Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What is global warming?

Global warming is the increase in the average Earth's temperature. This phenomenon dates from mid-twentieth century and has since then showed trend of constant increase. Despite this there are still many people that believe how global warming phenomenon is nothing more than some scary myth invented by environmentalists and ecologists. During the last 100 years Earth's temperature increased by about 0,8 °C due to the higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere such as CO2 (carbon dioxide). Different climate model projections predict how average global surface temperature will likely rise a further 1.2 to 6.5 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) in the next 100 years if current trend continues.

Global warming has many negative side effects: warmer temperatures will cause sea level to rise, and this will increase intensity of extreme weather events known as climate change. Climate and weather will become totally unpredictable which will have tremendous effect on not only ecology, but also on economy. There are other problems such as endangered species and the possible range of new diseases that will be caused because of climate change. These changes will not effect all corners of Earth equally and the most vulnerable areas will be around North and South Pole and Africa, due to their extreme sensibility to increased temperatures.

Global warming is direct result of human activity as because of the excessive fossil fuels use high amounts of greenhouse gases (most notably carbon dioxide) are being released to atmosphere every day since the start of industrial era. Fossil fuel combustion has produced about three-quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity over the past 20 years and future CO2 levels are expected to rise further due to ongoing burning of fossil fuels.

Many people are still unaware that global warming is already happening and the first signs of possible future disaster are already there: heat waves and unusually hot weather, sea levels rising, flooding of coastal waters, glaciers melting on Arctic and Antarctica, extinction of many species while many other are being listed as endangered, downpours, heavy snowfalls, and flooding as well as droughts and fires, diseases spreading, etc. And this is only a start of something that will only increase its horrible impact if we don't do something about it. But can something be done to stop global warming?

This is very difficult question but there are some answers - we need to cut down our dependence on fossil fuels and turn to renewable energy sector, and we have to make this change as soon as possible. Current levels of CO2 in atmosphere are way to big and if we continue our current energy trend we'll only make already bad situation even worse. Though there are same positive movements towards renewable energy sector this is still negligible compared to fossil fuels and bigger change aren't expected in next 20 years or so. And time is very relevant factor in fight against global warming so 20 or more years could be case of "too little too late". It is also important to prevent excessive deforestation of our forests, especially tropical rainforests (Amazon rainforest) because they store and absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and release fresh, and clean oxygen, keeping planet as cool and possible.

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