The signs that our planet is sending can be ignored no longer. Nature is changing its course. Powerful storms, more intense droughts, warmer weathers, heat waves, gigantic fires and continual melting of the polar ice caps are a constant occurrence and a part of the daily evening news. Experts think these are all signs of global warming – symptoms of an ailing planet in the throes of a coma.
What is global warming?
Many have said that global warming is a problem for future generations. However, its arrival cannot be denied anymore and there is compelling and mounting evidence that it is now taking place.
Here are some of the signs:
- The last 12 years have been recorded as the warmest on record for global surface temperature.
- For the past 50 years, the rate of warming has increased twofold.
- Severe weather events have taken place more regularly in the past 50 years.
- There has been a reported temperature increase of 1-degree Fahrenheit in most of the United States over the past century.
All these point to one of the most serious challenges we as a people have to face.
As the planet gets warmer, there will be noticeable changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea levels, and a wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans.
Global warming is a naturally occurring phenomenon and is even necessary to maintain life on the planet and enable survival. It is responsible for keeping the earth’s temperature at a comfortable level, 60°F to be exact. However, the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere has fast-tracked global warming at alarming levels. Our planet has been growing increasingly warmer by 1°F over the past century and is at its warmest state today than at any other point in the millennium. The notable increase in temperature and the terrifying disturbances in the weather are difficult to deny. Our world is definitely growing hotter.
The signs of global warming have been manifesting themselves for years. Heat waves, rise in sea levels, warming of the poles and melting glaciers have longed warned us of a meteorological calamity that has now arrived. Furthermore, as global warming becomes more frequent, continuous and widespread, recent events are an omen of an impending catastrophe. The spread of disease, earlier onset of spring, plant and animal changes, coral reef bleaching, downpours, fires and droughts are the disastrous effects brought about by the changing climate.
Cause of global warming
Greenhouse gases are naturally released into the atmosphere as part of nature’s innate processes, it is man and his blatant disregard for his environment that is the cause of the unnatural global warming that we experience today.
The main culprit of global warming is the pollutants emitted from the burning of fossil fuel. When coal or oil is burned, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These toxins trap the sun’s heat, thus causing the earth to heat up. Coal-burning power plants and automobiles are the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution, emitting billions of tons of toxic fumes into our fragile atmosphere each year.
Effects of global warming
As the concentration of greenhouse gases swells, the sun’s heat is trapped in the atmosphere and cannot be released back into space. Trapped sunlight causes temperatures to rise, thus drastically changing climate and altering weather patterns. Nature then behaves uncharacteristically – seasons become shorter, coastal flooding more frequent and storms more severe.
Most alarming of all are the melting of the polar ice caps. This causes sea levels to rise, thus throwing the global ecosystem out of whack. A snowballing effect is certain to ensue – increased temperatures will bring about changes in landscape, thus making it extremely difficult for plants and animals to survive.
Humans are not immune from the devastating effects of global warming. Desertification, or the expansion of deserts, will render large areas of the world uninhabitable. Droughts and floods could create food and water shortages and trigger widespread migration and even war.
Global warming is here and its effects are inevitable. Despite this upsetting news, there is a positive side. Worldwide efforts have been made to find solutions to minimize the effects of global warming such as cutting down energy use, mobilizing renewable resources, and employing alternative sources of energy. Only man’s collective efforts at reversing his own misdoings can recover our planet. It is about time we start to care.