What is Global Warming? Reasons behind Global Warming

"The story about humankind and our relationship with to the earth can be seen as a continuing adventure or a tragedy shrouded in mystery. The Choice is ours." – Al Gore.

Global Warming is a Global Warning. Global Warming is the steady rise of Earth's average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases. Gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil of fuels or from deforestation trap the heat that would escape from Earth in their absence. Global warming and the related climate change are the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its associated effects. This is the Greenhouse Effect. Earth's climate is mostly confined in the 6 miles of the atmosphere envelope which contains most of the gases making up the atmosphere.

The scientific agreement, on Climatic Changes related to global warming, is that the average temperature of the Earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °C over the last century. The amplified volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing, agriculture, and other anthropogenic factors, are believed to be the primary sources of the global warming.

Changes ensuing from global warming may include rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar glaciers, increase in occurrence and severity of storms and other rigorous weather conditions. The global average (land and ocean) surface temperature showed a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C in the period from 1880 to 2012. The rate of warming nearly doubled for the last half of that period (0.07±0.02 °C per decade). The temperatures have been somewhat stable with regional varying fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

The warnings that are evident from the temperature rise include:
  • Rise in Seawater level,
  • Extensive melting of glaciers, land ice and snow,
  • Increased temperature of the oceans,
  • Prevalence of more humid conditions and
  • Early occurrence of spring with blossoming of flowers early.

Reasons for Global Warming

  • Rise in the use of artificial manures on agricultural fields 
    The use of chemical fertilizers (contrasting to the historical use of animal manure) has risen dramatically. The high rate of application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers has effects on the heat storage of cropland. The run-off of excess fertilizers creates ‘dead-zones’ in our oceans. In addition to these effects, high nitrate levels in groundwater due to over-fertilization are cause for concern for human health. This excess use also leads to phenomenon of Eutrophication and Bio magnification in the food chain.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions
    Modern car culture and desire for globally sourced goods are accountable for about 33% of emissions. With our population growing at a disturbing rate, the demand for more cars and consumer goods means that we are increasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing. Our utilization is outpacing our discoveries of ways to mitigate the effects, with no end in sight to our massive consumer way of life.
  • Methane emissions
    Methane is another extremely intoxicating greenhouse gas, ranking just after Carbon Dioxide. When organic matter is broken down by bacteria under oxygen-starved surroundings (anaerobic decomposition) as in rice paddies and in intestines of herbivorous animals, methane is produced. Methane clathrate, a compound containing large amounts of methane trapped in the crystal structure of ice. As methane escapes from the Arctic seabed, the rate of global warming will increase notably.
  • Greenhouse Gas emissions from power plants 
    The ever mounting dependence on electricity from coal burning power plants releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Every day, more electric gadgets flood the market, and with no extensive substitute energy sources, we are highly dependent on burning coal for our individual and commercial electrical supply.
  • Deforestation 
    The use of forests for fuel (wood and charcoal) is one of the major causes of deforestation. Forests capture a lot of Carbon dioxide as well as the same time emit oxygen in the environment. Burning up of forests not only releases carbon dioxide due to burning but also reduces the amount of carbon capture on the planet. This increases the amount of tolerable amounts of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere.

Global Warming is leading to a worldwide awakening which needs to be realized and dealt with as early as possible. In our next few articles we will deal with Global warming and its effect on various aspects of our existence on this planet Earth.

Read More
Impact of Climate Change on society
Cons of Nuclear Energy
Pros and Cons of Wind Energy

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