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Article Summary

Global Warming: A Burning Issue

Global warming was a burning topic few years back. America’s Al gore set the movement squarely in the public eye with his film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 on the global warming issue. The debate had already been fired and geared up among political and scientific circles, but the film really helped bring the discussion to a broader audience. The concept behind global warming differs significantly based on who you talk to, but there are a few basic principles both sides can agree on at this point which has some resemblance. The first is that there are warming and cooling trends in the history of the world which have been proven. The second is that we are in a significant warming trend which is a fact. Out of the two sides presented above, one side argues that global warming is being caused, or at the very least accelerated by human activity. Their thought process goes something like this: we dump billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year as a result of which   global warming accelerates.

These clouds of gas thicken the greenhouse layer of the atmosphere, which functions exactly like the greenhouse glass does in an ordinary greenhouse and finally triggers the global warming. The layer of polluted gas traps heat inside the lower atmosphere. Hence if the greenhouse layer of the atmosphere is so important to the environment, what’s the problem? According the conservationist side of the environment, the problem is that we’re thickening it, making it better at trapping heat inside. By virtue of which, the temperature on earth goes up. This leads to an accentuation of other climate trends, droughts become dryer, and last longer, hurricanes,typhoons and monsoon rains all become stronger and calamities strike. On a more subtle, yet even more serious scale, the conservationists claim that the rising temperature is causing the ice caps to melt, raising the ocean levels around the world. It is also erasing coastal habitats for plants, animals and humans alike. Finally we have to face all the consequences of the global warming.

If the conservationists are right,we need to change our living habits immediately. The damage we’ve already caused will take lifetimes to undo, hence we have to begin prevention as early as possible. Stringent laws and industry wide changes are the need of the hour. Power generation, construction and even farming pose threat to the environment. The skeptics argue that we don’t have enough information to justify the kinds of sweeping reforms conservationists are after but we can control the damage to some extent. Hence, we strongly encourage you to read what’s been said on global warming and come to your own conclusion and take the step whatever you can do.

Causes of global warming:

The Earth has a natural way of warming itself, so that it does not freeze when it turns away from the sun at night. The way the Earth Naturally warms itself is called the Greenhouse effect and the carbon gases in the air act as a greenhouse, trapping in heat energy, but letting light energy through the whole process. These gases are commonly called greenhouse gases. When light rays from the sun strike earth’s surface or atmosphere (really, any matter) the light energy is absorbed and turned into thermal energy is called heat. As heat radiates off Earth’s surface much of it is trapped by the Greenhouse gases, at the same time some heat escapes but much of it is trapped. This whole phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. We are very lucky that we have the greenhouse effect with us and it allows there to be life on Earth. Without the green house gas, the earth would be subject to temperatures of hundreds of degree differences between night and day. This may lead to freezing at night, which most species cannot survive also.The greenhouse gases only cause global warming when the green house gas i s added to the atmosphere in excess. The greenhouse effect is enhanced when excess carbon which is released from the burning of fossil fuels. When carbon gases are more concentrated in our atmosphere, they act as a thicker blanket for the environment, which traps more heat, and even less of the heat energy radiating off Earth’s surface can escape into space.

However, Global Warming does not necessarily mean that that all climate areas on Earth will experience an increase in temperature because the temperatures on earth are caused by both differences in latitude and nearness to ocean currents that circulate heat around the earth also, not all places will experience an increase in temperature. Like, we expect areas of low latitude, near the equator, to be warmer and areas near the poles to be colder. All this happens because at different latitudes the angle that the sun strikes earth affects the amount of light energy that can be absorbed.

Generally currents are controlled by two factors: Wind and the salinity of the ocean. As Global Warming starts to play out and ice adds fresh water to the ocean water, this will affect the salinity of the ocean currents and will actually change the currents and it will prompt to global warming. For example, it is thought that when the glacial ice now residing on Greenland melts, it will halt the Gulf Stream current that brings the warm temperatures to Western Europe and it will send Europe into a mini ice age. As a result of which we can see that global warming is far more complex than just the earth growing warmer. Currents and weather patterns will also keep on changing as well.

Deadly effects of global warming:
1. Melting of glaciers More global warming indicates that the earth will go warm and glaciers at high altitude will start to melt. This will also increase the sea level and possibly affect wildlife and the rising sea level will enter oceans which may take over land and some islands around the world may become extinct.
2. Wildlife extinction Global warming may also lead to more wildfires which may lead to deforestation. The result of this can cause wildlife extinction and some animals may become extinct some day.
3. Droughts and Heat waves Although, some parts of the world will get wetter as sea levels will rise while some other parts like Africa will face severe droughts and heat waves. However water, which is already a rare commodity in Africa can aggravate the situation and may lead to conflict and raise tension.
4. Floods Wi th continuous melting of glaciers, it is well predicted that it will raise the sea level which can flood the areas near to sea. People who live along coastal regions will suffer most from this and their life is in real danger.
5. Wildfires As global warming keeps on rising with the coming days, some areas of dry land which are already susceptible to wildfires may cause more frequent fires. As a result of which, the Carbon dioxide released from smoke will adversely increase the air pollution.
6. Deadly diseases As our planet goes warm, the risk of diseases affecting mankind will continue to increase sharply and became more deadly. The number of sick people could overwhelm public health services especially in developing countries due to the global warming.
7. Migration It is predicted that few nations will see heavy migration activity as some of the densely populated areas may not afford to feed large section of the people. However, migration activity may lead to conflict and wars as heavily populated places would become uninhabitable due to heat or other factors, displacing millions of people.
8. Changing weather patterns Due to the global warming we have already started seeing this as few areas start receiving rainfall much ahead of time while some of the areas receive prolonged heat. The changes in weather pattern may bring droughts, floods and may even create havoc in some regions which will be highly fatal.
9. Desertification Many of the continents including Europe, America and Asia may start feeling growing land crisis. Global warming will make this planet even hotter due to their position. Warm planet indicates that land will become dry and food production will suffer as the available land may not be able to feed everyone.
10. Global population crisis As few areas will become warm, migration activity will increase and it will lead to population imbalance. Few countries may face the problem of huge population increase mainly from developing countries where no steps are being taken to curb global warming.