Global warming refers to the rise in the normal temperature of the earth’s near-surface atmosphere and water bodies ever since the middle of the twentieth century and its predictable continuation. As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, in the year 2007, the universal surface temperature rose by 0.74 to 0.180C for the duration of the twentieth century.
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This was the panel’s fourth assessment report and the study concluded that a better part of this phenomenon referred to as global warming in is as a result of human activity.
Climate representation extrapolation concluded in the most up-to-date IPCC report point out that the earth’s surface temperature is to be expected to go up an additional 1.1 to 6.40C during the twenty first century (Noon, 2012, p 1). Even as some quarters dispute these projections and disagree with existing evidence of global warming as being caused majorly by human activity, the facts are just too compelling.
However, human activities are not the sole causes of global warming as there are several other causes including natural factors. With global warming increasing day by day, the increasing advancements in technology have had their share of contribution in the disastrous impacts of global warming.
The main cause of this phenomenon is the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere and these bar heat from escaping from the earth’s surface. Thus, a way(s) of reducing the amount of these gases in the atmosphere needs to be worked out. Deforestation is another cause of global warming.This leads to increased radioactive forcing from CO2, methane, ozone chloro-flouro carbons and nitrous oxide (Noon, 2012, p 1).
Since 1750, the concentration of CO2 has increased by 36%, while the level of methane has grown by 148% due to industrial revolution (“Atmosphere Changes”, 2011). This is when people cut down trees, those trees and other green plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) which is a greenhouse gas. CO2 is produced by the human being and other animals.
With fewer trees, it would be difficult for people and animals to breathe since there would be more CO2 in the air, yet human beings and animals do not breathe CO2 but oxygen (O2). However, some studies suggest a slight cooling effect; others suggest a slight warming effect. Increased solar activity and increased greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere while increased solar activity warms the stratosphere but increased greenhouse gases cools the stratosphere (Nicklen, 2012, p 1).
Occurrences illustrating increase in global temperature
Sea levels getting higher
For the last century, observations show that sea levels moved higher world over. The average figure stood at more or less seventeen centimeters. Observations show that the order at which the level went up in the last decade is shockingly almost two times that of the last century. An example of an area going through this phenomenon is the marshland going under water at Bayou Chitigue, Louisiana.
The estimated sea-level rise for this marshland is 1.38 centimeters per year. For a period of four years, straight up buildup averaged 2.07 centimeters annually which means the land’s elevation was corresponding to the increase in sea level (Nicklen, 2012, p 1).
Coastal marshlands constitute the most useful ecological units in the world. These lands at the land-ocean periphery offer loads of direct gains to humanity, as well as home for money-making fisheries and wildlife, storm defense, enhanced water quality by way of deposit, nutrient and effluence elimination, leisure, and visually pleasing values.
These precious ecological units will be extremely susceptible to the consequences of the fast increase in sea level projected to take place in the course of the next century as an outcome of global warming. The effects of rising sea water levels have had adverse effects on aquatic animals. Many animals are dying due to lack of food and also due to effects of poisonous substances which occur especially from industries.
Rise in global temperature
Every single one of the three main universal surface temperature reconstructions gives an indication that the planet has become hotter ever since 1880. The largest part of this warming has taken place from the 1970s, with the twenty hottest years taking place from 1981 and with all ten of the hottest years taking place in the last twelve years.
The years beginning in 2000 up to date have seen a reduction in solar output with the period 2007 to 2009 a noticeable solar least amount. Despite this, surface heat levels keep on rising (Natural resources defense council, 2012, p 1).
The effects of increase in universal temperature are evident from the outbreak of a variety of viral ailments like malaria. The causal agents of these illnesses thrive well in environments with elevated temperatures. The outbreaks have especially been experienced in the developing world. As a result, the economies and health of people are affected negatively.
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Mortality rates of both children and adults have gone up in the last two decades. Economies suffer because a larger part of the resources are directed at curbing these ailments through vaccinations and efforts to eliminate the causal agents altogether.
Other than viral infections, high temperatures pose difficulties to persons with cardiovascular complications. In severe occurrences, persons have lost lives as a result of heatstroke aggravated by elevated temperatures. High temperatures also lead to heat fatigue difficulties and respiratory difficulties as a result of harm to lung tissues which is a danger to persons with asthma.
Industrialization leads to increased radioactive forcing from CO2, methane, ozone chloro-flouro carbons and nitrous oxide. Industrial revolution is the main cause of the constantly increasing concentration of CO2 and methane. Particulate and soot are also the reasons of global warming. They are also caused by volcanoes and human made pollutants especially aerosols (Jones, n.d, p 1).
The world’s oceans have taken up a great deal of the augmented heat, with the upper seven hundred meters, that is, two thousand three hundred feet, of ocean illustrating increase of 0.3020F ever since 1969.
Increasing heat levels have an effect on the physical nature of all oceans. As air temperatures go up, water density decreases and the water parts from a nutrient-filled chilly stratum underneath. This forms the starting point for a sequence effect that affects all oceanic life that depends on these nutrients for continued existence.
The most pronounced effects of this warming on oceanic populaces are alterations in natural homes and food provision and shifting ocean alchemy. Single-celled plants, phytoplankton, that thrive at the ocean floor and algae utilize the process of photosynthesis for making food. The process takes away carbon dioxide from the air and changes it into natural carbon and oxygen which provides for virtually all ecological units.
Studies show that phytoplankton survives in cooler oceans. In the same way, algae which are a plant on which other oceanic life feeds is declining due to oceanic warming. Thus, the most important nutrients are barred from finding their way upward and are stuck to a small stratum near the floor. The temperatures of the sea surfaces have been shown to rise.
This poses a great danger to aquatic life as water bodies warm up and result to coral reefs which have adverse effects aquatic life. Many of the coral animals died after being weakened by bleaching, a process linked to the warmer waters.
Annual growth cycles have been affected leading to disruption of entire oceanic food chains. Heat-driven organisms like phytoplankton have commenced their annual growth phase earlier in the season as a result warming oceans. Creatures that once traveled to the floor for nourishment are now hitting upon areas devoid of nutrients (Jones, n.d, p 1).
Migration patterns that never existed before have been manifested along the east and west coasts. For instance, heat tolerant groups have spread out northward. The effect of this is a new jumble of species in a totally new location, in the end leading to alterations in predatory routines. Those species that will not be able to become accustomed to their new environment will die and become extinct.
The chemical composition of oceans is another aspect that is being altered due to increasing global temperatures. Higher carbon dioxide levels being emitted into oceanscause a rise in their acidity. With higher acidity levels, phytoplankton is trimmed down. The result is reduced marine plants to absorb greenhouse gases.
Elevated acidity levels also impact negatively on other life forms like corals and shellfish. These might become extinct with time if nothing is done to counter global warming.Since the diversity of species is important for human survival, human life will be adversely affected and even human survival will be threatened.
Disappearing ice sheets
Ice sheets at Greenland and Antarctic are diminishing at high rates. Statistics from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment illustrate how Greenland dropped ice ranging from 150 to 250 Km3 annually from two thousand and two to two thousand and six. Antarctica dropped more or less 152 Km3 of ice in the period from two thousand and two and two thousand and five.
Ice sheets outline the earth’s surface and form the principal freshwater source. Shrinking ice sheets put many humans at risk from floods, rise in sea levels, droughts and deficiency in drinking water.The areas that are majorly threatened include Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and several other small island nations.
Ecological units in these areas are being messed up and life that has been thriving there now faces extinction if nothing is done. Animals that won’t thrive in flooded areas such as polar bears face such threats.
Extreme weather events
Quite a number of excessive climate events have taken place in the last few years and they are as a result of global warming. These include pronounced heat waves and intense precipitation. They are expected to increase if appropriate steps are not taken to curb rise in global temperatures. Their effects are detrimental and lead to loss of lives since they are difficult to predict.
Temperature of large lakes increase and the large lakes worldwide have had their temperatures rise drastically. These temperature rises have contributed to increase in algal blooms in lakes and favor invasive species, increase lake stratification and lower lake levels. These changes have adversely affected the fish populations in major lakes thus hindering fishing industrial activities.
Extreme droughts and floods
The high temperatures increases evaporation and more prolonged droughts in some areas of the earth. The increased evaporation leads to increase in amounts of rain received in parts of the world. This leads to flooding. In other cases, some areas receive more rainfall at the expense of the areas which experience drought spells.
However, this is controlled by wind movements which carry the rain bearing clouds with them leaving their areas of origin with no rain bearing clouds thus such areas experience droughts while the areas of destination receiving enormous amounts of rain thus floods. There is a prediction of more violent swings between floods and droughts which will not support any meaningful agriculture thus famine and food insecurity.
This is significant because of the changes in climate patterns which affect rainfall and drought seasons most likely by shortening rainfall periods and lengthening the drought seasons. In ecological systems the earlier timing of spring events and the pole ward and upward shifts in fauna have contributed to global warmingby increasing the recent warming of the earth.
If the process of global warming continues, it will change the ecosystems of certain regions. It is expected that most of the ecosystems will be negatively impacted by these rising temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Global warming is generally expected to cause elimination of plants and animals and reduced multiplicity of the ecosystem.
Poor human health
The warm temperatures are bound to cause more deaths due to heat waves and more allergy attacks as the pollen season grows longer there have been some changes in the ranges of animals that carry disease like mosquitoes. Due to the environmental changes caused by global warming, these disease vectors have mutated over time and have become more difficult to manage. As such they spread more diseases posing a threat to human existence.
Effect on animals
Garbage disposal points when burnt produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. Garbage which is not burnt is left to rot; during this rotting process methane is produced in enormous amounts (Shahan, 2011, p 1). Since methane of one of the greenhouse gases, global warming is bound to increase. Deforestation is another cause of global warming.
This is when people cut down trees, those trees and other green plants absorb carbon dioxideCO2) which is a greenhouse gas. CO2 is produced by the human being and other animals. If the amount of trees and plants is reduced, then less oxygen (O2) produced by the greenery will be released into the air, so people and animals will feel difficult to breathe as increased level of CO2 will be present in the atmosphere. It is the plants which breathe in CO2 and give out O2.
How to curb global warming
This phenomenon needs to be brought to a stop to avoid further negative effects and make the planet habitable for all forms of life. The first step needs to be reducing, reusing and recycling waste. We need to choose reusable commodities as opposed to non-reusable ones.
Production of commodities with least packaging needs to be encouraged. Recycling can be done on paper, plastics, glass and even metal products. This goes a long way in reducing up to an approximated two thousand for hundred pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Humanity needs to use minimal amounts of heat and air conditions in homes, offices and even in transportation means like vehicles. We can begin by insulating our walls and setting up weather stripping about all building openings in a bid to reduce warm up costs by an estimated twenty five percent.
Practices like turning down the heat while asleep or off in the course of the day and maintaining heat levels all the times are recommended. Statistics indicate that maintaining thermostats at two degrees lesser in winter and upper during summer is likely to keep at bay more or less two thousand pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
Car owners need to drive less and smart. Reduced driving translates to fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Mass transportation systems like trains are effective. Whenever driving, we need to ensure that the vehicle is running resourcefully. Tires need to be appropriately inflated and the entire engine well serviced. Every liter of fuel saved keeps carbon dioxide off our atmosphere in addition to saving on running costs (Anair, 2012, p 1).
All of us need to ensure we plant trees and maintain the world’s forest cover to maintain our world green. In the course of photosynthesis, these plants take in carbon dioxide as they release oxygen. With many of them then there will be a good balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Turning off the faucet when brushing teeth is also an effective way combating global warming. This will help reduce the amount of water used thus reduce the pressure on the water supply. Turn off all electrical devices that is, lights, fans television, and computers among others, when they are not in use. This helps in energy conservation thus lessen the pressure on raw materials for energy production.
Using energy-efficient appliances to help save about a third of the energy bills with similar savings on greenhouse gas emissions without scarifying features, style or comfort may as well be used as a remedy. Checking for leaks in toilets, faucets pipes, irrigation systems and others could also be a good prevention method. This will help in water conservation to a greater degree.
Installation of low flow shower heads and having showers instead of having baths, which will also reduce on the amounts of water used in the bathroom. This is where several people share a vehicle to work or school (McCarthy, 2005, p 1). This is an effective way of saving on fuel by exploring economies of scale.
People can also ride a bike instead of driving. This will save on fuel costs while giving one the daily exercise.Mitigation climate change is the reduction of the amount of future climate change.
We have seen that we are our own enemies and enemies of the earth which our own livelihood depend on. It is our own activities that are degrading the natural resources endowed to us by Mother Nature earth. There is much we can do to mitigate the situation and have a cleaner healthier world.
Our own existence is at stake, and the future depends on what we will do from now on. Should nothing be done to correct the situation, we shall cause our own extinction.The general consensus is that global warming is as a result of human activity. Therefore, efforts need to be directed at environmentally safe practices if the planet is to remain habitable for people, other animals and plants.
Universal cooperation efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol need to be encouraged and all world states need to back such efforts.The issue with reducing and stopping the menace of global warming is basically about risk and risk management. There are things that must be sacrificed to save the situation; we have to risk the life without some luxuries to save the future.
In light of the fore-going, the following would help save the situation. All nations should sign the Kyoto type of protocol as a preventive measure towards global warming (McCarthy, 2005, p 1).
Each family should consider establishing small forests and agricultural societies to embrace agro-forestry. This would help in preserving trees and forests which are very significant in preventing global warming as well as other environmental calamities.
Families should also minimize the number of electronics in their households to help in preservation of energy would consequently preserve forests as less trees will be cut out. Countries in the tropics may also consider installing solar panels to minimize on the reliance on hydro-electricity and coal fuel. Government owned public transport should also be established to help regulate the number of private vehicles.
Planting of more trees in areas which did not previously have plantation cover and in areas where deforestation has occurred, the cut trees should be replaced and more trees should even be planted (Anair, 2012, p 1). Similarly, civic education should be provided to citizens to educate them on the importance of conserving and planting trees. This will enhance CO2 absorption thus reducing amounts of greenhouse gases in terms of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
Practice of organic farming where by the organic matter produced as waste from the farms is used as sources of manure and the use of insects and other animals in pest control should be implemented. This eliminates the use of inorganic fertilizers and means of pest control while advocating for alternative ways of promoting agriculture. Since these inorganic materials are not easily bio-degradable, they accumulate in soil causing toxic effects to terrestrial and aquatic life. They also produce Flouro-chloro carbons as byproducts of degradation.
Global warming is a very serious environmental issue facing our world today and it is destroying our lives each and every day. As discussed earlier, the most important cause of global warming has been human activity (Natural resources defense council, 2012, p 1). As a result, the most effective way of combating this disastrous impact is by human changing their ways of living by using alternative ways of livelihoods just to avoid causing the effects of global warming.
This could be done best by using prevention measures by industrial firms because they are the most contributing factors of human activity contribution to global warming. This being said, the world can work together to prevent global warming as much as possible by using prevention measures.
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Noon, M. (2012). Big green wants to repeal the industrial revolution. Washington Examiner. Web.
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