We all know that our planet is facing the threat of global warming. But how much do we really know about global warming? What does it mean, what is causing it, and more importantly, what proof of global warming do we have? Are its effects as devastating for Earth and its inhabitants as we think? Today we are going to explore the issue of global warming. We are going to focus on what it means, what are the causes behind it, and how can we tell that our planet is struggling with it.
What Is Global Warming?
Global warming is how people describe the increase in the temperature of the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. This constant increase is believed to be irreversibly changing the climate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Earth’s temperature has risen 0.8 degrees Celsius in the last century. The prediction is that in the next 100 years, the temperature will rise by another 1.133 to 6.42 degrees C.
What Causes Global Warming?
Unfortunately, the answer is us humans. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report that clearly stated that there is no doubt regarding the link between global warming and climate change and human activities.
Global warming is mostly caused by the greenhouse gases, which lead to the greenhouse effect. Some of the most well-known greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, or methane. But out of all of them, carbon dioxide is the one causing the issue of global warming. That is because humans release more and more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, through daily activities. This carbon dioxide is what traps the heat radiating from the Sun. This causes the Earth to heat up more than normal, which is what is called the man-made greenhouse effect.
But how do people release this amount of carbon dioxide in the air? Mainly through burning fuel such as oil and coal, to use for energy. But another reason is also deforestation. Cutting down trees increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, because trees used to absorb a lot of it. The fact that carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that can survive in the Earth’s atmosphere for thousands of years, only makes the problem worse. In 2013, scientist have revealed that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was of 400 parts per million, which is the highest it has ever been since the Pliocene Epoch, so between 3 million and 5 million years ago.
Proof of Global Warming
Proof of global warming is more than enough out there to convince any skeptic that this is an issue that requires our immediate and collective efforts. Let’s take a closer look at what are the signs through which our planet is trying to warn us about the threat of global warming.
The Temperature Is Increasing
The first proof of global warming is the fact that the Earth’s temperature is increasing. And the rates at which this is happening are unprecedented in the last 1,300 years. Since 1880, the Earth started to warm up at a concerning rate, with most of it happening since 1970s. The 20 warmest years have occurred since 1981, and 10 of them happened only in the last 12 years. An extremely recent study conducted by NASA in August of this year shows how July 2016 has been the hottest July in 136 years and the hottest month on record.
Rising Sea Levels
Another proof of global warming is the rising sea level. This happens because of two main reasons. First, the planet’s ice is melting. Second, the ocean is expanding thermally. In the last century, the sea level rose around 6.7 inches. In the last decade, this rate has doubled compared to the overall century rate. Scientists believe that by the year 2010 the sea level will rise 82 feet.
More Proof of Global Warming
Apart from the sea rising, one other proof of global warming is the fact that the oceans are warming up as much as the Earth’s surface. The top 2,300 feet of ocean has warmed up with 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Moreover, their acidity has increased 30% as a result of the release of so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Not only are the oceans warming up, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting. Between the years 2002 and 2006, Greenland has lost between 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice, while Antarctic has lost 36 cubic miles. Ice melting is also a common occurrence in Arctic sea. Glaciers are also retreating all over the world, snow covers in the Northern Hemisphere are melting faster, and extreme weather has stopped surprising anybody. The amount and the pattern of precipitations is changing. Extreme weather events such as rainfalls, tornadoes, and hurricanes are also changing. If this is not enough proof of global warming, then we don’t know what is.
5 Devastating Outcomes of Global Warming
Now that we have provided you with proof of global warming, we have to understand why is it such a great threat for our planet. To that purpose, let us explore 5 of the most devastating outcomes of global warming.
More Frequent Droughts and Intense Heat Waves
Since the Earth’s temperature is rising so much, more heat weaves and droughts are bound to come. Heat waves are predicted to last longer each time, and cold waves are said to decrease in length and intensity as well. Lengthy periods of uncharacteristically hot weather will clearly damage the Earth’s surface, leading to more droughts than ever.
As the temperature will continue to rise, the soil will lose moisture and intensify heat waves even more. Scientists predict that if in the past, we would see one extremely hot day every 20 years, the future will bring us such events every two or three years. Heat waves are extremely dangerous for the population, as they can lead to heat stokes, exhaustion, and so on.
More Damaging Wildfire Seasons
Watching the news each summer, one can see more and more cases of wildfire disasters. There is something called the wildfire season, and due to global warming, its length is increasing dramatically. This is due to the extreme rise in temperature, which causes forests to be drier and hotter – the perfect environment for a wildfire to start.
More Precipitations and Flooding
The average precipitation has increased since 1900, and it is predicted that the future will bring even more precipitation. The increase in temperature is responsible once more, as heavier downpours tend to be more and more common. Of course, this increases the risk of flooding. For example, to put things into perspective, let’s take an example from the United States. Compared to 50 years ago, heavy downpours now bring 67% more precipitation in the Northeast, 31% more in the Midwest, and 15% more in the Great Plains.
Extreme Weather Events Will Increase
There is scientific evidence that global warming is causing extreme weather events to become stronger and more frequent. Some of these extreme events we have discussed already: floods, heat waves, droughts, or extreme precipitation. But the bigger concern are hurricanes. They are getting more frequent, more intense, and they last longer too. Scientist have started to observe this change since the early 1980s. They fear that in the future, hurricanes will become even more powerful, bringing destruction and chaos to our planet.
Our Health Will Be Affected
Global warming doesn’t only affect our planet directly, it also affects our health. And maybe people would be more concerned with this issue if they would be aware of the fact that the consequences of global warming are not only long-term. They can also feel them by themselves each year.
The rise in temperature is caused by the amount of carbon dioxide that humans release in the atmosphere. That is why air pollution is also a very real threat. And pollution can severely affect our health. Moreover, people suffering from allergies have even more to fear now. Allergy seasons will be longer and become more intense than ever.
Heatwaves are also a danger to our health, as they can cause heat strokes and exhaustion, and even increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It will become almost impossible to go outside during the most intense days of summer without getting affected by the scorching heat. Heavier rainstorms are a threat as well, since they can cause flooding, which leads to loss of human life and settlements. Finally, global warming can also cause a spread in insect-borne diseases.
Global Warming Summed up
No matter what some skeptics may say, scientists can prove global warming. And as long as you are an inhabitant of this Earth, there is no way you can avoid or escape it. We hope our guide has provided you with the necessary information to understand what global warming is and what is causing it. More importantly, we have decided to include evidence that global warming is happening, as well as some of the most devastating consequences it has. We believe this will help readers understand better why we have to unite our forces in the battle against global warming.