Global Warming Is Happening

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Global Warming is Happening
Sometimes, it takes a huge blockbuster movie to affect a large population. On Memorial Day weekend in 2004, The Day After Tomorrow was released. The movie tells the story of a paleoclimatologist who warns the world of a possible abrupt climate change that could occur. While his warnings go unheeded, extreme weather becomes rampant throughout the world signifying an eventual end to humanity. The film stirred some controversy, however, since scientists claim that it portrays an inaccurate depiction of the dangers brought about by global warming. Yet, other scientists see the movie as a teaching tool, a way of making the public more aware of climate change and global warming. Is the Earth really warming up? The answer is yes. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has been climbing at the fastest rate in recorded history and physical damage illustrates this. Experts claim that this will only get worse. Scientists were initially wary of The Day After Tomorrow due to its overly extravagant special effects that could lead an individual to simply dismiss the problem entirely. A survey, however, showed that 83% of viewers were concerned about global warming, compared to 72% of nonwatchers. Overall, watchers demonstrated high levels of concern towards the issue but unfortunately, few of them actively worry about it. Although the effects of global warming are not predominately showing, there is reason to worry as scientists are learning more each year how warming affects our planet. If the trend continues, humanity is more and more likely to experience a global catastrophe that is reminiscent of an apocalypse. In other words, action must be taken. What is Global Warming and is it Really Happening?

The mechanism that drives global warming is the release of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide being a major one) into the atmosphere. Those gases reflect heat energy trying to escape the earth's atmosphere back towards the planet, thereby trapping the heat energy. Global warming has yet showed any fatal effects for humanity, but it is quickly becoming a matter of concern in the world, especially in the United States. For example, in the US, coal-burning power plants amount for the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution producing 2.5 billion tons annually. Automobiles contribute to this by producing 1.5 tons of CO2 each year, placing them right under coal power plants. Consequentially, the US is at a loss here as automobiles and electricity and power are commonplace in today's society. Scientists know that human activity is responsible for changing the Earth's composition and the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. Scientists also accept that greenhouse gases are capable of trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere that eventually leads to global warming. These key greenhouse gases that are produced by human activities are even capable of staying in the atmosphere for decades to even centuries. Perhaps, this is the reason why a warming trend has been taking place. A rising trend of about 1 degree Fahrenheit has been recorded since the late 19th century. Additionally, the past 50 years have shown the fastest rate of increase in the average global temperature. While this may seem insignificant, this still needs to be stopped, as it will only grow into a bigger problem. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that the full warming range over 1990 to 2100 to be 2.5°F to 10.5°F with the mid-range estimate being 5.4°F. Likewise, human induced CO2 concentrations are expected to rise between two or three times its pre-industrial level by the end of the twenty-first century. 20th Century global warming already has had its detrimental effects to the environment. In addition to the melting glaciers, decreased snowfall in the northern hemisphere, and underground warming, parts of the southwestern US have suffered from the worst...
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