Global warming is the name given to the phenomenon that involves the earth warming up. More specifically it refers to the fact that the Earth has got at least two degrees warmer than it was in pre industrial times. This may not sound like much but it has already had a significant effect on the world’s climate, the sea levels and on ice in the polar regions of the planet.
Global warming is sometimes also referred to as the greenhouse effect. Think of a greenhouse and how it is hotter inside the greenhouse than it is outside. This is because the greenhouse is designed to trap the sun’s rays inside it. This is analogous to many aspects of global warming, which comes about in large part due to so called greenhouse gases (pollutants in the atmosphere) creating a layer above the earth that traps the sun’s rays in the atmosphere and thus drastically heats it up.
Facts about global warming –
Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time and so it is crucial to know all of the facts about it. So, below, you will find a list of 10 facts about global warming. How many of them do you know already?
- Global warming is very much linked to the industrial revolution. The so called industrial revolution, which occurred in the 19th century and which many people would argue is still ongoing, was the time when the world became more mechanised. Factories were built and started burning fossil fuels in large quantities, cars were invented and people started to use them to get around and so on and so forth. The vast amount of fossil fuels that humans started burning during the industrial revolution remain key drivers of climate change. That is why the change in the earth’s temperature that is attributed to global warming is calculated as the difference between the temperature now and the temperature in what are called pre industrial times.
- A temperature rise of 4 degree is seen to be a tipping point.Scientists frequently affirm that if temperatures are allowed to rise to 4 degrees above pre industrial levels, climate change will be irreversible. That is why it is so important to act now to halt global warming before it is too late.
- Key causes of global warming. Factories, cars, the aviation industry and the shipping industry are all key causes of global warming in the present day. The burning of fossil fuels is another big cause of global warming because it produces large amounts of greenhouse gases.
- The main gases involved in global warming. Methane and carbon dioxide are the main greenhouse gases that cause global warming. These are the gases that need to be curbed and controlled in order to stop the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and surface.
- Sea level rises. The melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming will result in considerable rises in sea levels by the end of the 21st century. Scientists predict that these rises could be between 7 and 23 inches. That may not sound like a lot but it could leave whole states of the US (such as Florida) underwater and whole cities (such as Amsterdam) totally waterlogged as well.
- The melting of Arctic ice – how severe is it? The Arctic has, historically, been covered with ice throughout the year. However, due to global warming, the Arctic is expected to experience a summer that is totally free of ice by 2040.
- The region of the world that is most affected by global warming. Again, this is the Arctic. The most drastic effects of global warming can be seen in the Arctic and these effects will have huge implications for the rest of the world. The loss of ice, the loss of habitats and rising sea levels will all be experienced by organisms living in the Arctic over the next few decades. Indeed, the effects of global warming can already clearly be seen in the Arctic region.
- Impact on coral reefs. Another key area of impact is on coral reefs. These have suffered what is called bleaching: coral dying off and with it the ecosystem surrounding it. Coral reefs have taken many thousands of years to build up so their loss is devastating for our planet. Over the past decade the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef – one of the supremely precious natural wonders of our world – has been visible from space.
- How much CO2 to humans dump in the atmosphere? Records suggest that every year we humans release around 37 billion tonnes (metric tonnes that is) of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is a huge amount, and it is far too much. Most of this comes from the burning of fossil fuels in cars, the aviation industry, the shipping industry and in factories and power plants.
- CO2 levels in the atmosphere.Another way of thinking about CO2 levels is thinking of how they have changed in terms of percentages since pre industrial times. Since the pre industrial era (say the 1700s), CO2 levels in our atmosphere have increased by around 34 %. Again, this percentage is far too high and must be curbed immediately.