What Is Global Warming?

In Climate, Uncategorized by Matty Byloos1 Comment

A Brief Introduction to the Concept of Global Warming

We all saw An Inconvenient Truth. If you didn’t, then consider adding it to your list of to-do’s. You don’t have to agree with everything you hear or see in the film, but it does offer an excellent working definition of what exactly global warming is, and how it will potentially affect the oblique, planet we call home.

Here are the basics: a comprehensive introduction to Global Warming, what has and currently is causing it and the potential effects of these causes.

What Is Global Warming?

Essentially, the term global warming serves as its own definition. It is the increase in the Earth’s near surface and sea temperatures over the past recorded decades, and the projections of what the future will hold if such a warming trend continues.

Global Warming Facts, Effects and Affects

A disclaimer: These facts are recycled from scientific sources, and to many, they may be considered theory as opposed to fact, or fact based on inconclusive evidence. Perhaps the most interesting and fascinating fact about global warming is the FACT that it has sparked heavy debate amongst the scientific community, bringing the issue to light. It has truly helped offer weight to the green movement, and has sparked interest in the stewardship of not only the land and waters enjoyed by the United States, but the rest of the world.

Some Physically Recorded Facts Stemming From Global Warming

In the 100-year period between 1905 and 2005, the near surface temperature of earth rose an average of 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit, with the Arctic world regions experiencing the most extreme changes. The average in late 2007 was 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rates of warming seem to be gaining momentum, as world regions such as Alaska, Western Canada and Eastern Russia have experienced temperature increases that doubled the world average between 2000 and 2004. For this reason, Arctic ice is disappearing at increasing rates, and is already beginning to challenge the wildlife native to the regions.

With polar ice caps melting, sea levels will in effect, rise, ultimately affecting more than marine life, but life of human civilizations that have settled along the shores of large land mass as well as island nations. It is believed that the sea level could rise from anywhere between 7 and 23 inches by the year 2,100.

As the surface temps rise, so do the water temperatures of earth’s oceans. Coral reefs, which are synonymous with the “health of the sea,” are highly sensitive to slight changes in water temperature. Over the past several years, coral reefs have fallen under stress and a process known as “bleaching” has begun — this ultimately results in the killing of the coral.

Evidence in the lower 48 United States is most obvious in Montana’s Glacier National Park that boasted 150 glaciers in the early 1900s, while now, a mere 27 can be viewed.

Yes, the weather has been strange over the past decade. Studies have proven to be inconclusive when tying global warming to such events, yet as weather patterns continue their “strange” behavior, they are offering more evidence to another effect of surface warming.

These are just a short list — some of the physical effects associated with global warming. So what then is the cause, and can global warming be reversed?

Causes of Global Warming

The world population continues to grow. As a matter of fact, that statement is a complete and total understatement. Naturally, with more human beings, there is going to be a higher production of greenhouse gases that trap more heat at the earth’s surface level. Whether it’s methane, carbon dioxide or any other green house gas emission, when comparing the amounts of emissions to issues such as pollution and deforestation, ultimately, humans are producing more waste than plants and the oceans can absorb.

This waste, especially the waste that we can’t readily see, remains in the atmosphere for years. The warming trend would continue for some time, even if current emissions were eliminated. Quite simply, there’s no way to quickly end this global warming epidemic. It will take a long term commitment to change, and planet stewardship.

Fortunately, the nations most responsible for global warming also possess the knowledge and understanding of how the planet is being affected, and the means to what will hopefully be an eventual end to the rapid warming trend that could drastically alter life on this planet as we’ve come to enjoy it.

Movie Trailer for An Inconvenient Truth

Paramount Classics release, An Inconvenient Truth
Running time for trailer: 2 min 30 sec

About the film, from the Producers:
“From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, An Inconvenient Truth, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man’s fervent crusade to halt global warming’s deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.

“That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on a last-ditch, all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his ‘traveling global warming show,’ Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life.

“Here he is seen as never before in the media — funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our ‘planetary emergency’ out to ordinary citizens before it’s too late.”

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