Global warming is not a conqueror to kneel before — but a challenge to rise to.
A challenge we must rise to.
Earlier springs, melting glaciers, rise in the sea level, a steady increase in the global average temperature and accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are some of the forerunners of global warming.
Scientists indicate that not only natural cycles and events are contributing to global warming, but industrial revolution and humans are also responsible for it.
The Earth has a natural greenhouse effect that helps to maintain the Earth’s average surface temperature. When sunlight reaches Earth’s surface, it can either be reflected back into space or absorbed by Earth. Greenhouse gasses slow or reduce the loss of the heat to space. The main greenhouse gases are:
- water vapor (H2O);
- carbon dioxide (CO2);
- methane (CH4);
- nitrous oxide (N2O);
- tropospheric ozone (O3);
- chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) .
Imbalances of these heat-absorbing gases lead to more heat being retained in the atmosphere, which in turn accounts for increases in the temperature. This change is known as global warming.
Currently human activities emit over 30 billion tons of CO2 in a variety of ways into the atmosphere every year. Most of them come from the combustion of fossil fuels. This causes earth to warm up and increase its average temperature.
Other reasons blamed for the greater concentration of carbon dioxide in the air incluse:
- landfills (carbon dioxide is released during the decay of food, vegetation and paper dumped in landfills);
- release of aerosol particles in the atmosphere .
To save the future of our planet, we need to make long-term investments in energy sources with low or no carbon emissions: nuclear energy and renewable sources of energy (solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric) .
It is difficult to predict the outcomes of changing of the natural atmospheric greenhouse; however, some effects seem probable:
- average temperature on Earth will be warmer;
- annual rainfall will increase;
- change of precipitation patterns;
- number of heat waves, hurricanes, lighting strikes, blizzards, rainstorms, and droughts will increase;
- melt of glaciers and ice will increase the sea level;
- acidity of seawater will increase due to the increase of CO2. Ocean acidification will lead to the disappearance of coral reefs;
- natural plant communities may change owing to the change of the temperature and humidity;
- widespread extinction of species;
- return of diseases into areas where they had been extinguished earlier (e.g. mosquito-borne diseases like malaria);
- rise in chronic diseases (e.g. asthma) [2, 3, 6].
On the whole, there is no single solution to prevent global warming. Introduction of efficient low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies, more broad-scale use of renewable energy resources, well-considered management of forest and agriculture will favor the fight against global warming.
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6. Global warming effects and causes: a top 10 list. http://planetsave.com/2009/06/07/global-warming-effects-and-causes-a-top-10-list/ (accessed May 10, 2015).