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Global warming refers to the increase in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans. This is a process that happens when greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which eventually increases the average temperature. Examples of these greenhouse gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. There is a lot of evidence that point to the fact that the global surface temperature has been increasing over the years. This phenomenon has been caused by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, which result from natural occurrences or a number of human activities such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels.
Evidence of global warming include documented increases in the temperature of the air and the ocean, rising sea level, and widespread melting of snow and ice as well. Some causes of global warming have been attributed to external forcing, which refers to the processes that are external to the climate system that affect the climate. Notably, climate responds to a number of external forcing, such changes in solar luminosity, radiative forcing (as a result of changes in the atmospheric composition), and variations in the earth’s orbit around the Sun. However, recent changes in global temperatures are too rapid. Orbital cycles usually vary slowly over many years and hence are too gradual to have caused the recent temperature changes.
The greenhouse effect refers to the process by which the absorption, as well as, the emission of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere ends up warming the earth’s lower atmosphere and surface. Ever since the industrial revolution began, human activity has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has led to an increase in radiative forcing from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, CFCs, and tropospheric ozone. Over the last twenty years, the burning of fossil fuels has produced most of the increase in carbon dioxide, while the rest is as a result of land use, especially deforestation.
If the current global warming trend continues, life on the planet will be adversely affected as we know it. The future levels of greenhouse gases emissions have been projected to depend on uncertain sociological, economic, technological or natural developments. Occasionally, there are other natural factors that have influenced the global temperatures, such as volcanic eruptions and El Nino. However, their effects are short term and cannot contribute fully to the rapid changes in climatic temperatures.
Humans should be worried with the rapid rise in greenhouse gases it will eventually change the climatic conditions faster than some life forms may be able to adapt (Greg, 2009). Notably, new and unpredictable climate poses unique challenges to all life forms on the planet. The current rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases will see the remaining ice sheets melt away. The extra water will eventually raise the sea levels significantly. Moreover, climate can change in unexpected ways as mercury rises. It is evident that the weather can become more extreme as the sea levels rise. There will be more extreme major storms, drought, and rain (Greg, 2009). All evidences point to the fact that sea levels are rising, glaciers melting, and cloud forests dying.
Oceans play a complex role in global warming. Notably, oceans act as a sink for carbon dioxide; however, increased levels of carbon dioxide have led to what is referred to as ocean acidification. In addition to all these, oceans become less able to absorb excess carbon dioxide as their temperatures increase. It is evident that global warming has a number of effects on the oceans including rising levels of the sea due to melting of glaciers, thermal expansion, melting of ice sheets, and warming of the ocean surface. This leads to an increase in the temperature stratification. Other effects could include large scale changes in the ocean circulation. Moreover, there will be a decline in the amount of oxygen that is dissolved, which will adversely affect the ocean life (Greg, 2009).
It is important that the world combats global warming so as to avoid future catastrophes. It is important that there occurs a change in the consumer behavior by emission-based pricing and increased public awareness of the effects of globalization. To the sectors concerned, there is need for an increased efficiency in the transformation of materials and energy into products and services. Moreover, fossil energy in transport, power generation, industry and buildings can be replaced with other forms of renewable energy such as solar and wind energy.
Carbon dioxide could be captured from power plants and industrial plants and then store it in geological formations. On the other hand, atmospheric carbon dioxide can be absorbed by growing modern and efficient biomass on non-agricultural land, as well as, use it in power plants that are fitted with carbon capture and storage so as to achieve negative emissions. It is also important to reduce the emissions of other examples of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide and methane from waste, industry and agriculture as well. It is equally important to manage forests so as to enhance their role as natural sinks of carbon dioxide.
In conclusion, global warming, the increase in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans, is a process that happens when greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which eventually increases the average temperature. Examples of these greenhouse gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. There is plenty of evidence that point global warming is real and is currently happening at a very fast rate. Scientists have attributed the current rate of global warming to the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, which result from natural occurrences or a number of human activities such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels.