The reality of global warming: scary facts, and possible future consequences
It’s very likely that most people would feel uncomfortable if too much heat-emitting activities (such as cooking, use of electrical appliances, etc.) occur in their houses; in addition, most people would feel “very very” uncomfortable if there are no escape routes for heat generated from too many activities that produce heat, and make their houses difficult to stay in.
If the statements in the previous paragraph are true, then imagine how much more uncomfortable all living things on Earth would feel as a result of negative impacts man-made (artificial) activities on the environment—especially when generated heat is trapped within Earth’s atmosphere.
Man-made activities, such as breeding/raising livestock, and burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil to power industries, vehicles, and appliances in homes) usually release high quantities of carbon dioxide, methane, etc., into the atmosphere.
These gases, along with nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), amongst others, are greenhouse gases, and contribute to “the greenhouse effect”.
The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped within the Earth’s environment.
High quantities of trapped heat cause global temperatures to rise—“global warming”.
Extra details about the causes of global warming
Although details of global warming are well known, some important points will be stated for the benefit of those who might not know a thing or two about it.
Naturally, certain gases like carbon dioxide and methane (known as greenhouse gases—GHGs) help the Earth to trap the sun’s heat (cosmic rays) in the atmosphere, from where plants absorb it, use it to grow to maturity, and provide all types of food that empower all other living things.
Also, naturally, greenhouse gases warm the Earth’s surface to an extent that is enough to sustain all forms of life. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the Earth would be around zero degrees (0º) Fahrenheit, instead of today’s temperature which is around 58º Fahrenheit.
(Note that a temperature of 0º Fahrenheit would not be sufficient enough to empower many important natural processes that keep most forms of life alive.)
Man-made activities, especially burning of fossil fuel and coal, produces methane, other greenhouse gases, and carbon cycles that emit carbon dioxide which is absorbed every year by oceans, seas, plants, lands, etc.
Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect, and negatively impact global climate by warming.
97% of scientists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of global warming
Mankind has to be concerned about global warming, especially when multiple reviews of scientific literature have pointed to the fact that about 97% of scientists/climate specialists believe that man-made activities are the major cause of the high level of global warming which the world has been experiencing in recent times.
Also, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists have concluded with 90% confidence that global warming is increasing beyond the natural level because of increasing heat-emitting man-made activities which produce lots of carbon dioxide through burning of natural non-renewable resources like fossil fuel oil, and coal.
In an Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unprecedented in the last 800,000 years”.
It is now an indisputable fact that the earth is heating up. In fact, within the last century, the Earth’s temperature is believed to have risen by 1.3° Fahrenheit, and temperatures are still rising.
With global warming on the rise, in about 10, 20, or more years from today, mankind will likely feel greater negative impact of man-made burning and heating activities if sensible ways are not discovered and used to halt escalating rates of heating activities.
The negative effect of gases generated from man-made (anthropogenic) activities has been observed in the climate system, and is believed to be the major cause of global warming which has been observed since the middle of last century—the 20th century.
Evidence of the negative impacts of global warming
- The thickness of ice in the regions around the north of the Arctic Circle has decreased by a surprising 50% within the past 50 years. Currently, much of the Arctic ice is just below the freezing point, and is floating on water where it is highly sensitive to little rises in temperature that can make it melt completely.
- Large chunks of ice at the South Pole around the Antarctic Circle, which have been stable for tens of thousands of years, are gradually breaking off. In fact, during the year 2000, a piece of ice with an area of about 4,200 square miles, broke off. Also, in the year 2002, a large piece of ice broke off in the Thwaites Glacier.
- In 2007, Greenland’s ice shelves decreased in size by 24 square miles. In 2008, it decreased further by 21 square miles.
- Each time the ocean rises vertically by one foot, it spreads horizontally by about 100 feet, and covers more land. Researchers observed that sea levels rose by 8 inches in the past century, and was due to expansion of seawater as a result of absorbing more heat.
- As the Earth’s temperature in rising, tropical diseases are gradually spreading northward; dangerous insects, waterborne diseases and malaria are spreading northwards.
- From reliable records of temperatures taken in the past, 1995, 2005, and 2010 ranked among the hottest years ever, while the period between 2000 and 2009 was once considered to be the hottest decade.
- Recent levels of carbon dioxide emission have been the highest in the past 100,000 years.
Despite all the evidence some people still don’t believe in global warming
It’s surprising that with all the evidence presented to the world by science, quite a number of people still don’t believe the globe is heating or warming up.
It is obvious that such people need to be educated to an extent. The following points could really clear up misunderstandings, or unfounded beliefs:
- Greenhouse effect causes global warming when the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat radiating from the Earth towards space. Examples of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water (H2O) vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
- There are 2 types of greenhouse effects that are part of global warming: man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse effect, and natural greenhouse effect. Man-made greenhouse effect is caused by mankind, while natural greenhouse effect (which is mild) is caused by nature.
- Natural greenhouse effect is spurred by natural solar and cosmic rays, and is extremely important because it supports all forms of life.
- The major problem is that the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made) has been strengthened by man-made activities, and made life-threatening negative impact on the whole environment.
- Human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, clearing of forests, amongst others, have strengthened the general greenhouse effect (natural + man-made), and caused global warming to be higher than it naturally was in the near and distant past; also, recent negative effects of warming are worse than at any other time in recorded history.
- Man-made activities (especially the incessant and excessive burning of large quantities of fuel) have increased the total quantity of heat, and caused overall global warming (natural + man-made) to be higher than the natural level that cosmic rays has been producing for billions of years.
- The greenhouse effect, which has increased excessively due to increasing man-made activities, is mainly attributed to increasing carbon dioxide emission levels.
One major question usually asked by people who don’t believe in global warming—and an answer
Question: If global warming is real, why is it so cold in some parts of the world?
Answer: Global warming is a gradual and on-going process that does not prevent cold weathers. Global warming can make average cold weathers not to be colder, and average warm weathers to be hotter: when temperatures are rising, it would be unlikely for colder weathers to occur, and likely for hotter weathers to occur.
Another thing is that a study of special local weather patterns could be misleading. Weather specialists have observed that cold winters in the North-eastern part of U.S.A. could be an exception; in which case there is abnormal warm winter around the same period in the whole of the northern hemisphere.
Over time, scientists expect winters to become shorter as global temperatures continue to rise. Some researchers have observed that colder-than-average winters could be caused by climate change. How? As the climate warms, more water vapor is produced; it enters the atmosphere, intensifies rain and snowstorms, thereby creating colder and snowier environments—winter.
Possible negative impacts of global warming in the future—if man-made heating activities are not curbed
- According to the United Nations, sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the year 2100.
- The polar ice cap may vanish completely and permanently, and alter the Earth’s natural weather by changing the flow of air and ocean currents around the world.
- If all the ice in Antarctica melts, sea levels would rise by about 180 feet worldwide.
- If all the ice in Greenland melts, sea levels would rise by about 21 feet worldwide.
- If ocean and sea levels continue to rise, there will be a gradual change in the orientation of the map of the Earth’s coastlines
Do you think mankind should completely put a halt to man-made activities that have been heating up the Earth and causing drastic negative impacts on the environment? Or, do you think global warming does not exist, and mankind should continue with its current rate of fossil fuel usage, and other activities that have been causing global warming?
Comments about your opinion will be appreciated in the comment section.