Global Warming…Fact or Fiction?
One of the largest current debates in the world is whether or not global warming is being caused by unnatural interference to the environment or is it a part of the Earth’s natural cycle of climate patterns. It is glaringly obvious that the world as a whole should agree on some drastic changes to improve our environmental situation immediately. ProCon.org states that the US National Academies of Science, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and many others, say that greenhouse gas levels are rising due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, which are causing significant climate changes including global warming, loss of sea ice, glacier retreat, intense heat waves, stronger hurricanes and more droughts. There is so much scientific evidence available to prove that the human race is the direct cause of global warming and if we don’t fix it now, we will be the cause of our own demise.
The emissions from vehicles, smoke stacks and other pollutant producing man-made creations release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. The most recent readings show that the carbon dioxide levels are higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. (Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate) These readings help support the global temperature increase that occurred during the 20th century. Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect of gases like carbon dioxide since 1859, when British physicist, John Tyndall, began experiments leading to the discovery that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorbs the sun’s heat. (Tyndall) Computer simulations show that increased levels of human-produced pollutants will cause global warming and other climate changes. These readings are not specific about how much the world will heat up in the future or how it will affect the climate; however, they all agree that these temperature increases will happen to some extent. (Schwartz)
In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to review research on climate change. The IPCC issued its first report in 1990 stating that “emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases,” resulting in, “an additional warming of the Earth’s surface. (IPCC)
One of the greenhouse gases, black carbon, which is produced from burning fossil fuels and deforestation, is melting the polar ice cap. (Novakov) The polar ice cap is extremely important to our planet because it reflects the sun’s energy away from the Earth. A small polar ice cap reflects less of the sun’s energy, causing the energy to be absorbed rather than reflected, which increases the ocean and air temperatures. (Stroeve) The melting of the polar ice caps also introduces high levels of regular water into the ocean, which reduces the salinity of the world’s oceans, causing many weather pattern changes. The addition of all of this water is also causing sea levels to rise. If the polar ice caps continue to melt, sea levels will rise to the point where there will be flooding and destruction in coastal cities around the world.
Thousands of studies have been done to prove that human actions are causing global warming. Along with all of these studies, there have been documentaries that have been produced, such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which showed millions of people the effect that we are having on the environment. It seems that big corporations and the government are raking over the facts so they don’t lose money from fossil fuel and other economically profitable businesses. If all of the countries in the United Nations made an agreement to make drastic changes to their...
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Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Caillon, Nicholas, PhD, and Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, PhD. "Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes Across Termination III." Science (2003): n. pag. Print.
Chylek, Petr, PhD
"Climate Change ProCon.org." Climate Change ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. .
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Mayfield, Max, PhD. "Oversight Hearing on the Lifesaving Role of Accurate Hurricane Prediction." US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Disaster Prevention and Prediction (2005): n. pag. Print.
Novakov, Tihomir, PhD
Schwartz, Stephen E. "Uncertainty in Climate Sensitivity: Causes, Consequences, Challenges." Rsc.org/ees. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 21 Aug. 2008. Web. 5 May 2013. .
Stroeve, Julienne, PhD
Tyndall, John. NASA Earth Observatory. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 2 June 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. .
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