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Global Warming: Is It A Serious Issue?

By Hannah-Nicole Nov 18, 2013 1243 Words
Global Warming: Is It A Serious Issue?
A little girl is playing outside in a T-shirt and shorts. A slight red glow is starting to appear on her cheeks. As people are reading this statement, they are picturing a child during spring. In reality, it is only November 19th. The world’s temperatures are increasing yearly due to global warming. We need to take immediate action to slow this cause.

Global warming is becoming a major issue in our environment in the last couple of years. Global warming is a gradual increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere. This is caused by the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide) trap heat and light from the sun inside the Earth’s atmosphere. Sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. The greenhouse gases trap some of the heat and the rest escapes back into space. But the more gases in the atmosphere results in more heat trapped in Earth. Their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years. [1]

These gases are produced not only by natural causes but also by us. In everyday life, we are increasing the Greenhouse effect. One of the gases that aids in the greenhouse effect is Carbon Dioxide. We create CO2 by burning of fossil fuels, namely oil, natural gas and coal, both in stationary power plants and by hydrocarbon-powered vehicles. C02 is also created by burning solid wood products and tress. [2]

We ask ourselves, “Why should we care about global warming when we have our own little set of problems to worry about?” We are seeing several effects happening. Glaciers are beginning to melt, wildlife is being put at sake, and a considerable amount of changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation are occurring. [1]

Even though humans are adding to this problem, global warming is a natural cause and is somewhat helpful. The greenhouse effect has been around since the 1820s. Scientist Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is actually what keeps the earth climate livable. Without it, the Earth’s surface would be an average of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many scientists believe this is a natural thing. During the Medieval time period, the climate was warmer than it is now. The Norwegian explorers landed on Greenland’s grassy coast and settled there. But by the 1550s, the land and coastal areas were covered in ice. [3] This was known as the “Little Ice Age.” The LIA was a period of extreme cooler temperature and climates mostly in the Northern Hemisphere between 1300 and 1870. [4]. Even though it wiped out most of Greenland’s community, the ice age was just a natural shift in earth’s climate. During the middle of the ice age, there was a warming period. In this time, the ice melted but the Atlantic coasts were not covered by the rising waters of the ocean. In fact, if the oceans slightly rose they were naturally moderated by the increased evaporation during the warming period. [3] There were no cars or factories during this time so how could this climate change happen? It was all created by natural causes, a combination of reduced solar activity and large volcanic eruptions. [4] Volcanic eruptions, sunspots, and a “wobbly” earth are all natural causes for global warming. Volcanic eruptions cause dust to be thrown into the sky. The dust acts as a shield to solar radiation and causes a cooling trend in the atmosphere. [5] When the dust disperses, the earth heats up again.

Changes in the Earth’s solar radiation levels can have some impact on the Earth’s climate. Increased solar activity can cause short-term warming cycles on the Earth. As the Earth spins, it does not achieve perfect rotation. It actually wobbles slightly. It alternately exposes the northern and southern latitudes to more and less solar radiation. This wobble in the Earth’s rotation has been causing changes in the temperature of the atmosphere for many millions of years. [5] Global warming is a natural thing but the more we look into how global warming we think “What is the major cause of it all? Are humans increasing the risks? Many have thrown around ideas about what they think the cause might be but no need to throw anymore because evidence has shown that we are the cause of Global Warming. By adding to the gases that are already naturally produced, we are creating a greater risk to not only ourselves, but to everyone on earth including the animals, insects, and plants. Global warming increases the risk for illnesses and diseases. More than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses annually are caused by global warming. By 2030, the number could easily double if immediate action does not take place. Global warming is causing major weather pattern changes. Increases in rainfall, temperature and humidity will favor the spread of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes over a wider range and to higher altitudes. [6] These mosquitoes are found in third world countries. The places that have contributed the least to global warming are most vulnerable to the death and disease higher temperatures can bring. Malaria is not the only illness global warming can cause. As the Earth heats, people are having more and more heat strokes. The animals are being affected just as much as we are. Many great deserts like the Sahara are no longer able to sustain their animal population. Loss of habitat is seen mostly in the Arctic, where global warming is melting the glaciers, pushing the polar bears into extinction. The melting glaciers have caused water levels to rise in many oceans, threatening to drown many tropical islands and forests that are loaded with animal life. The population in the number of polar bears there are in the north is going down tremendously. Within time they will be extinct due to the fact that they can’t hunt seals on the ice for as long a period as they could before, because winter is going by quicker and quicker each year. But one of the animals that is most effected is the Narwhal. Narwhals are on the border of being endangered. To date there are only approximately 50,000 Narwhals left in the world. Most endangered species have populations of 1,000 to 25,000. These are just a few risks that global warming causes. We need to fix this soon. Everyone can help! Just by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs will save 30% of our energy. Planting trees and turning off the water while people brush their teeth all adds up. Global warming has serious risks that people tend to overlook. Even though it is a natural cause humans are worsening it every day. Immediate action should be a necessity to the world. I’m changing my ways because I see this is a disease that is affecting the world around me.

1. "What Is Global Warming?" National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. 2. Nelson, Catherine. "How Are Greenhouse Gases Produced?" LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 23 July 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. 3. Kjos, Berit. "Global Warming - Green Lies And Amazing Truths." N.p., 23 Apr. 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. 4. "Little Ice Age: Knowledge." About the Little Ice Age. N.p., 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. 5. "Global Warming Natural Causes." A Cooler Climate. N.p., 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. 6. Gale, Jason, and Bill Varner. "Global Warming Increases Malaria." N.p., 27 Nov. 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

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