the damage to coral is inflicted by global warming through coral bleaching, the result of higher water temperatures heating the coral.
As mentioned above a good piece of evidence is the ice which is melting in the Antarctic, Arctic, North Pole and South Pole. This is not just a problem as far as rising sea levels goes but this will influence the climate hugely. The ice and snow reflect sunlight - in other words when sun light hits ice, 99% of the light is reflected back. Now, imagine that thousands of square meters of ice and snow are missing. This would mean that the earth absorbs more sunlight, and consequently warming the earth up even more. Which then melts more ice which heats the earth leaving us in a vicios circle of global warming?Are we influencing the climate - If so how?Influences on the climate vary both through natural, "internal" processes as well as in response to differences in...
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