Global Warming

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Global warming is harsh reality. An international group of scientists has predicted that by mid-century, up to a third of land plants and animal species may be pushed close to extinction. A significant impact of global warming is already discernible in animal and plant populations. In the Arctic region the massive ice sheets are melting and causing the oceans to rise. This rise in ocean level - estimated to be in the region of 6 feet over the next 100 years - will cause massive coastal destruction. Recent scientific evidence suggests a link between the destructive power of hurricanes and higher ocean temperatures, driven in mostly by global warming.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

Every household contributes to global warming. According to research reports, vehicle use and electricity consumption are two of the greatest contributors to global warming.

The ecosystem of the earth is changing. This can greatly be attributed to man and globalization. There is more carbon dioxide in the air than ever before and this acts as a blanket around the earth and makes it warm. Human activities have burdened the atmosphere with so many heat-trapping gasses from our cars, power plants, etc. that the earth’s natural capacity to absorb heat to keep the temperature within tolerable limits is getting eroded.

All about global warming

Key points - projections for climate change globally:

  • By the second half of the 21st century, wintertime precipitation in the northern mid to high latitudes and Antarctica will rise
  • By the same time, Australasia, Central America and sourthern Africa is likely to see decreases in winter precipitation

In the tropics, it's thought some land areas will see more rainfall and others will see less

  • It is thought the West Antarctic ice sheet is unlikely to collapse this century. If it does fall apart, sea level rises would be enormous
  • Global average temperatures are predicted to rise by between 1.4C and 5.8C by 2100
  • Maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to rise
  • More hot days over land areas and fewer cold days and frost
  • More intense precipitation events

Recently, according to the findings by the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen, growing and burning of many bio-fuels releases around twice the amount of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) than earlier estimated. If this is so, then any benefit of using it as an alternative to fossil fuels will be wiped out.

Common household pollutants

Some examples of common household items polluting the air are:

  • Turning on a light.
  • Watching TV.
  • Listening to a stereo.
  • Washing or drying clothes.
  • Using a hair dryer.
  • Riding in a car.
  • Heating a meal in the microwave.
  • Using an air conditioner.
  • Playing a video game.
  • Using a dish washer.

These create more greenhouse effects in the atmosphere, and collectively they amount to a lot of pollution.

Natural or man made?

Some say that rising temperatures are a natural cycle of climate change. Many scientists believe a major cause is the millions of tons of pollutants released by cars and industry on a daily basis.

In the past century, temperatures have risen somewhere between 0.4°C and 0.8°C. Global warming may be partly natural. However, a big part may be from greenhouse gasses released by industry.

Global warming consequences

Apart from increasing the sea levels, rise in earth’s temperatures can cause other alterations in the ecology, including modifying the quantity and pattern of rainfall. These modifications may boost the occurrence and concentration of severe climate events, such as floods, famines, heat waves, tornados, and twisters.

Lower agricultural outputs, glacier melting, lesser summer stream flows, genus extinctions and rise in the ranges of disease vectors are likely to be the other consequences. Global warming has already made species like golden toad, harlequin frog of Costa Rica extinct and a number of species are threatened with extinction.

  • Global warming has given rise to various new diseases due to an increase in the earth’s average temperature. This is because bacteria can survive better in higher temperatures and even multiply faster when the conditions are favourable.
  • Global warming is enhancing the proliferation of mosquitoes due to the warmer atmosphere and increase in humidity levels.
  • The marine life is also very sensitive to the increase in temperatures and global warming is sure to affect some of the species in the water. It is expected that many species will die or become extinct while others, which prefer warmer waters, will increase tremendously.
  • Perhaps the most disturbing changes are expected in the coral reefs that are expected to die off as an effect of global warming.
  • Global warming is expected to cause irreversible changes in the ecosystem and the behavior of animals.

What can I do?

  • Carpooling would reduce the number of cars on the roads, therefore decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the air.
  • Walking, biking, or taking the bus instead of using a car.
  • Turn off lights, the television, and the computer when they’re not being used.
  • Plant trees. This will reduce the presence of greenhouse gases since trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
  • Recycle cans, plastics, glass, and paper. This way you will send less trash sent to landfills and in turn save natural resources like trees.
  • Buy products, like cars and stereos, that are made specifically to use up less energy.
  • Use solar energy to heat homes.
  • If every American who eats meat daily decides to have one meat-free day a week, it would be the equivalent of taking 8 million cars off the roads?

CopperBytes

  • The twentieth century was the warmest century of the last 1000 years, and the 1990s was the warmest decade of that century.
  • 9000 years ago, average temperatures in southern British Columbia were 1° to 2° C warmer than today.
  • Vikings settled in Greenland during a warm period, when climate was much like it is today - the so-called 'Medieval Warm Period' between 1000 AD and 1200 AD. Climate cooled in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, forcing Vikings to abandon their Greenland settlements.
  • Mackerel, a warm-water fish species, has been found in recent years in the waters off Vancouver Island. There is concern that mackerel may eat young salmon, further depleting stocks.
  • Hydroelectric reservoirs supply 90% of British Columbia's electrical power needs.
  • The cost of fighting forest fires in British Columbia during the hot dry summer of 1998 was $120 million.
  • Warmer spring temperatures have already lengthened the Okanagan growing season. McIntosh apples at Summerland, British Columbia, usually bloom in May. However, of the eight times since 1937 when they have bloomed earlier, five have occurred since 1987.
  • 200 years ago the climate was colder than today. During this period, called the 'Little Ice Age', northern waters were ice choked and European explorers could not navigate the Northwest Passage.
  • Warmer temperatures will thaw traditional ice cellars making them useless for storing meat.

References

  • What causes global warming?
  • Global Warming
  • What is global warming?
  • Causes of Global Warming
  • Biofuels could boost global warming
  • Get Tips to Fight Global Warming
  • Global Warming Facts
  • Sizzling year. Torrid decade. Blistering future?
  • Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program

Additional Information

  • Visit 'Global Warming Cool it: A home guide to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gases' for useful tips on steps you can take to reduce global warming.
  • Take this Global Warming Quiz to test your knowledge of the causes and effects of climate change.
  • Then make a beginning with this Personal Impact Calculator to measure your household's greenhouse gas emissions and learn how to reduce them
  • If you want to raise a voice against global warning in an international forum, join Stopglobalwarming.org and become a part of a movement to make your voice heard
  • A company called Cooler has been launched with the aim of connecting every online purchase to a solution for global warming. It has partnered with hundreds of Internet’s most popular stores to offer millions of products and services. After each purchase you make Cooler calculates the impact your purchase will make on global warming and the stores pay Cooler to invest in projects that would eliminate global warming. It’s free to join and the prices you pay are no higher than normal.