‘What Is Global Warming?’ For Starters

What Is Global Warming?

Global warming is the term that describes an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans. The natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth warmer, with out it the whole temperature of the Earth would be 30° C cooler than it otherwise would be. We (The earth with out life) would be reeling under series of super cold waves and Earth would have been a huge ice freeze ball. It would have been impossible even for the birth of life at first place.

And Scientific opinion on climate change by UN Panel on Climate Change is that the average global temperature has risen between 0.6 and 0.2° C since the late 19th century. These increasing temperatures are the result of a strengthening greenhouse effect caused primarily by human influenced increases in carbon and other greenhouse gases (Methane, Nitrous Oxide etc). However a small minority of scientists contest this view.

Based on basic science, observational sensitivity studies, and the climate models referenced by the IPCC, temperatures may increase by 1.4 to 5.8° C between 1990 and 2100.
Higher temperatures will have serious implications on our world.

The implications of a rise in the global temperature are quite obvious. The snow cover and ice have receded in the coldest parts of the earth. Even the mountain glaciers are suffering the same fate  and there is an estimated decrease of 2/5th in the arctic ice thickness in recent years. If the warming trend continues, as it is expected to, the consequences are predicted to be severe and will be something really hard to deal with.

  • Rise in sea level: The Arctic region warmed significantly in the 1990s compared to the 1980s, as did other regions with large ice stores. Global mean sea level is projected to rise from 0.29 to 2.88 feet between 1990 and 2100, and to continue rising at an even faster rate after that. Rising sea levels could cause significant amounts of coastline and many islands to become submerged.
  • Agricultural impact:Because of warming up of the earth surface, it is natural for the humidity in the soil to come down, thus there by making the land dry and infertile. The soil becomes infertile because of restricted microbial activity. Such unfavorable conditions not only restrict the growth of agricultural crops but also kill the existing plantations and flora. Climate change would lead to adverse impacts on crop yields and water resources. This increases the risk of international food insecurity triggered by drought, flooding, and migration due to environmental changes.
  • Severe weather: The World Meteorological Organization reports that global warming will continue to disrupt global weather patterns, causing extreme weather conditions such as drought, flooding, and severe heat and cold. There has been a marked increase in the number of tropical storms since 1990. In fact, the 2005 hurricane season was the worst on record.
  • Species extinction: Significant climate change could potentially cause the extinction of large numbers of plants and animals. According to various estimates, every day 35- 150 species of plant and animal life become extinct. The National Wildlife Fund reports that some species are shifting their ranges north, or bearing young earlier.

The above are few of the implications, however we shall add a few more to the listed above and get back to each of them, in detail in subsequent posts. Keep following, more is yet to come.


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