Global warming is a huge environmental and economic challenge that we are facing in the 21st century. Global warming is also commonly referred to as the greenhouse effect. Global warming can affect entire ecosystems and climates, which in turn affect the way in which people live. We in our lifetimes will not be around to see the major outcome of global warming; however, it is still a major concern. It has come to be known that the major increase in temperature over the last century is a result of the Industrial Revolution.
During the Industrial Revolution, when new machines were being used, there were major increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which is one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect. This is the main reason that scientists believe the temperature increase is the effect of humans rather than a climate change. Over the course of the past century, the Earth s global temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit. This may not seem like a large increase, but given the time period in which this increase occurred, the change is quite amazing.
Some scientists argue that this one-degree increase is just the Earth s natural changing climate, but others believe that it is due to global warming. More and more scientists are becoming convinced of global warming and its dangers. Global warming is a phenomenon that occurs when fossil fuels are burned and greenhouse gasses are ejected into the atmosphere and burn ozone; the shield that reflects ultra violet rays from the sun. Global warming doesn t just affect the temperature; it also affects all aspects of climate and weather.
The most common belief of global warming is that the temperature increase is in direct variation with the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The affects of global warming will develop slowly over a long period of time. The Earth itself warms as well as its temperature. As the temperature increases, the sea level rises, and precipitation changes along with other climate conditions. As the climate changes, regions forests, crops, and water supplies can be altered. Global warming can eventually threaten human health, birds, fish, and other ecosystems.
Deserts may expand and the characteristics of National Parks may be permanently altered. Most of the United States is expected to warm, although sulfates are expected to keep certain areas cool. Scientists cannot determine which parts of the United States will be affected, but they have concluded that certain areas will become wetter or drier than before, rainstorms will become more intense, and patches of soil will dry up. Unfortunately, most of the greatest impacts depend on the rainfall, which cannot be determined in certain areas.
Scientists have been trying to calculate the results of global warming by doubling and even tripling the Earth s global temperature. The only way they can gain these results is by the use of large computers, which take into account all environmental aspects of climate. Many of these computers have come up with results that vary greatly between one another. The computers are unable to determine a consensus on what will occur in the future; however, they have all determined that the Earth s global temperature will rise. The solution to global warming will not come easily.
It will require nothing less than ending our use of fossil fuels. We have the technology and capability to do this within the next thirty years; however, the true challenge will be to convince government officials to take actions against powerful industries such as the oil, auto, and energy lobbies. Many technological advances have already been made in order to slow down the effects of global warming. Electric or battery operated cars will soon be on the affordable market, as well as solar powered products for work and at home.
Reusable power is a recent technological advance that scientists have discovered, and solar powered products have been efficient and on the market for quite some time now. Common people, along with scientists, are beginning to get a better handle on the global warming situation, and hopefully we should be able to find efficient substitutes for fossil fuels and other harmful gasses. Scientists say that there is not much for us to be worried about, and that the affects of global warming occur so gradually, that we will have enough time to remedy the situation before any disasters take place.
1. Abrahamson, Dean Edwin. The Challenge of Global Warming. Island Press, Washington D. C. , 1989. 2. Firor, John. The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990. 3. Schneider, Stephen Henry. Global Warming: Are we entering the Greenhouse Century? Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1989. 4. Moore, Thomas Gale. Climate of Fear: Why we shouldn t worry about Global Warming. Cato Institute, Washington D. C. , 1998.