This report studies secondary research to discover the effects of global warming and the consequences it has on sea levels, ice melting and the polar bear. Websites researched were NASA, ICUN, National Geographic, BBC News, The Independent, IPCC, Arctic Council, National Resources Defense Council, UN News and D.V.D. called ‘An Inconvenient,’ truth. Evidence researched supports the conclusion that scientists believe global temperatures have been rising and that human activity is a significant contributing factor.
The aim of this report is to explore global warming, research why it is happening, what effects it is having on planet earth and what solutions can put in place to resolve the situation.
Global warming occurs when the earth’s temperature rises. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This keeps planet earth habitable. Human activity is changing the global climate by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. There has been a dramatically increased amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising. This causes coastal erosion, melts ice caps and glaciers, increases heat waves, causes droughts and more intense hurricanes, ignites wildfires and creates further infectious diseases. Global warming is the most serious threat to our civilisation today.
Secondary research was carried out using the internet and watching a D.V.D called “An Inconvenient Truth. Websites accessed were NASA, ICUN, National Geographic, BBC, The Independent, IPCC, Arctic Council, NRDC and UN News. Issues explored include the effects of global warming on sea levels, ice melting and polar bears.
According to IPCC, if global average temperatures exceed 2oc there will be irreversible impacts on water, ecosystems, food, coastal areas and human health. Global warming is expected to seriously affect the Arctic, Sub Saharan Africa, small islands and the long river deltas of Asia.
When temperatures rise and ice melts, more water flows to the seas from glaciers and ice caps and ocean water expands in volume. This has raised sea levels between ten and twenty centimetres in the past one hundred years. NG (2010)
Rising, warmer sea levels affect humans, plants and animals. Consequences of this are coastal erosion, flooding, powerful storm surges, threatened cultures, water shortages, salt water intrusion, species extinction and spread of disease.
Between 1870 and 2000, the sea levels increased by 1.7 millimetres per year on average. Since 1993 NASA satellites have shown that sea levels are rising on average about 3 millimetres per year. The Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) estimates that sea levels will rise between 0.18 and 0.59 metres by 2099. The least responsible for global emissions, the poor and vulnerable in the developing countries are bearing the brunt of climate impacts. Some low-lying island countries, such as the Indian Ocean’s Maldives, are at risk. Over half of the nation’s populated islands live less than 6 feet above sea level. The Maldives is portrayed as a tropical paradise. Many Maldivians live in poverty. Any sea level rise would seriously damage the fishing and tourism industries. The Maldives was hit by the December 2004 Asian tsunami. Homes and resorts were devastated. If sea levels rise, the Maldives could disappear. BBC (2010)
The islands of Barbados and Bermuda are also at risk. Tourist resorts, airports, power plants, roads and agricultural land would be lost in low-lying areas. A report released 30th November 2010 at the UN Climate Conference in Cancun Mexico projects wide devastation to the West Indies caused by rising sea levels four decades to come. The report suggests that the damage economically would be 120 billion dollars. McCarthy...
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BBC News, 2010. The Maldives Country Profile. [online]. UK: London. British Broadcasting Corporation. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science/environment.com/ [cited 10 Dec 2010].
Guggenheim, D., 2006. An Inconvenient Truth. [DVD]. Los Angeles: Paramount Classics.
IPCC, 2007. Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007. [online]. Switzerland: Geneva. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available from: http://www.ipcc.ch/ [cited 14 Dec 2010].
IUCN, 2010. About Climate Change. [online]. Switzerland: Gland. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Available from: http://www.iucn.org/ [cited 2 Dec 2010].
McCarthy, M., 2010
NASA, 2010. Global Warming. [online]. USA: Washington. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Available from: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov.com/ [cited 2 Dec 2010].
NG, 2010. Signs from Earth: The Big Thaw. [online]. USA: Washington. National Geographic. Available from: http://www.environment.nationalgeographic.com/ [cited 10 Dec 2010].
UN News Centre, 2010. In Cancun, UN Chief makes an impassioned plea for global agreement on climate change. [online]. USA: New York. United Nations. Available from: http//www.un.org/news/ [cited 13 Dec 2010].
United Nations News Centre, 2010. In Cancun, UN Chief makes an impassioned plea for global agreement on climate change. [online]. USA: New York. Available from: http//www.un.org/news/ [cited 13 Dec 2010].
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