What is Global Warming
What is Global Warming
There is life on earth for two reasons – firstly, the availability of water, and secondly, a perfect moderate temperature, fit for the survival of species. Due to some human activities, this average surface temperature of the earth is constantly on the rise. This phenomenon is called global warming.
Several independent studies confirm that every decade is around 0.2°C (0.36°F) warmer than the preceding one. At the present rate, the temperature would rise by around 2.8°C (5°F) by the end of this century. That would be an alarming situation beyond our control.
Global Warming Causes
The causes of global warming are human-induced, that is, they are caused primarily by human activities. Below some of the important causes of global warming are described-
This is in fact the main cause of global warming. Every other cause of global warming, contributes to the greenhouse effect, in some way or the other. Let us understand the greenhouse effect in a very simple way.
Earth’s atmosphere contains a mixture of several gases – Carbon dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Water Vapour (H2O), Ozone (O3), Nitrogen, etc. There is a natural concentration of these gases present in the atmosphere. Some of these gases like, CO2, H2O (vapour), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), and Ozone (O3), are called greenhouse gases, for the reason that they retain Sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere.
These gases form a blanket over the earth’s surface and didn’t let the sun’s heat reflected back from the earth’s surface, to escape outside the atmosphere. Thus, this phenomenon maintains the earth’s average temperature and is called the greenhouse effect.
There are many human activities that result in the production of greenhouse gases, which adds to their already existing natural concentration. This in return causes an escalated greenhouse effect, thereby resulting in more heat from Sun getting retained, which causes a rise in earth’s temperature, which we know as global warming.
Forests are lungs and liver of the planet. They are more important than you might think. They act as natural air filters. We all know that trees inhale Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and exhale life-saving Oxygen (O2). Besides, forests also help in improving the overall air quality index of a place. They help in regulating the carbon footprint of humans.
When more forests are fell, the more greenhouse gases produced due to human activities, escape to the atmosphere, thereby increasing the greenhouse effect and a rise in the earth’s temperature.
Any kind of pollution, in general, is degrading to the environment and is related to global warming in some way or the other. However, land pollution due to landfills and improper disposal of waste is primarily responsible for global warming.
Landfills and waste as such degrade naturally releasing toxic greenhouse gases, such as Methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), etc. These gases only increment the preexisting concentration of greenhouse gases, thereby resulting in the greenhouse effect and hence global warming.
All kinds of passenger and commercial vehicles are the main sources of pollution today. Around two billion vehicles are currently in use across the globe. These vehicles emit harmful exhaust gases like Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, and several hydrocarbons. Many of these gases are potent greenhouse gases causing an escalated greenhouse effect; therefore, resulting in global warming.
Global Warming Effects
The effects of global warming are over a wide spectrum, effecting humans, species, plants, animals, climate, oceans, etc. Discussed below are some of the major effects of global warming.
As we already know that global warming results in a rise in the average atmospheric temperature of the earth. This rise in temperature alters the flow of monsoon winds and other related factors, consequently altering the climatic conditions across the globe.
Not only the climate is getting extreme, but it is also becoming more and more unexpected. It’s raining in the places that usually remain arid throughout the year; on the other hand, places known for precipitation are witnessing less than average rainfall. For instance, several parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa are today experiencing unprecedented heatwaves.
Glacier melts are one of the major impacts of global warming. Since the beginning of the 20th century, specifically, more after the industrial revolution, glaciers are rapidly melting.
Human activities that release greenhouse gases and escalate global warming are primarily responsible for the melting of glaciers. It is a calculated fact that by the end of 2100, one-third of glacier present today would be gone. Another disturbing fact is that around 95% of Arctic Ice has already melted due to global warming.
Rising Sea Level
Global warming results in the melting of glaciers and ice sheets; thereby, increasing sea level. The rate of rising in sea level depends on the rate of glacier and ice sheets melting.
There has been a consistent rise in sea level coinciding with industrialization and global warming. It is estimated that by the end of this century, the global sea level is expected to rise by around 30 cm (1 ft). This is a significant rise in sea level and might result in large scale floods and displacement.
Global warming heats up the surface of the ocean and it is a scientific fact that gases are more soluble in warmer water. For this very reason, the ocean surface water becomes more receptive to atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).
When more CO2 is dissolved in oceanic water, it lowers down the latter’s pH value, thereby making it acidic. Since, the industrial revolution, the pH level of oceans has been lowered by 0.1 pH, which is around a 30% increase in acidic level (since pH is a logarithmic scale).
Global Warming Solutions
In order to reduce global warming and cool down the planet, the first thing we must do is reduce all the factors contributing to the greenhouse effect or global warming. Some of the significant steps towards reducing global warming are as below –
Proper Waste Disposal
Improperly disposed waste in landfills is a major source of greenhouse gases. If arrangements are made for the proper disposal of waste at the source, then there would be no pile-up of waste in open; therefore, no excess greenhouse gases, at least not due to improperly disposed waste. Incinerators can be used to dispose of waste and recycle it.
Strict Regulation of Industrial Pollution
Industries are major contributors to global warming, as they emit huge amounts of toxic greenhouse gases as byproducts. There is a need to strictly regulate the emission mechanism of industries in order to reduce toxic and harmful waste discharge. For example, the exhaust gases could be passed through the water jet so that the gases dissolve in water and didn’t reach the atmosphere.
Reduced Use of Fossil Fuel
Today fossil fuel is used widely in all the places. The transport industry is one of the industries that largely use fossil fuel – petrol and diesel. On combustion, fossil fuel emits greenhouse gases, thereby, resulting in global warming. It is time to move on to more eco-friendly and alternative sources of energy to power our vehicles. Solar power and hydrogen cell batteries are some promising alternatives for the transport industry.
The more forests we plant the cleaner the air will be. Forests make sure that no excess CO2, which is a potent greenhouse gas, reaches the atmosphere and contributes to rise temperature. Besides, more forests mean that we breathe clean and live longer.
It is a phenomenon that impacts the complete ecosystem of the planet. It would be a mistake to neglect it and to think that its effects are localized, affecting only a few places or species. It is a global phenomenon and sooner or later will impact everyone and everything on this planet, if not dealt with strict resolve.
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