Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?
Global warming is the recorded and projected rise in the Earth’s average atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. In the year nineteen eighty six Svante Arrhenius, a Nobel Prize laureate from Sweden, brought to the attention of the world the imminent danger of global warming but nobody paid attention to his concerns. Today the topic of global warming has become a universal concern with everyone taking the threats posed by global warming seriously. The same people, whose activities contributed greatly to this problem, are more than willing to help in dealing with this problem. However, some people are skeptics who claim that global warming is just fiction
Even though conservationists and scientists all over the world are apprehensive of the factual threat of global warming, skeptics of global warming are still resolute that it is a hoax. The entire notion of global warming revolves around the verity that the planet is becoming warmer and a considerable part of this can be accredited to anthropogenic causes (human-induced causes). Over and over again cynics of global warming have come up with arguments to oppose global warming. In their views, the forecast made by different environmentalists and scientists are founded on climatic models that are in actual fact computer generated programs, which make them unreliable.
Records from different geological departments indicate that there has been a steady rise of global temperatures in the last few decades. This is a clear fact that there is a rise in global temperatures. There are several factors that have been attributed to causing global warming. They are divided into two categories, anthropogenic causes and natural causes. Anthropogenic or manmade causes are those factors that result from human activities whereas natural causes are natural elements that have always existed and are necessary for maintaining the ideal climatic balance of the planet making it inhabitable to humans.
The natural causes of global warming are created by nature. There are two main underlying principles to natural causes of global warming. The first natural cause of global warming is the discharge of the gas methane from arctic tundra and marshlands. Methane is a greenhouse gas. A greenhouse gas entraps heat in the atmosphere therefore, release of this gas into space traps heat in the atmosphere causing it to maintain a high level of temperature on the Earth.
The second natural cause of global warming occurs when the earth undergoes a cycle of climatic change. This climatic change typically lasts for about forty thousand years therefore the Earth is subject to change after these years. This process assists in keeping the earth adequately temperate for the survival of its habitats. In the absence of these natural aspects of global warming, the Earth would have been, to a great extent, colder and possibly unsuitable for human habitation.
The manmade causes of global warming are considered the major contributing factors to global warming. Human-induced causes almost certainly do the most harm. These anthropogenic causes are diverse. Of all the manmade causes of global warming, pollution is the leading cause. Pollution occurs in many different ways such as burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are sources of energy made of organic material for example coal, or crude oil. Burning of these fossil fuels emits a greenhouse gas known as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Mining of fossil fuels (coal and oil) lets methane gas escape from the ground and into the atmosphere where it concentrates and, together with carbon dioxide, traps heat increasing the Earth’s temperature. Manure from farm animals and food production, especially rice production are other sources of methane gas. This is because methane is trapped in these marshlands and released to the atmosphere when preparing the field for the next planting season.
An increase in population also promotes global warming in that, more people need more food therefore more cattle meant for meat will produce more manure and more planting of food will cause the release of methane into the atmosphere. An increase in the population causes an increase in demand for transportation thus more cars which use oil and produce carbon dioxide therefore increasing its deposit in the atmosphere creating a trap bed for heat. Other greenhouse gases include; ozone, nitrogen compound and chlorofluorocarbons which are produced during industrial processes and which cause the same damage as methane and carbon dioxide.
In addition, human beings breathe out carbon dioxide therefore the more the people, the more the production of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, the trees that convert this carbon dioxide into oxygen are being cut down to create land for building homes and commercial buildings or to be used as fuel, which will produce more carbon dioxide. Deforestation and cutting down of trees without replacing them is causing an imbalance in nature since the pace at which carbon dioxide is being produced is higher than the pace at which its being converted into oxygen thus leaving a higher deposit of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
The consequences of global warming are immense with some already being felt and others being projected to be experienced in the near future if this concern is not tackled immediately. The foremost effect of global warming is on climate. The ever-increasing number of hurricanes being experienced on our coastlines is conceivably the biggest substantiation of climate change provoked by global warming. In addition, summers have become hotter and winters have become colder than normal as evidenced in the past ten years. These variations in global temperatures are causing famine, heat and cold waves, floods as well as change in the rainfall patterns the world over.
Global warming is also to blame for the extinction of some species of animals including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects over the past one hundred years. A huge number of these extinctions occurred due to abrupt switch in temperatures and habitats lost as a result of climate change. An example of extinct animals is the Monteverde toad common in Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests which became extinct in the year nineteen eighty nine due to the uncommonly temperate climate while the rapid evaporation of water bodies exterminated all the tadpoles prior to their maturation. The polar bear too is fighting to survive as its natural habitat is dying as a result of the melting of ice caps causing them to migrate northwards in search of habitable ground. This migration may cause conflict and fighting for territory.
Apart from causing extinction of animals, global warming has also been credited with causing evolution in others. This occurs as these animals strive to acclimatize to new changes in weather in a bid to survive. Some animals are changing genetically to become more tolerant to heat although in most cases, the animals are changing their gene frequency in response to global warming. They may not necessarily become heat tolerant but they are adapting to seasonal timing changes. Some of the animals that have evolved due to global warming include the Canadian squirrel, some bird species like the European great tits and the blackcap as well as the North American mosquitoes which have changed their breeding cycles to suit the changes in the weather.
Melting of the ice caps will further lead to rise in sea level which will intern lead to submerging of costal lines and small islands. When ice caps melt they will flow into the seas and, considering that they are fresh water, they will desalinate the seas causing great imbalance in the ecosystem. Similarly, gases like oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are dissolved in seawater. Exchange of these gases between the sea and the atmosphere maintains a balance in the two. Desalinated water holds more gas thus seawater that has low salinity hold more carbon dioxide and other gases causing an imbalance between it and the atmosphere.
Coral reef bleaching is the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae or the paling of the invertebrate taxa on coral reef. Bleaching causes corals to lose sixty to ninety percent of zooxanthellae and a single zooxanthella to lose fifty to eighty percent of its photosynthetic pigment. This paling is caused by anthropogenic as well as natural divergence in their environment such as oceanic temperatures. A minor rise of about a half to one and a half degrees Celsius or a major rise of about three to four degrees Celsius in oceanic temperatures causes dysfunction and, ultimately, death of the coral reef. Over the past twenty years we have witnessed an escalation in global coral reef bleaching occurrences and universal climate change is to blame for these events.
With warmth comes contagion. Climate, to a great extent, influences several of deadly and prevalent diseases at present affecting millions of people worldwide. With disease carrying insects like mosquitoes having the ability to multiply in overwhelming numbers due to even the slightest increase in temperature, global warming will make possible the spread of infections such as Dengue fever, Malaria and West Nile virus to sections of the world typically unharmed by these diseases. The Deadly Dozen is a cluster of twelve diseases identified as the most probable to spread resultant to global warming. They include Tuberculosis, Avian ‘Flu, Plague, Cholera and Ebola. Pollution will also contribute greatly to the spread of diseases.
Food production will be hugely affected by global warming since the changes in weather patterns will cause changes in seasons and low rainfall amounts will lead to low production of food. Hotter temperatures will affect production of those plans that require cooler temperatures. Arid and semi-arid areas may as well experience total unproductiveness since they will encounter complete desertification. Global warming will also lead to lack of water both for human consumption as well as for irrigation.
Global warming will greatly affect food security. With low levels of rainfall, the world will experience more severe droughts and the soil is bound to lose its fertility leading to a decline in food supply. This will result in famine, starvation, malnutrition and diseases which in the long run lead to death. This may lead to anarchy in politically unstable regimes where those with control over resources become more powerful. Countries with adequate food supply will have to surrender some of their food to feed those unable to feed themselves and others will experience an influx in refugees seeking food. This will cause a lot of conflicts when the food becomes inadequate to feed everyone.
The agricultural sector is the only potion of the planet that might experience a positive impact from global warming. Organic agriculture can help extract from the atmosphere at least seven thousand pounds of carbon dioxide per acre per year. If accurately implemented organic agriculture will not compromise yield rather it will increase yield in drought years as the extra carbon dioxide accumulated in the soil helps hold more water. During rainy periods, the extra organic material in the soil repels water from the roots of the plants, restraining attrition and leaving plants firmly in place therefore, excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may actually benefit agriculture though in the short term.
All the evidence above proves that global warming actually does exist although skeptics still stand their ground that it is nothing more than a hoax. They point out that the Earth has been taking care of itself for decades and is not about to stop now. They say that nature will always find a way to balance out itself. They decline to acknowledge what is plainly laid before them for their world if they don’t take a moment and consider a remedy to save the world. On the other hand, believers are willing to participate in evading the threat of global warming.
These are some of the practices that can help deal with global warming: As early as the industrial revolution the world has been burning fossil fuels as a source of energy thus emitting huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This has been the greatest concern where global warming is concerned. Reducing emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere should for that reason be the foremost stride in dealing with global warming. This can be realized by turning to cleaner energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy and, though controversial, nuclear energy.
A scientist by the name Dr. Jason box from Ohio State University has come up with the idea of blanketing the Greenland’s ice caps with polypropylene covers which mirror the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere thereby preventing the ice from melting. This may seem like a fanciful idea but this technology has in actual fact been employed in the Alps for a number of years now to retain the ski hills right through summer. He has even been testing the theory himself on the glaciers of Greenland since the year nineteen ninety four and has proven this concept actually works. Preventing the ice caps from melting will prevent the rise of the sea level and the desalination of sea water thus sustaining aquatic life as well as ensuring people who live on the coastline and on small islands don’t have to evacuate their homes and go to higher ground.
Another means of dealing with global warming would be to plant trees and avoid deforestation. Dropping tree bombs from a plane is one way of ensuring a lot of trees are planted which is already being used. It entails actual dropping of tree seed bundles from a plane over bare land in an attempt to plant millions of trees within a short period of time. Tree Seedlings are dropped in wax canisters packed full of fertilizers. On impact with the ground the canisters explode forming a handy fissure for the trees to grow out of. This technique was used to restore the mangrove forests in Louisiana previously destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
In conclusion, it is evident that global warming is an imminent threat that will devastate the world if a response is not formulated immediately even though the skeptics of this issue still remain adamant. The few occurrences that have been witnessed are merely a tip of the iceberg compared to what might happen if precaution is not taken in time to save the planet Earth. If the projected effects of global warming actualize, the Earth may as well become inhabitable for both humans and animals. It is therefore evident that global warming is indeed a fact and not fiction as skeptics of this issue may claim.
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