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Natural Science: Global warming and its effect on climate (Essay Sample)

Natural Science: Global Warming and its Effect on Climate Name University/Institution Table of Contents TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u List of Figures PAGEREF _Toc385429751 \h 3Abbreviations PAGEREF _Toc385429752 \h 4Executive Summary PAGEREF _Toc385429753 \h 5Introduction PAGEREF _Toc385429754 \h 6Background PAGEREF _Toc385429755 \h 6Objectives PAGEREF _Toc385429756 \h 6Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc385429757 \h 6Findings PAGEREF _Toc385429758 \h 7Discussion PAGEREF _Toc385429759 \h 8Impacts of Global Warming PAGEREF _Toc385429760 \h 8Solutions PAGEREF _Toc385429761 \h 9Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc385429762 \h 10References PAGEREF _Toc385429763 \h 11 List of Figures TOC \h \z \c "Figure" Figure 1: Greenhouse gas emission by sector8 Abbreviations NASA -  National Aeronautics and Space Administration  Executive Summary A proliferation in the emission of greenhouse gases has led to the greenhouse effect which has in turn resulted in global warming. Findings from studies carried out reveal that the increase in greenhouse gases is a result of human activities such as burning of fossil fuels, changes in land use and so on. Since global warming refers to the gradual increase in temperatures, one of the impacts has been melting of glaciers. Global warming has also led to climate change, which is being experienced through erratic weather patterns. Unpredictability in weather patterns has affected food production leading to a reduction in food supply. Key solutions are increasing energy efficiency, adopting green transportation modes and incorporating sustainable development in all developments being undertaken. Introduction Background A report by National Geographic shows that, with the current trends, the average global temperature will be rising by as much as 5.83 degrees by the time the year 2100 is reached(Seo, 2012). This figure, compared with the 0.6 degrees the temperatures were rising by in the 20th century means that the international community must rethink its actions. Due to the rises in temperature, NASA estimates that the arctic thickness has experienced a decrease by over 40 percent since the 1960s and that for the last twenty years, the ice shelf's area has shrunk by a similar amount. (Tixier, Wilson, & Williams, 2009). All the statistics mentioned here are a consequence of global warming. In the following discussion, the concept of global warming and its relation to climate change will be addressed. Objectives This study has two key objectives: to ascertain the impact of global warming on the glaciers and climate change and to identify ways in which we can protect our climate from the problem of global warming. Literature Review By definition, global warming may be perceived as implying the gradual rise in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere (Seo, 2012). It is believed to result from the greenhouse effect that is as a consequence of increased level of chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide and other gaseous pollutants. The greenhouse effect refers to the process through which absorption of thermal radiation from a planetary surface by greenhouse gases takes place. The thermal radiation is the re-radiated in all directions forming a cycle. The fact that this re-radiation moves back towards the lower part of the atmosphere makes it to result in the increase in the average surface temperature to a level that is above what would be without the gases. A major effect of global warming is climate change. It implies a change in climate that is persistent over a period of time, defined by the world meteorological organization as three decades (Nema, Nema, & Roy, 2012). Jeffries, Overland and Perovich (2013) observe that the earth has been experiencing radiative imbalance since the 1970s. An energy change inventory of 1971-2010 shows that the oceans have been the most affected at 93% followed by ice at 3%, continents at 3% and atmosphere at 1%. These figures signal increased melting of ice and snow and also an increased heat content of the oceans. An observed example of the effect of global warming is that on Peru's Quelccaya ice cap. It is reported that this particular ice cap has been contracting by more than 182 metres per year and that by 2100 it will be completely gone (Seo, 2012). Findings Proliferation in the volume of greenhouse gases has been attributed to human activities taking place since the industrial revolution. As shown in figure 1, the highest contribution to greenhouse gas emission is that by electricity and heat sector at 24.9%, followed by industry at 14.7%, transportation at 14.3%, Agriculture at 13.8%, land use change at 12.2%, other fuel combustion at 8.6%, industrial processes at 4.3%, fugitive emissions at 4.0% and waste at 3.2%. (Tixier, Wilson, & Williams, 2009). 462915-63500 Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1: Greenhouse gas emission by sector (Tixier, Wilson, & Williams, 2009) Discussion Impacts of Global Warming As one of global warming impacts, there will be continued increase in the rate at which the glaciers melt. This will in turn lead to the rise in ocean levels. Rising ocean levels pose a threat to the people who live near oceans, especially in low lying areas. With the current trends, some of the low-lying areas will be completely submerged before long. A major effect of global warming is climate change. It implies a change in climate that is persistent over a period of time, defined by the world meteorological organization as three decades. Climate change examples include changes in rainfall patterns, increases in global surface temperature and changes in the frequency of weather events that are extreme in nature. The effect of climate change is felt through changes in weather. With climate change, probabilities of various types of weather events get to be affected. Key changes observed include frequency, amount, intensity and type of precipitation. There have been numerous occurrences of heavy precipitation across the world. Projections reveal a precipitation increase in some equatorial regions and sub polar latitudes, with a reduction likely to be experienced in the subtropics. What this implies is that regions that are wetter are likely to become wetter while those that are drier will also become drier. This observation has implications with regard to the incidence of drought and flooding. Drier parts becoming drier means that more and longer periods of droughts are expected while flooding is likely to be experienced in a greater magnitude than before. While the concept of climate change is a justifiable cause for worry, the effects of the phenomenon on humanity are scary. One of the sectors that will be greatly affected by climate change is the Agriculture sector. Humanity will get to feel the effects of climate change through a reduction in food supply. Higher temperatures, elevated amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increased frequency of extreme events, altered transpiration and precipitation regimes and modified pathogen, weed and pest pressure, are all issues that will have a profound effect on food production and yields. If today, with low levels of climate change people are dying of hunger, it is not hard to imagine how devastating the effects of climate c...
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