Global Warming
Global Warming

Global Warming

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What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the gradual increase in the average temperature of the planet’s atmosphere caused by an increase in the quantity of energy (heat) impacting the earth from the sun being trapped in the atmosphere rather than dissipated away into space.

The earth’s atmosphere has always operated as a greenhouse, capturing the sun’s heat and allowing the birth of life forms as we know them, including humans.

The world would be terribly cold if we did not have our atmospheric greenhouse. Global warming, on the other hand, is the equivalent of a greenhouse with high efficiency reflective glass put backwards.

Global Warming Video

Ionically, the strongest evidence may come from a catastrophic cooling episode that occurred approximately 1,500 years ago. Two huge volcanic eruptions, one year apart, deposited so much black dust in the upper atmosphere that sunlight could not penetrate. Temperatures dropped precipitously. Crops did not thrive. People died as a result of famine, and the Black Death began its march. As the dust settled, the sun was able to warn the globe once more, and life returned to normal.
Today, we face the inverse situation. Today’s issue isn’t so much a lack of sun warmth reaching the earth as it is too much getting trapped in our atmosphere.

Because so much heat is trapped inside greenhouse earth, the planet’s temperature is rising faster than at any other point in history. NASA offers a fantastic course module on the science of global warming.

How does Global Warming drive Climate Change?

Heat is energy, and when energy is added to any system, changes occur.

Because all systems in the global climate system are linked, adding heat energy creates a change in the global climate as a whole.

The ocean covers much of the planet, which causes it to heat up. More water evaporates into clouds as the ocean warms.

Global Warming and  Climate Change Video

Where storms such as hurricanes and typhoons emerge, more energy-intensive storms form. As the atmosphere warms, glaciers and mountain snowpacks melt, as does the Polar ice cap and the vast ice shield protruding off Antarctica, boosting sea levels.
Temperature changes alter the major wind patterns that bring the monsoons to Asia and rain and snow all over the planet, making drought and uncertain weather more likely.

This is why scientists have shifted their focus away from global warming and toward the broader topic of climate change.

What Causes Global Warming?

There are three perspectives on global warming:

(1) that global warming does not exist, and thus climate change does not exist

(2) that global warming and climate change do exist, but they are natural, cyclical events unrelated to human activity

(3) that global warming occurs primarily as a result of human activity, and thus climate change is also a result of human activity.
The idea that nothing is happening is difficult to maintain in the face of massive amounts of visible, ground-based, and satellite data showing rising average sea and land temperatures and diminishing ice masses.

The notion that observed global warming is natural or, at the very least, not caused by human carbon emissions (see Climate Skeptics below) is based on statistics showing that global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels have been equivalent or greater in the past. They also point to the well-known impacts of solar activity on the amount of radiation impacting the Earth, as well as the fact that the sun has been exceptionally active recently.

Global Warming
Global Warming

In general, climate scientists and environmentalists either  reject the facts based on fresh ice core data, for example, or argue that the timing issue — that is, the quickness with which the world has warmed and the climate has altered – simply does not fit the model of previous natural catastrophes.

They also point out that, in comparison to other stars, the sun is actually fairly stable, with energy output shifting by only 0.1 percent over a very short cycle of 11 to 50 years, which is unrelated to global warming in general. The data strongly suggests that solar activity has a significant impact on global climate in a variety of ways, but it is not a factor in the systemic change over time that we refer to as global warming.

Concerning the final position that global warming and climate change are caused by human activity (are “anthropogenic”), scientists attribute current atmospheric warming to human activities that have increased the amount of carbon-containing gases in the upper atmosphere as well as the amount of tiny particles in the lower atmosphere. (NASA has an excellent training module on “The Carbon Question.”)

Causes of Global Warming Video

Gases emitted predominantly by the combustion of fossil fuels, as well as small particles created by incomplete combustion, trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere. These gases are referred to as “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) by scientists because they act like the wrong way reflective glass in our global greenhouse.

Scientists refer to the microscopic particles as ‘black carbon’ (you might know it as soot or smoke) and ascribe their warming effect to the fact that the ensuing layer of black particles in the lower atmosphere absorbs heat like a black blanket.

Scientists attribute the current warming trend to the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th century, when coal became widely used.

This warming trend has accelerated as we have increased our usage of fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and natural gas, as well as the petrochemicals (plastics, medicines, and fertilizers) that we currently produce from oil.

Scientists link the current warming trend to the use of fossil fuels, which release carbon stocks that were sequestered (buried) millions of years ago into the atmosphere.

Scientists believe that the addition of this “ancient” carbon to the world’s present carbon stock is what is heating our planet and causing global warming.

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recentclimate – Global Warming