Global warming can be described as the phenomena where atmospheric temperatures near the surface of the Earth is rising or warming, without any allegations of the causes or its degree. Global warming is a type of climate change which atmosphere is experiencing currently, in the past and in the future.
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Another kind of climate change is global cooling which is the decrease in the atmosphere temperature. Both increase and decrease of Earth temperatures have severe impacts on human activities. This climate change will affect where we live, the types of plants we can grow, and the place to plant these types of crops.
To understand the degree of these possible effects, research on the extent of these warming should be done; how long the Earth is warming and factors which trigger these changes. Through understanding of the levels and cause of global warming, it will help in enhancing some policies and decision making.
Global warming is caused by several factors such as greenhouse gases, methane from organic matters, and other human activities. This paper would discuss some of these causes of global warming and its effects on human lives.
Graph 1: It shows Seasonal Mean Temperature Change (Xaue 513).
A greenhouse effect refers to the phenomena where water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other major gases in Earth help in sustaining the atmospheric temperatures near the surface of the Earth. Greenhouse effect helps in preventing the severe effects since it helps in regulating the normal temperatures and if Greenhouse effect would not have been there, ecosystems could have experience critical effects.
Sometimes there is raise in greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide and this can be described as greenhouse warming. Scientific society have considered global warming as a reality but showing that acceptance of its existence would indicate that we know and understand what bring about Earth to warm.
There has been enough evidence that there is increase in amount of greenhouse gases in Earth atmosphere and this has been facilitated by human activities (NASA). However, the precise reasons why greenhouse gases are increasing in our atmosphere, which most people believe to cause changes in climate and temperatures, remain unidentified (Wood 74).
Table 1: shows the role of greenhouse gases as a percentage (Xaue 513).
Increase of carbon dioxide quantity in atmosphere, which mostly comes from discharge of fossil fuel, is mainly caused by human activities which bring about global warming.
Carbon dioxide is mostly discharged to the atmosphere through burning substances in the cars, trains, factories, and other areas which are associated with carbon. This shows that less fossil fuel should be used to maintain Earth temperatures and climates. Alternatively, effective mechanisms to store carbon, plants, are presently being demolished through human activities (Fisher 55).
Deforestation is another factor which raises the harshness of global warming. Carbon dioxide is often discharged when there is increase of human activities in forests and grasslands and hence urban and farmland areas are exposed to high content of carbon dioxide in the air. All plants serve as store for carbon and when all these plants are destroyed, carbon dioxide is discharged to the atmosphere. As people destroy grasslands and forests for their own purposes, huge quantities of stored carbon go into the atmosphere.
Graph 2: temperatures collected between 1880 and 2006 (Fisher 46).
There is larger amount of methane in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. However, since methane is very dominant, it contributes more effects than carbon dioxide on the issue of global warming.
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They are formed when organic substances are broken down by bacteria under oxygen-starved states and this happens when organic substances are contained undersea. These processes also take place inside the intestines of herbivorous animals. Since there is increase of agriculture all over the world, it currently contributes to the increase amount of methane in atmosphere (Bracmor 6).
A Growing Problem
The “green revolution” in the current environment has promoted the application of chemical fertilizers and farming equipment to produce more food to fulfill population needs (GRC 34). Plants take in this nitrogen on their own also and human innovations have been greatly utilized by farmers to add extra nitrogen to the soil than all the crops in the universe all together.
Nitrogen oxides have higher potential, 250 times more, to trap heat than carbon dioxide, and people discharge this every day they use fertilizers containing nitrogen content (GRC 34). The current farming methods are the key causal to global warming than what vehicles contribute collectively. This is because of the discharge of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels used in current farming and more notably is the discharge of nitrogen oxides and methane to the atmosphere.
Global temperatures in due course are reliant on main volcanic eruptions and not from human activities which are considered in global warming, where they have brought about heating, but the key impacts are on global cooling (Xaue 724). Toba eruption was measured as 40 cubic miles and this is huge when related to the human pollution which has been considered in global warming to cause major impacts.
There are proofs that equator experienced several years of global cooling with decreased temperatures at upper latitudes (Sorokhtin, Chilingar and Khilyu 11). There are incidents of volcanic eruptions taking place somewhere on earth almost incessantly and the huge eruptions contribute to global cooling.
Some smaller volcanic eruptions also contribute to some extent and some studies proposed that aerosols released by industries and agriculture sector on Earth could contribute to variations in climate. Some studies also asserted that dust and smoke would bring about severe global cooling; these dust and smokes come from human activities like industries, transportation sector, agriculture, and deforestation.
All through its history there have been cooling and warming in atmosphere and the latest ice age started around 25 million years ago. At that moment, Antarctica was experiencing major temperature variations and while the ice age went on, snow started being experienced in the continent making the earliest layers of ice caps; Antarctica is well-known from this incidence.
As from that period, the Earth has experienced warming through numerous small ice ages. The famous “Little Ice Age” occurred between 1500 and 1800 AD and the average temperatures at that time went down from 3-4°C below current measured temperatures (Sorokhtin, Chilingar and Khilyu 12).
In the past, enhanced temperature measurement had not been invented and it was difficult to determine the actual temperatures. Use of paleoclimatology has helped scientist to determine the past climate states and assess climate practices causing these states. Paleoclimatologists can understand the past temperature conditions through observing human records like diaries and they can as well investigate the natural records like tree rings.
This helps to evaluate conditions of the past climate and predict average temperatures (Annex 310). Through comparison of current temperatures with the past temperatures change paleoclimatologists can obtain a clue of the rate in which conditions have change all through the way.
Kyoto protocol is one major tool used to solve the issue of global warming and it includes some responsibilities which were agreed by industrialized nations to decrease their discharge of various greenhouse gases to the atmosphere which mainly causes global warming. The agreement stated that industrialized nations should decrease their emissions by as a minimum 5% from 2008 to 2012 match up with 1990 levels (Hunter 61).
Kyoto Protocol showed a major advancement in the attempt to solve climate change as it contains effective goals of limiting and decreasing emissions of greenhouse gasses. Some of the options which Protocol proposes are designed to meet particular goals like maximizing or implementing countries policies to decrease the discharge and collaboration with other nations to act on the issue.
Effect of Global warming
The main effect of global warming is increase in normal temperatures and is commonly brought about by greenhouse effect. An increase in Earth temperatures have been experience in the last ten years, since 1998. These conditions have major effect on animals and plants existing on Earth.
Melting of icecaps will cause increasingly melting of water into the oceans and seas and these processes usually result in water levels to increase. Therefore causing destructive impacts on the floras and faunas which depend on salty water since large amounts of water which are poured into oceans are fresh and certainly will reduce salt contents.
This would cause effect on people who are depending on food supply from fish and other marine life. Additionally, this will affect ocean currents which have an enormous impact on controlling Earth temperatures and climate. The effects of severe weather system are vast and they often lead to large scale destruction of houses and living standards, deaths, have huge impact on global economy, and promote spread of diseases.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that global warming are caused by various factors from greenhouse effect to human activities. Governments should address this issue since it has huge effect on the ecosystems. The rising discharge of greenhouse gasses by developed countries would severely affect developing countries also.
Hence, it was extremely essential for the members of the United Nations to come up with an important solution to the issue, Kyoto protocol. Even though it appears as an insignificant step in the appropriate direction, it demonstrated that at least developed nations are concerned about ecosystems.
Some have come up with positive effects of global warming. Some claim that plants as well favor warmer periods and warmer Earth signifies lengthier growing seasons. Together with raised degrees of CO2, crops would turn energetic therefore increasing productivity.
Despite the efforts to solve the problem of global warming, various challenges have been experienced on the way. With the decrease in global warming, energy productions are affected and hence affecting trade and economy. Energy trade greatly contributes to the world economy and any change in economic activities like supply and production will hence affect the political image.
Economic and political strength traditionally has been facilitated by trade ventures between countries. Developed countries should consider beginning to reduce the use of fossil fuels and go for some other energy options will free them from relying on oil.
Annex, Peter. Paleoclimatology: Paleoclimatology, Dye 3, Heinrich Event, Proxy, Abrupt Climate Change, Atlantic, Speleothem, Dendroclimatology, Older Dryas. Florida: General Books LLC, 2010. Print.
Bracmor, Kelsi. Methane Capture: Options for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction. Philadelphia, PA: Diane Publishing, 2011. Print.
Fisher, Arthur. “Global warming: Saving the Planet.” Popular Science 235.4 (2009): 51-67. Print.
GRC. “Global Warming and Cooling.” National journal 40.3 (2008): 27-30. Print.
Hunter, Michael. “Global warming Agreement.” Australian farm journal 15 (2005): 56-172. Print.
Sorokhtin, O, George Chilingar and Leonid Khilyu. Global warming and global cooling: evolution of climate on Earth. Oxford: Elsevier, 2007. Print.
Wood, William. Global Warming: A Natural Phenomenon. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2005. Print.
Xaue, Zhejian. Journal of Zhejiang University: Science 8 (2007): 511-986. Print.