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.
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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 (National Research Council, 6). 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. 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.
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 (Ramaswamy, 1138). Thus, a way(s) of reducing the amount of these gases in the atmosphere needs to be worked out.
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.
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 (Peterson, 17).
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.
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 (National Research Council, 11).
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. 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.
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 (Peterson, 18).
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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.
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 (National Research Council, 13). Creatures that once traveled to the floor for nourishment are now hitting upon areas devoid of nutrients.
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 (Peterson, 18). 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 oceans cause 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.
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 (Church and White, 18). 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 (Peterson, 18). Their effects are detrimental and lead to loss of lives since they are difficult to predict.
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 (National Research Council, 17).
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 (National Research Council, 19). Every liter of fuel saved keeps carbon dioxide off our atmosphere in addition to saving on running costs.
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.
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.
Church, J. A. and N.J. White, A 20th century acceleration in global sea level rise, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L01602, doi:10.1029/2005GL024826. (2006).
National Research Council (NRC), 2006. Surface Temperature Reconstructions For the Last 2,000 Years. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Peterson, T. C. et.al., “State of the Climate in 2008,” Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v. 90, no. 8, August 2009, pp. S17-S18.
Ramaswamy, V. et.al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling,” Science 311 (24 February 2006), 1138-1141.