One of the maindistressing problems facing the planet earthcurrently is global warming. As one of the biggest issues in the post millennium age, global warming has taken the center stage in global affairs. Global warming is mainly a problem of high amounts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which acts as an extensive blanket, trapping heat and warming the planet to such an extent of causing increased atmospheric temperature beyond the normal and suitable temperature. Scientific research and professional predictions have asserted that adverse impacts of Global warming are going to affect the globe in the future. This paper will explore the causes and the consequences of global warming to aid in understanding this world enigma.
Causes of Global Warming
Global warming has a variety of causes, which include
- Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases can be considered the greatest instigators of global warming. Carbon (CO2) emissions are primarily the first cause. Carbon dioxide in conjunction with other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons absorb heat radiated from the earth to maintain constant and safe temperatures. The increase in carbon emissions escalates the heat trapped leading to global warming.Certain agricultural and waste management practices worsen the problem by discharging other potent global warming gases, such as nitrous oxide and methane (Naomi 2). Burning of fossil fuels,such as coal, petroleum oils, and natural gas for energy purposes produce large amounts of carbon emissions.
- Changes in How Land Is Utilized
Another cause is the change in land use. Changes in the usage of land have exacerbated deforestation and the subsequent destruction of the earth’s natural habitat. Nature utilizes forests and the natural habitat to ensure the air in the atmosphere is at equilibrium. The growing population has intensified pressure on land use. Towns and cities have grown significantly in the bid to overcome housing challenges in the modern era causing destruction to natural vegetation. Development of significant infrastructure to accommodate human traffic, such as supper highways, has led to clearance extensive part of natural vegetation. Cutting down or burning forests to make pastures and plantations leads to accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere (Naomi 3).
- Increase in Industrial Processes
The industrial processes that our modern civilization significantly depends upon have elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 270 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years (Naomi 3). The onset of industrialization made coal the main fossil fuel. Coal is a huge producer of carbon dioxide, which is in-turn a major instigator of global temperature changes. The ever increasing demand for electricity has led to proliferation of coal power plants that discharge huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. In United States alone, 40% of carbon dioxide emissions come from electricity production, and coal burning is responsible for 93% of all emissions from the electric utility industry (Mike 2).
- Depreciation of Aerosols
Similarly, aerosols are vital contributors to global warming. Aerosols are minute particleunits suspended in the air that control and monitor the extent to which the solar radiations from the sun hit the earth. Deprivation of the aerosols has made the Earth vulnerable to solar radiation (Cline 1). Aerosols significantly influencethe climate by changing the earth’s reflectivity and scattering light from the sun. In so doing, they act contrary to the greenhouse consequence by causing the cooling effect. Aerosols act as cloud condensation nuclei, or what is referred to as “seed” upon, which condensation process takes place. This makes aerosols vital components in the formation of clouds. Brighter clouds blocks and alters direct sunlight from touchingthe earth’s surface, guarding the planet and creating net cooling. The “cloud brightening effect” has a significant impact on the climate.
Effects of Global Warming
- Higher Sea levels
As the temperatures continue to soar, the polar icecaps continue to melt at astonishing rates. The melting ice sheets are rapidly raising the sea levels while also affecting the surrounding people and animals. The rise in sea level affects coastal region in different countries around the world, a situation that could lead to displacement of millions of people.
- Severe Weather
Extreme weather characterized by heat waves, hurricanes, droughts and floods among others is on the rise due to the rising global temperatures. The highest wind speeds of the toughest tropical cyclones have significantly gone up since 1980s (Mike 4). Scientific investigations have established that global warming will significantly amplify the intensity of the most dangerous storms worldwide.
- Increased Extinction
Susceptibility of endangered animals and plants to the prevailing climate and global changes puts them at more risk for rampant extinction (Bello 1). Tragic climatic changes are a great threat to different species of both animals and plants. Floods and drought massively kill and destroy both animals and plants, which affects vital resilience in the ecosystem.
The effects of global warming might become severe with the continuous exploitation of the environment. Not only does global warming pose a significant threat to human existence but also to plants and animal species. There is a need to adopt clean energy as the best option to reduce carbon emissions significantly. It is vital that individuals, governments, and organizations come together to control the expansion of global warming and climate change.
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