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Global Warming & Impacts on Glaciers

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Global Warming & Impacts on Glaciers

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  • Feb. 23, 2010
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GLOBAL WARMING AND IT’S EFFECTS ON GLACIERS
Global Warming
The average global temperature has raised more than expected in the past few decades. Many prefer to use the milder term 'climate change' instead of the harsher 'global warming' to describe this change in average global temperature.

The main cause of global warming is thought to be the 'greenhouse effect' that is mainly caused by us humans. With an increase in temperature glaciers worldwide are melting faster than the time taken for new ice layers to form, sea water is getting hotter and expanding causing sea levels to rise, rivers overflow due to melting glaciers causing floods, forest fires are on the rise, and innumerable undesired effects are taking place due to global warming.

The Greenhouse Effect
The 'greenhouse effect' takes place when certain gases in the atmosphere of the earth trap heat. The term 'greenhouse' is used because light is allowed to reach the earth, but most of the heat generated is not allowed to escape, just as in a greenhouse. The more the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped within the earth's atmosphere, causing average earth temperatures to rise.

The greenhouse effect was first described by Joseph Fourier way back in 1824. The earth's temperature has increased by half a degree Celsius over the past century due to an increase in greenhouse gases. This slight increase may seem negligible, but the earth's ecosystem is very fragile, and even such small changes can prove disastrous.

Greenhouse gases are a natural part of the atmosphere and the main sources of these greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorocarbons. Increased greenhouse gases in the past century can be attributed to human activity such as burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, reduced forest cover due to deforestation, increase in atmospheric methane gas due to mass rearing of cattle (in the process of digestion cattle and...