The Process of Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and Mitigation (Essay Sample)
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Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and Mitigation
The discussion on global warming has received a lot of concern over the past several decades. This phenomenon has severely subjected the environment and human society to massive risks and effects, thus necessitating a swift attention CITATION Aig13 \l 1033 (Dai). Primarily, green-house effect is a phenomenon that occurs when the world average temperature exceeds the 2°C threshold CITATION Rec14 \l 1033 (Reckien, Flacke and Olazabal) .The human society has been experiencing the impact for more than a century. The evidence about this is the heavy storms, wild-fires, hurricanes and drought over the past couple of decades. Both human (anthropogenic) and natural factors cause global warming. This paper will address the causes, effects, and control measures against the issue.
The Process of Global Warming
The earth's surface receives energy from the sun through radiation. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) play a very crucial role in maintaining the average global temperature at the equilibrium levels to sustain life by trapping heat from the sun. This concept is known as the greenhouse effect, and it is a natural occurrence that supports life on the earth. In the absence of the greenhouse effect, the earth's surface would be 33.10°C relatively colder than today CITATION JON96 \l 1033 (JONES and HULME). In the last few centuries, anthropogenic activities have immensely contributed to the rise of atmospheric GHGs as a consequence of the increased deforestation and thermal decomposition of coal. The continuous release of CO2, Methane (CH4) and chlorofluorocarbons into the earth’s surface is the leading cause of adverse climatic conditions and global warming in the past two centuries.
Since the beginning of the 1850s, three significant data-sets have been referenced in assessing and evaluating the global average temperature. McGlade and Paul maintain that since the start of 1900, they have been showing the warming levels of between +0.80°C and +1.00°C CITATION Eki15 \l 1033 (Ekins and McGlade ). The measurements trends of the terrestrial warming have been between +1.13°C and +1.34°C, as the global temperatures respond drastically to changing climatic conditions than the aquatic temperatures CITATION Kos13 \l 1033 (Kosaka and Xie). This is shown in Fig 1 below.
Figure 1: Average world temperature Anomaly levels from the year 1880 to 2000 CITATION Eki15 \l 1033 (Ekins and McGlade ).
Causes of Global Warming
Human or anthropogenic and natural factors are the fundamental causes of global warming. Environmental scientists have dedicated a lot of time and resources on the research on the causes of global warming over a long period of time hitherto CITATION Nor14 \l 1033 (William). However, they only identified the factors associated with the human activities as the leading cause of the phenomena. The researchers documented the gradual increase in temperatures globally since the 1800s CITATION JON96 \l 1033 (JONES and HULME). Global warming begins with the greenhouse impact, which is brought by the interaction between the incoming solar radiation and Earth's surface rays. Global warming is majorly caused by greenhouse gases CITATION Kos13 \l 1033 (Kosaka and Xie). Human and natural factors both trigger the formation of greenhouse gases hence leading to global warming. Whereas anthropogenic causes of global warming have been drastically increased since the beginning of The Industrial Revolution, there has been a steady rise in global temperature since the beginning of creation.
The earth’s climate is influenced by various factors such as the concentration GHGs, volcanic eruptions, and aerosols. Since 1750 (industrial revolution), CO2 (Carbon dioxide) has been the most significant contributor to increasing climate change and global warming followed by CH4 (methane).The amount of CO2 has risen from two hundred and seventy-eight parts per million (278ppm) in 1960 to four hundred and one (401ppm) in 2015 which is 44% increase CITATION Eki15 \l 1033 (Ekins and McGlade ).
Figure 2: Graph showing Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Lao Observatory from 1960 to 2010 CITATION Nor14 \l 1033 (William).
Human (anthropogenic) Causes
Human activity is also to blame for the Green-House Effect. The activities include deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels that produce a particular type of .These gases are harmful and damage the Ozone-Layer, a natural layer in the atmosphere that filters harmful sun-rays from reaching the world. Nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, chlorofluorocarbons and CH4 (methane) are harmful to the environment. According to research, Carbon Dioxide is the most dominant greenhouse gas. High level of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the earth’s atmosphere is due to various human activities hence resulting in climate change and global warming. Anthropogenic-caused global warming factors include pollution through mining which produces CH4 (methane) and combustion of different fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) CITATION Aig13 \l 1033 (Dai). Population pressure also contributes to global warming through agriculture, housing, increased industrial activities, transport, and clearing of natural forests. Global warming has been increasing gradually since the 1980s, because of the overwhelming rise in transport and industrial processes which utilize fossil fuels.
Climate changes in the earth’s atmosphere and in the oceans are occur as a result of natural factors in the environment. Natural elements brought about variations in the earth's temperature and climate before the start of industrial revolution. Natural causes of the phenomenon include the concentration of Green-House gases, solar energy, and volcanic eruptions- the eruptions release large amounts of Carbon Dioxide hence influencing the balance of the Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere CITATION Aig13 \l 1033 (Dai) .A decay of fossils and natural wetland processes release CH4 (methane) which is a primary prevalent greenhouse gas. Scientific descriptions of the natural factors for the natural phenomena state that the rise in heat and temperature is as a result of the explosion of the sun's spot CITATION Rec14 \l 1033 (Reckien, Flacke and Olazabal) .Over the last centuries, the earth's orbit has been moving from or to the sun thus causing changes in temperature of the ocean and atmosphere. Natural production of CH4 in arctic tundra and wetlands contributes immensely to global warming. Also, the contact between the earth and explosions of meteors cause an increase in temperature hence leading to global warming. Therefore phenomena would gradually occur even without anthropogenic activities.
Social and Environmental Impact of Global Warming
Global warming causes several potential economic, social and environmental impacts. In most circumstances, these effects will be severe; in some isolated cases, these impacts could be favorable, like in the increased production of crops. The negative effects would be felt even if the level of global warming is kept as low as 2°C and the international community will have to corporate if newer climate conditions could be met .In spite of the joint international efforts, the average global temperatures continue to increase beyond the threshold of 2°C; it has been evaluated that the effects would become irreversible, widespread and more severe CITATION Aig13 \l 1033 (Dai).The areas where the adverse effects of global warming would experience are discussed below.
Droughts and Floods
Floods are anticipated to occur more often on almost three-quarters of earth's atmosphere. During a winter season, snowfalls are anticipated to reduce in the mid-latitudes, causing the decrease of snowmelt floods during the spring season. For instance, in Canada, a lot of rainfall is expected for all regions in the nation. On the other hand, drier soil (agricultural drought) and less rain (meteorological drought) are supposed to be more and longer frequently in various seasons and regions, specifically under RCP 8.5, due to increased evaporation and reduced rainfall, such as in Parish and Columbia CITATION Aig13 \l 1033 (Dai) .Also, more adverse droughts will exert a lot of pressure on the systems and water supply sources in dry areas, but if appropriate adaption and mitigation measures are implemented effectively, water problem in wetter regions could be manageable.
Renewable sources of water are projected to decrease in particular regions and extension of others. In areas in which rains are anticipated, water resources deficit will be experienced temporarily due to increased changes in streamflow brought by increased evaporation and a lot of precipitation volatility and the seasonal cutbacks due to the small collection of ice and snow. The supply of clean water is also likely to decrease because of warmer environmental conditions. For instance, the algae-related toxins could destroy various water systems and sources such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and seas. Such overall decrease of renewable water systems and sources will increase competition for this scarce resource among ecosystem, industry, agriculture, energy production, and settlement, impacting on food, energy, and water security in all parts of the world.
Changes in Ecosystem
In the last centuries, climate change and global warming have naturally taken place at lower rates, leading to adaptation of the ecosystem. However, from the beginning of the 20th century up to date, the majority of the people claim that they are hard-hit CITATION Eki15 \l 1033 (Ekins and McGlade ).The extinction rate of different types of species has exceeded by more than hundred times the average rate. I...
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