Scientists and researches today more than ever are warning us about the danger of global warming. They are warning us about the rapid change of temperature that we witness all across the globe. But what is global warming by definition? Scientifically explained, earth’s global warming is the increase of the overall temperature. So basically what we are currently experiencing. It is said that it’s caused by the increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs and other pollutants. It is generally due to the greenhouse effect.
And while there are still debates happening over whether global warming is real or not, the evidence is undeniable. Namely, due to advanced technology, we now have satellites orbiting the Earth at a constant rate which give scientists the chance to see the bigger picture. The numerous data collected over the years point to rapidly changing temperatures and weather conditions that nature cannot follow. These lead to many natural disasters.
Unsurprisingly, researchers have noticed that almost 95% of the global warming and temperature rise happening now are related to and come from the 20th-century rapid change of living style. And also the fact that we haven’t stopped the globalization or slowed down its rate ever since.
Now, let’s see the main causes and effects of global warming.
Global warming causes
As aforementioned, global warming is caused by carbon dioxide along with the greenhouse gases accumulated in the atmosphere. Normally, if their quantity isn’t as much, they would be dispersed and no major effects would be felt.
However, in the last century, we have attributed to the production of so much of these dangerous pollutants that the effects are obvious. The produced pollutants collect and absorb sunlight and radiation of the sun which is then trapped and sent to Earth directly, resulting in the Earth getting too hot – known as the greenhouse effect.
These are the main causes of the pollutants in our atmosphere:
- BURNING FOSSIL FUELS: When fossil fuels are burned, CO2 is produced and released into the atmosphere. In the world, the production of electricity is the major reason for burning so much fossil fuel. The United States, for instance, releases over two billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere each year making them the largest producer, after which Australia follows.
- TRANSPORTATION: Immediately after the fossil fuels, the transportation sector in the USA is responsible for the production of nearly 1.7 billion tons of CO2.
- DEFORESTATION: When it comes to possible ways out of the global warming mess we are creating, forests and bushland both act as natural prevention. They absorb CO2 while releasing purified oxygen back into the air. However, due to globalization, a serious deforestation is happening all across the globe. Humanity is cutting down forests every day. This majorly contributes to global warming.
- FARMING: Furthermore, the fact that farming has been on the abnormal rise during the past 3 decades, it is safe to say that this is also one of the major causes of global warming. Namely, livestock produces methane, one of the greenhouse gases. Generally, this is a normal occurrence and it wouldn’t be such a problem if farming is kept within reasonable limits. However, with the rise of farming, we have created another major contributor to global warming.
Global warming effects
Now that you know what the main contributors to global warming are, let’s look at some of the effects. Once you read these, you will realize that you have already felt them and are aware of them. Maybe you even heard scientists or the UN talk about them as warning signs of global warming.
These are the effects of global warming:
- UNSEEN CHANGE OF TEMPERATURES: Besides the known rise of temperatures all over the world, climate change will not be as smooth or uniform throughout the globe. In some places, winters will be the coldest ever reported. In some other places, summers will get hotter and will be on a constant rise.
- PRECIPITATION PATTERNS WILL CHANGE: Some parts of the world are witnessing an increase in precipitation while others will experience more droughts than usual, causing natural disasters such as water shortage and change in flora and fauna.
- MORE INTENSE HURRICANES: In comparison to data of the early 1980s, we can see that the frequency, duration, and intensity of hurricanes have increased considerably to this date. However, if the climate continues to warm up, we will experience even greater storm intensity.
- ICE-FREE AREAS: With the rise of the temperatures it is only logical that ice, even that of the large areas like the Arctic, has started and will continue to melt. Unfortunately, it is also true for many mountain glaciers, Greenland, and West Antarctica. The melting of ice cover imposes a risk to the species of animals living in certain parts. For instance, Adélie penguin population in Antarctica have decreased from 32.000 to 11.000 in the last 30 years.
- RISING SEA LEVELS: Scientists anticipate that by the end of the current century, the sea levels will increase up to 1.3 meters. This is mainly due to the aforementioned melting of ice as well as increased rainfall in some areas of the world.
- DISEASE SPREADING: With the change of ecosystems some species will move farther north, some will thrive, while some will become completely extinct. Consequently, there are certain diseases that will spread throughout the world that we thought were extinct (such as the reappearance of the Zika virus or mosquito-borne malaria).
Global warming prevention
While some changes are inevitable because everything in nature changes and evolves, we can at least try to slow global warming down. This is possible if we become more aware of the consequences of our day-to-day actions. If you’re wondering what you can do about it as an individual, here are some simple tips:
- Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing home appliances with the standard for solid energy efficiency. When buying a car, choose the one with the lowest emissions and highest gas mileage. Even better; consider buying a hybrid car.
- Don’t forget about public transportation and carpooling whenever possible instead of using your car.
- Recycle plastic bags for the garbage you’re producing. Don’t forget to sort different types of trash and support the recycling in your country. Also, buy food and use your own plastic bags instead of getting new ones from the shops. Reuse water drinking bottles to lower plastic production and waste. Don’t just use plastic plates, cups, and straws only to throw them away after a single use. In fact, reduce their usage to a minimum.
These are some small steps that make a large impact on the environment. Support these environmentally friendly actions by educating other people about their actions and how they can change for the better.