“There’s much stronger evidence connecting human activity to changes in temperature, melting glaciers and ocean warming,” are the words of Gerald Meehl who holds the position of a senior scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research. Meehl in addition to being a scientist is also a major contributor to the report that was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and according to the report; human activity is primary cause for warming of the earth’s climate. The 2007, the report linked human activity to the change in global temperatures with 90 percent certainty, a figure that jumped to 95 percent between 2007 and 2013.
According to the climate researchers, we only afford to burn one trillion tons worth of carbon if we can harbor any hopes of keeping the global temperatures below the 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit limit but the tragic part of the news is that we have already burnt 54 percent of the carbon which resulted in more than half the emissions considering our limit of affordability. But how does human activity end in global warming? When we haul out and burn fossil fuels including coal and different products of petroleum, the combustion leads to the release of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere and also other greenhouse gases that trap heat and retain that heat on the earth’s surface, and since our activities that require the burning of coal and other fuels has skyrocketed, there is also more rapid emission of greenhouse gases into the air and therefore increase in global temperatures.
The situation is further made worse by the speedy deforestation that is being carried out to support the human population and for the construction of more buildings to meet their needs. Since the trees absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, the problem of excessive emissions is counteracted by the presence of trees but since even trees are being cut down, and forests cleared worldwide, the situation is making the problem of global warming even worse.
How can we prove that human activity is causing for global warming?
We all know how the climate of the earth has been in constant transition between hot and cold and there are many environmental factors that determine the situation of the global temperature. So how can the scientists say with such surety that human activities are the reasons for the recent trend that is carrying the temperature higher than we should be comfortable with? The following few paragraphs provide some explanations on the subject.
We have observed earlier how human activity has been seen to increase at considerable speed as of late. The scientists offer an explanation that they use to track this increase and thereby proving that the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the leading cause of global warming. A carbon molecule that results from fossil fuels and deforestation carries less weight as opposed to a carbon molecule derived from other sources and by measuring the weight of carbon in the air, scientists have observed a trend which very clearly points towards increase in carbon that comes from fossil fuels and also from deforestation.
In addition to the explained evidence, our computers have also been able to project the trends of changes in climate and global temperatures and when scientists factor in only the natural changes and observe the trends of change in climate on the computers; these natural factors do not explain the trend that we are experiencing at this time. When the scientists factor in the effects of human activities on the climate, the trend that the computers produce is identical to the one, we are experiencing now. This means that the natural variants that include the intensity of the sun, volcanic eruptions and the level of natural carbon dioxide in the air do not successfully explain the current pattern that we have been on.
The scientists also explain the blame by comparing the boundary that lies between the troposphere which is a lower level of atmosphere and the stratosphere which is a higher level. The heat-trapping gases which we call the greenhouse gases seem to get trapped in the lower layer and this explains why this layer has been expanding and the stratosphere is moving higher. Also, since the scientists see the stratosphere becoming cooler even despite the fact that the sun’s heat is supposed to be escaping to that layer, they can safely say that human activities are responsible for the entrapment of heat in the troposphere because only the sun being the factor contributing to increasing in temperature would not explain the present trend.
The impacts of global warming
Regrettably, the increase in global temperatures is not the sole consequence of global warming. There are many others that need to be feared and ones that should be enough to motivate us towards finding solutions to the problem. Not only in the United States but also in many other parts of the world, people are experiencing dreadfully hot summers and tremendously cold winters. This is the second and probably also a very major concern that is a result of climate change and manifests in the form of extreme weather conditions. Not just weather but this consequence also covers more frequent natural disasters inclusive of hurricanes, droughts, typhoons and floods. There are conditions that are likely to bring major catastrophes and are going to make it extremely difficult for us to properly manage our resources. And then there’s the possibility of increased lightning strikes in the United States. A 2014 study predicts a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes in the United States by the year 2100. Not only that but because greenhouse gases are present in the atmosphere in high concentrations, their effect is expected to last for quite long even if we bring the emissions under control.
And then there’s also the impact of climate change on the glaciers and water levels to consider. The very famous snows of the Kilimanjaro have melted so speedily that only 20 percent ice now remains. Also, the glaciers in the Himalayas are disappearing at such remarkable pace that the researchers estimate that most of the glaciers in the Himalayas will be pretty much gone by the year 2035. The arctic sea ice has also become considerably thin, and the edges of the Greenland’s ice sheet are attenuating from the sides. All the ice that melts away joins the rivers and streams and ultimately flows into the ocean becoming useless to the humans. This ice also becomes warm when it reaches the oceans, and the global temperatures climb up even further.
And let’s not forget the impact that climate change may have on human health. The extreme weather conditions are likely to claim lives as they have done in the past. Extreme heat waves in Europe during 2013 claimed about 70,000 lives. Also, the 1995 heat waves in Chicago claimed around 739 lives only from heat-related causes. Then there’s also the likelihood of an increase in respiratory issues that can be tied to climate change. Scientists claim that increased levels of carbon dioxide lead to increased numbers and kinds of weeds that could trigger and even make worse several cases of asthma, and allergies. Extreme weather conditions may also leave insects and mosquitoes on our hands that can cause health problems like dengue and malaria.
The contradiction to the theory of global warming
Even despite the significant evidence that supports the theory, there are some scientists that still believe global warming to be a myth. These scientists believe that there has been changing in the intensity of heat from the sun, and that explains why the global temperatures are rising. This is why a few scientists are also trying to make efforts to link the theory of climate change to the sun-earth relationship. More than 800 skeptics who stand against the idea of global warming took part in the second annual International Conference on Climate Change during March 2009.
The problem is that none of these skeptics have sound reasons to support their rejection of the theory and without evidence; they go on convincing every one of the non-intensity of the issue. Even despite certain people’s rejection of the theory, evidence proves the reality of global warming and it would be wise if we accept this claim and rather than wasting time on arguments that end in deadlocks, relieve the planet of some of the burden that it carries.
How can we help reduce global warming?
Common consensuses demand action from us to the problem of global warming and let’s, therefore, make efforts towards something we can control. There are many ways in which we could help with the problem. Let’s shed light on a few of them. Since we burn most of our fossil fuels in the generation of electricity, the most efficient way of reducing emissions would be to try our best to conserve energy. Conserving energy is quite an easy task and there can be many paths that can take us there. First and foremost is to reduce the use of electricity in homes. Regular bulbs should be replaced with energy savers, and all extra appliances can be turned off when not in use. Another method that could lend a hand towards a solution would be to replace all old appliances with new ones. Doing so is going to help in two ways. Firstly, newer appliances will use less energy than older ones, and in the second place, newer appliances do not give out as many greenhouse gases as the older ones.
Also, since deforestation is making the problem even worse for the climate, planting trees, on the other hand, is going to take us several paces close to solving it. We should, therefore, plant more trees and encourage the young ones to do the same. Furthermore, the forests that have escaped deforestation so far should be protected by the country’s laws and no exception should be afforded by those laws. The earth is a precious resource and we carry the duty protect it for the future generations and it is about time that we stand up to that duty.
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