about global warming

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For several years, global warming has been a crippling problem in the world. This is due to the fact that its consequences are detrimental to our planet, environment, culture, and health status. Global warming refers to the gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere or climate system, as well as the associated effects. Several theories have been proposed by experts and academics as to why the global temperature is rising. Because of the rise in carbon dioxide levels, chlorofluorocarbon gases, and other contaminants in the environment, the greenhouse effect is one of the primary contributors. In 2016, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was 400 parts per million, the highest ever experienced in about 3 million years. The greenhouse gases include ozone, water vapor, nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide. According to Amanda (2016), these gases are responsible for the absorption of sunlight and solar radiations which bound off from the ground thus preventing the radiations from escaping the atmosphere. In this regard, the temperatures on the planet increases hence impacting negatively on the environment. On the other hand, the effects of ozone depletion cannot be ignored when individual talks about global warming. Besides, the ozone-depletion theory has been able to justify and prove the real cause of the global warming (Martens, 2014). Ozone in the stratosphere acts as the earth’s sunscreen since it filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun thereby protecting the living things on earth. It should be noted that the ozone depletion by the CFCs, chlorine, and bromine gases causes global warming. Therefore, this paper discusses the issue of global warming today in relation to causes, effects, mitigation strategies, and the counterarguments addressed by various researchers.

Global Warming and Rising Temperatures

Increased greenhouse gas emissions have steadily caused a rise in temperatures. In 2016, the average temperature was 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit warmer as compared to the mid-20th century. The global mean temperatures were relatively constant since the year 1945; however, the temperatures started to rise in 1970’s. Nevertheless, the temperatures became constant around 1988 and began to increase again particularly between the year 2001-2010 (Meehl et al., 2005). All researchers in this field agree that before the current century ends, the average global temperatures are estimated to have increased from 3.1F to 7.2F. This effect heightened the drought situation in the world especially in dry areas due to increased evapotranspiration. Global warming affects the movement of water from the plants, water, and land surfaces into the atmosphere. Besides, the rate of precipitation declined. The regions that were affected by the drought expanded continuously due to the Hadley Cell effect. Therefore, the rising air from tropics lost its moisture to the tropical thunderstorms thereby descending as dry air to subtropics (Lu, Vecchi, & Reichler, 2007).

Also, as the temperatures rise, the wildfire seasons become longer and more damaging as being seen in the Western United States. The higher summer and spring temperatures as well as melt-down of snow starting earlier cause forests to become drier and hotter for a prolonged period thereby accelerating ignition and spread of wildfires. All these factors together release more hazards into the air and destroy the natural ecosystem leading to the death of the animals, insects, and humans in severe cases. For instance, the rising temperatures increases air pollution, prolonged and intense allergy seasons, insect-borne diseases spread, and frequent heat waves which all possess a costly and severe public health problem (Meehl et al., 2005)..

Coastal Erosion

It should be noted that global warming has a direct effect on the coastal life. For instance, the rise in sea levels and coastal flooding primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of the US has been associated with global warming. Since 1880, the average global sea level rise has increased to about eight inches. Global warming also increases the amount of snow, icecaps, and glaciers melting per day which may lead to an increase in the volume of the seas. Heavy rainfall downpours and flooding will significantly affect agriculture, fisheries, marine life, and the low-lying communities. The disruption of the aquatic habitat (the coral reefs and Alpine Meadows) will consequently cause the extinction of animal and plant species. The sea level rise is threatening the existence of coastal cities such as the deltaic coasts and island states. The erosion of the beach causes exposure of the nearby fixed structures such as cliffs to the increasing impact of the storm waves attack (Zhang, Douglas, & Leatherman, 2004). Unless protective measures are undertaken, then, those structures will be damaged and destroyed due to storm waves resulting from the sandy beach erosion.

Counterarguments on Global Warming

There have been controversial arguments surrounding the issue of global warming. Tim Flannery, an Australian scientist, understood the effects of global warming and he explained in his book, ‘The Weather Makers,’ how an individual can reduce carbon output. Tim Flannery believes that global warming will not be a problem in the future if every person takes the right steps (Flannery, 2006). However, other researchers feel the trend of global warming will be more hazardous than it is now because of the daily increase in temperature. Also, some of these researchers also believe everything will eventually go back to normal when the climate changes. This group of researchers argues that the world climate is not static; therefore, it is expected that the climate will change at some point in time. Moreover, they do not acknowledge the fact that human actions such as burning of fossil fuels and cutting down trees and forests are the main contributor to global warming.

On the other hand, water vapor is the most abundant and potent greenhouse gas. Water vapor has a heat-trapping effect which leads to warmer temperatures as compared to increase in levels of carbon dioxide. The positive feedback of water vapor amplifies other greenhouse gases warming effect. Despite the fact that carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas, it is argued that it is not a pollutant but rather a life in itself. However, the increase in CO2 concentrations in the past 150 years by human actions like fossil fuel combustion, adds it to the list of greenhouse gases which leads to global warming problem (Martens, 2014). It is worth noting that carbon dioxide produced from fossils fuels is different from regular carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because they differ in their isotopic composition and also plants prefer the lighter isotope to the heavier carbon dioxide isotope.

Conclusion

Global warming has adverse effects on the atmosphere as depicted from the climate change that leads to the occurrence of a hurricane in the world. The Paris Agreement signed by 194 members’ aims at mitigating greenhouse emissions by curbing the global temperatures rise. The carbon market as well seeks to control emissions of pollutants whereby the government offers economic incentives. Also, the use of clean and renewable energy especially across America is a strategy to reduce air pollution which in turn will cut down on global warming emissions. Therefore, the governments should increase research funds so that the increase in global warming may be monitored worldwide. However, it is vital to transit to a carbon-free economy since the technology necessary is available to avoid the dangerous effects of the global warming.

References

Amanda, M. (n.d.). Global Warming 101. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3dTQBRDnARIsAGKSflktUujV2fiZGTbG5F_uZW3nTZiYXjP4mD5wJ6_taNhLBlfOzdA5rXUaAsM6EALw_wcB

Flannery, T. F. (2006). The weather makers: How man is changing the climate and what it means for life on earth. Grove Press.

Lu, J., Vecchi, G. A., & Reichler, T. (2007). Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(6).

Martens, P. (2014). Health and climate change: modeling the impacts of global warming and ozone depletion. Routledge.

Meehl, G. A., Washington, W. M., Collins, W. D., Arblaster, J. M., Hu, A., Buja, L. E., … & Teng, H. (2005). How much more global warming and sea level rise? Science, 307(5716), 1769-1772.

Zhang, K., Douglas, B. C., & Leatherman, S. P. (2004). Global warming and coastal erosion. Climatic Change, 64(1), 41-58.

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