Global warming is a serious threat, one that cannot be taken lightly. This article delves deeper into global warming and identifies its devastating causes and effects.
Global warming is mainly caused by an imbalance of “greenhouse gases.” Greenhouse gases in themselves are not evil; in fact, Earth’s atmosphere is basically a by-product of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect keeps some of the heat generated in the earth from escaping into space. Without a suitable greenhouse effect and gases, Earth’s average temperature would be around zero degrees Fahrenheit, and not currently 57 degrees Fahrenheit. However, many scientific institutions have concluded that the ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere, as measured in parts per million, is much higher than it was during the past 650,000 years, and is only projected to increase during the twenty-first century.
Effects of Climate Change
The creation of this extreme amount of carbon dioxide is linked to recent post-industrial human activities such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels. Deforestation is a very heavy contributor to global warming. Trees process carbon dioxide and release oxygen. When forests are destroyed, these natural processing centers are eradicated. The burning of fossil fuels from the burning of gas, oil, and coal releases ‘light’ carbon isotopes into the atmosphere.
The oceans have become increasingly acidic from carbon dioxide sequestration. In addition, the trapped heat causes glaciers to recede, which raises sea levels. This rapid environmental change has resulted in the extinction of wildlife. In the case of the arctic, polar bears are reduced. In Antarctica, certain predatory crustaceans are now moving into previously too cold waters, disrupting and sometimes directly destroying Antarctica’s ocean floor ecosystems.
Environmental consequences of global warming
Although there are several other non-human causes of global warming, such as volcanic explosions and solar radiation, carbon dioxide is the most potent contributor to global warming. Carbon dioxide has one of the highest ‘radiative layer’ indices, meaning that a large amount of energy is retained in the average carbon dioxide molecule. Although there are several other gases in the atmosphere that can actually absorb and trap heat more efficiently than carbon dioxide, scientists have observed that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than, for example, methane, which has the highest radiative forcing index of any gas. . In addition, after carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it takes an average of one hundred years, and in some cases, up to 800 years, to leave the atmosphere. Due to this delay, the temperatures currently experienced on earth are the result of activities carried out some 100 years ago; the effects of today’s activities will not be felt for about a century.
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