One of the earth’s greatest challenges is Global warming. It is described as a constant increment in the earth’s average temperature. It is believed that global warming would result in permanent climate change. In line with the research, as human beings burn fossil fuels and destroy forests, the temperature of the earth rises steadily due to emissions from such activities. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, there has been a continuous discharge of carbon into the atmosphere.
Majorly, global warming is caused by human activities. Over the past century, the average temperature of the earth has increased significantly. According to scientific research, greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by human activities have led to temperature increase since the mid-20th century. Most researchers indicate that the planet’s temperature has increased by 0.5˚C since 1900.
The impacts of temperature increase are experienced all over the world. Over the next 100 years, global temperature is expected to rise from 1.4°C to 5.8°C. This trend is expected to continue in the future and the earth would get warmer every year. This paper explores the causes, effects, and prevention of global warming.
Causes of Global Warming
Majorly, global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect, which is defined as the natural process through which the atmosphere absorbs the energy of the sun heating up the earth. The sun’s thermal radiations are absorbed and redirected in all directions by greenhouse gases, produced when fossil fuels are burnt. The clearing of forests also results in an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The major greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, ozone, water vapor, and methane. Coal and oil mining, landfills, and natural gas seepage also release methane into the atmosphere. In addition, melting of ice, containing methane clathrate, releases methane which also results in a considerable increase in global temperature.
Another cause of global warming is deforestation. Cutting down trees reduces carbon dioxide absorption and release of oxygen by plants. As a consequence, carbon dioxide concentration builds up in the atmosphere, which leads to the greenhouse effect. Atmospheric carbon dioxide level is also increased by burning wood, which emits oxidizable carbon. Other gases such as nitrous oxide released by fertilizers, refrigeration gases, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and industrial wastes also cause global warming.
CFC does not absorb heat, however, UV rays cause chlorine to disintegrate from CFC. Free chlorine catalyzes the conversion of ozone molecules into oxygen. This causes the depletion of the ozone layer and leads to global warming. Icebergs and glaciers reduce the earth’s temperature by reflecting high-temperature beams back into the atmosphere. However, the removal of icebergs due to melting causes the earth to get warm since the ocean would absorb much thermal radiation from the sun(Archer 29).
Effects of Global Warming
Global warming has several negative impacts on both plant and animal life. An increase in temperatures affects agricultural production and forestry. Fishing activities would also be vastly affected since the natural habitat of fish is destroyed by the effects of high temperatures. When the temperature of water increases, the natural habitat for aquatic life is destroyed. This is harmful to their growth and could lead to the death of animals and the destruction of plants.
An increase in carbon-dioxide levels also leads to the acidification of water bodies. Research indicates that temperature rise and acidification of ocean water would cause the destruction of coral reef habitats by the end of the year 2100. Climate change is the major effect of global warming. Europe and America are already experiencing remarkable warm summers and cold winters because of global warming. It is believed that winters that occurred between 2003 and 2004 in North America were one of the coldest ever experienced since the year 1896.
Researchers are trying to predict how an increase in ocean water and atmospheric temperature would impact the strength, intensity, and incidences of hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes. Melting of ice caps due to high temperature leads to a rise in sea levels, which could cause flooding. Flooding results in the destruction of properties and the displacement of people worldwide. Studies also indicate that maximum wind speeds have increased considerably since 1981.
In addition, global warming would lead to an increase in the prevalence of Lyme disease, dengue fever, and malaria. The reason for this is that mosquitoes that transmit these illnesses need warm temperatures (about 18˚C) to survive. An increase in floods and destruction of sewage and aquatic infrastructures also promotes the incidence of such disease outbreaks. The ozone layer protects human beings and animals from ultra-violet radiation. The depletion of the ozone layer as a result of greenhouse gases would harm human and animal life (Casper 80).
Prevention of Global Warming
The prevention of global warming requires everybody’s effort. There are several measures that need to be taken to prevent global warming. Majorly, prevention involves controlling or stopping those human activities that cause global warming. Emissions of greenhouse gases should be monitored and prevented. Deforestation and burning of wood should be prevented because it increases carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. In remote areas, LPG stoves and Biogas use need to be supported to reduce the burning of wood. The emissions from automobiles that cause global warming can be reduced by using fuel-efficient cars.
In addition, the use of electric cars, bio-fuels, and the proper design of car engines can be encouraged to minimize such emissions. Public education could play a key role in preventing global warming. Mostly, global warming is caused by people’s ignorance and bad attitude. Young people should be educated on the need for environmental conservation and responsible use of resources bearing in mind the harmful effects of global warming. Media should play a critical role in educating the public and raising awareness of the negative impacts of environmental pollution.
In conclusion, global warming causes harmful effects to both fauna and flora. It is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are produced when fossil fuels are burnt. They absorb the sun’s thermal radiation resulting in an increase in the temperature of the earth. Global warming has serious consequences. Some of the effects discussed include; climate change, a rise in sea levels, and an increase in incidences of a disease outbreak.
Climate change affects agriculture and fishing activities while a rise in sea levels causes flooding, which destroys infrastructure and leads to the displacement of people. Prevention of global warming requires human beings to be responsible in using energy. Discharge of greenhouse gases should be prevented or proper mitigation measures should be put in place. Destruction of forests should be avoided and trees should be planted to reduce the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Public awareness and education are necessary to change people’s attitudes towards environmental destruction. The media can play a key role in educating the public.
Archer, David. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.
Casper, Julie. Changing Ecosystems: Effects of Global Warming. New York: Infobase Pub, 2010. Print.