What is Global Warming? This is a question that every one of us should know the answer to, as the problem is really serious indeed. Global warming refers to the observations that the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface is warming and here are Causes and Effects of Global Warming on Earth. This temperature increase is one of the many types of climate changes that our planet is currently going through. But why should we care about a temperature increase of just 0.7°C for one hundred years. Although this might seem like a small problem, this is not the case.
A temperature increase like that is a sign that something is wrong the ecosystem. The earth is a closed system and everything is related. If one thing goes wrong, the entire balance of the system will be destroyed, and unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s currently happening. Such temperature increases have a serious impact on human activities.
The global warming is caused by the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’. The term greenhouse effect shows how carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb some of the energy that is emitted from the Earth’s surface, preventing this energy from being lost to space. As we all know, our planet absorbs energy from the sun and emits a portion of this energy back into space. But if this energy doesn’t get completely reflected, it heats the lower atmosphere, which emits some energy back to earth.
Causes and Effects of Global Warming – The formation of ozone holes is also related to the greenhouse gases. Ozone has an important function of acting as a shield protecting us of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Problem is that the ozone is getting destroyed by all the chemical compounds that we produce. 90% of the ozone exists in the stratosphere, but when you combine the air pollution, with the extremely cold temperatures in the temperatures and the solar radiation, a chemical reaction occurs causing holes in the ozone layer.
Statistics show that United States is the country which is the largest source of global warming pollution. The USA only produces 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning. There is no other country with a percentage as large as that. The entire continent of Europe is behind, as well as China, India and Japan combined. Obviously, the American government must be seriously concerned and take immediate measures. The auto-manufacturing industry is already seeing the changes as there were new requirements introduced to make all the new cars more fuel efficient.
Causes and Effects of Global Warming
Causes of Global Warming
Global warming is a very disturbing phenomenon and it could eventually cause the extinction of the human race. Yes, it is that serious and we are causing it. Governments have been manipulating people for years, making them believe that there is nothing wrong with the climate, there is nothing wrong with CO2 emissions or cutting out 30% of the Earth’s forests. Well, obviously there is, and now we are starting to feel the effects.
All our factories and transport vehicles are keeping us alive, but at the same time are the main cause of global warming. The question is how can we get the right balance between productivity and ecology? Every day 6 billion people wake up with real needs for food, energy and materials. The challenge for sustainability is to provide for those needs in ways that reduce negative impact on the environment.
Natural causes of global warming along with the other type of causes – man-made are the reasons for the occurrence of this phenomenon. So we divide the causes of global warming into two groups – natural and man-made. Obviously, natural causes of global warming are created by nature. An example of such could be the release of methane gas from arctic tundra and wetlands. As scientists point out, methane is a greenhouse gas so it adds up to the greenhouse effect.
Another natural cause lays in the fact that our planet goes through a cycle of climate change. This cycle usually lasts about 40,000 years. As a matter of fact, some scientists believe that we are on the verge of another ice age, because when an ice age is about to begin, global warming occurs, just as it is happening now. All the events are logically connected and trigger each other. The oceans that are currently heating up, cause the precipitation to increase. This, of course, causes an increased amount of snowfall, which will reflect away solar energy and trigger a cool-down. Since the last ice age, the oceans have heating continuously. And because the oceans are heating up more than the atmosphere, the Arctic ice is starting to melt faster than expected.
Causes of Global Warming
There are six major causes of the global warming that we are currently seeing.
- Energy use and production
Causes of Global Warming – The running of electrical appliances, diving vehicles, preparing and cooking food as well as using heating and cooling systems all contribute to the consumption of energy. Predominantly this energy is the result of burning certain kinds of fossil fuels. The burning of oil, coal, and gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. arbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gases and is in fact considered to be the main contributory greenhouse gas as far as global warming is concerned. Although there are several theories concerning the climate changes we are seeing, there is a general agreement among scientists that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing the earth natural greenhouse effect and that is what is known as global warming. Between 50% and 75% of all our, carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to our energy use.
The global transport market is the fastest growing energy-consumption sector in the world. Approximately 20 % of all man-made emissions of carbon dioxide come from the exhausts of cars and motorcycles. The emissions of carbon dioxide from an average car can roughly be considered to weigh the same as that car.
Causes of Global Warming – Chlorofluorocarbons also known as CFCs, are chemical compounds that contain chlorine and bromine. They are often associated with the rapid depletion of the ozone layer which protects the earth from harmful rays. These CFC substances were discovered and then developed for use in the early 1930s and subsequently have been used in numerous household and business applications. Because they are stable and relatively unreactive as well as being non-toxic and non-flammable they are ideally suited for use as coolants, solvents, blowing agents and propellants.
It was discovered in 1973 that chlorine was a contributory factor to ozone destruction. This catalytic destruction of ozone meant that the ozone layer was effectively being eaten away. However, even though this process was known it was not considered a problem until the early to mid-80s. Once the discovery of the damage to the ozone layer over the polar ice caps was announced many initiatives were started in order to discover the extent of the problem and to learn more about the ozone depletion processes, along with calls to freeze or diminish production of chlorinated fluorocarbons.
- Agricultural practices
Causes of Global Warming – Approximately 90% of agricultural energy use can be put down to the development of nitrogen fertilizer, farm machinery, and pumped irrigation. These processes are also an integral part of todays agriculture.
Land conversion produces almost half a million tonnes of nitrous oxide a year, this increases the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere. Although nitrous oxide is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide it is currently at a far lower concentration that carbon dioxide. The application of 70 million tonnes a year of nitrogen to crops via fertilizers is thought to be responsible for 10% of the total annual nitrous oxide emissions of 22 million tonnes. In around 30 years time this may have increased two-fold.
Methane is also a contributory greenhouse gas, emissions of which are increasing all the time. Livestock fed on a high protein diet produce far more methane than animals fed on grass. The action that fertilizers have on decreasing methane uptake in the soil also contributes to the methane problem. The final element to the methane problem is the use of nitrogen fertilized rice paddies as opposed to traditional rainfed paddies.
- Water vapour and feedback
Causes of Global Warming – Water vapour accounts for between 70% and 95% of global warming. And Water vapour absorbs and then emits infrared radiation in Earth’s atmosphere, this increases the earth’s temperature.
Feedback results from the evaporation of water in the oceans, on the planet’s surface and in the atmosphere. As the water vapour absorbs radiation from the sun and the earth its temperature increases thus causing more evaporation. Additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also contributes to this effect. This loop continues until the levels of water vapour reach a point of equilibrium. This has a far greater effect on global warming than CO2 on its own.
- Changes in land use
Causes of Global Warming – Essentially land usage is changing in two ways human-caused and naturally occurring or indirect causes. Human causes include (but are not limited to) Deforestation, reforestation and afforestation, Agriculture, and urbanization. Naturally occurring changes are caused and affected by carbon dioxide concentrations such that they force changes in vegetation. Worldwide, it is thought that this kind of land use changes contributes to around 18% of emissions.
- Industrial activities
These include all manufacturing and distribution processes as well as the service industry. Essentially all industrial activities use energy and it is our reliance on fossil fuels for energy that is the major contributor to global warming.
Effects of Global Warming on Rain Forest Animals
Global warming is referred to an ongoing process of climate change which has been taking place for over 200 years. Use of fossil fuel and activities such as deforestation has increased the release of greenhouse gases which increases the temperature on the surface of the earth by trapping the heat. This is how we experience rise in the average temperature on earth. The changing temperatures wreck havoc disrupting the environment as well as the ecological system. The entire landscape gets altered this way.
The rainforest animals have been also affected by the climate changes and global warming. The rainforest animals are looking around for higher grounds for their survival. However, those who are already living on the top of mountains find nowhere to go. According to the reports of nwf.org, global warming and climate changes have threatened the existence of the tropical animals to a great extent. The temperature in rainforests is expected to rise by about three degree centigrade in the coming 100 years. The risk of extinction of these rainforest animals increases all the more this way. Their body becomes unable to release excess heat or acclimatize themselves to the changes in temperature.
According to the reports of Rainforestlive.org more than half of the animals on earth reside in the rainforest areas. The statistical reports say that every hour, there is the death of about 2 animals which comes down to about 50 animals every day. These numbers are expected to rise even further if no steps are taken for combating global warming and climate change. It is high time that a proactive plan is devised for reversing the negative effects of global warming. The scientists claim that more than half of the rainforest animals shall no longer exist by the year 2050. About 25% of the birds shall become endangered species. There are also possibilities of global warming inciting fires because of lack of rainfall.
The animals that depend on rainforests are thus required to relocate themselves somewhere else to sustain their life. However, the available areas are becoming more and more limited these days. Fire destruction has a great impact on the ecological systems. The amount of O2 in air reduces and the rate of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. With reduction in the total number of trees, the level of photosynthesis also gets affected. The rainforest animals have very little oxygen to breathe.
Generation of awareness among the human beings is the only way we can reduce the incidence of global warming and climate change. People must be educated that nature cannot support man’s greed and the consequences of one action gets back to each of us. We are all collectively responsible for the current deterioration of environmental conditions. It is our responsibility to make the earth a better place to live in for the sake of our own children. In most of the schools, all over the world Environmental Studies have been made a compulsory discipline so that children can learn about environmental hazards and the steps that can be taken for combating the ill effects from the very early age.
Effects of Global Warming on Animals
The reckless human activities have adverse effects on the lives of animals and plants as well. There are many animals which no longer exist. Let us now discuss in details about the effects of global warming on some of the animals.
- Polar Bears: The polar bears are on the verge of extinction due to the melting of the ice sheets. Ice is a must for their survival. The bears today have fewer places to go with rise in temperature and melting of glaciers. Interruptions in reproduction and reduced food hunting movements indicate calamitous circumstances for the polar bears.
- Penguins: Penguins are another kind of animal which lives on ice. Melting of ice poses serious threats to the lives of the penguins. The tiny organisms on which they feed survive on algae; however, there has been a significant decrease in the existence of algae with rise in temperatures and melting of ice. Loss of food for the penguins will ultimately lead to its extinction. Breeding habitats of the penguins are also affected by global warming and climate change. If this continues for long, even the penguins are going to become an endangered species.
- Trout: Coldwater fishes and the trout are suffering from loss of habitat as a result of global warming and climate change. Glacial temperatures are a must for the fishes to survive. The rise in the temperate of water may not be able to support the life of the cold-water fish or trout.
- Caribou: Lives of the caribous are at risk because of global warming and climate change. Changing seasons or normal synchronization of cycles is a must for supporting the birth of caribou. Since the availability of food becomes scares during the breeding season, the number of offspring being born gets reduced.
- Orangutan: It is already an endangered species. Global warming and climate change are the main factors contributing to their extinction. Bacteria and viruses tend to multiply in warm climatic conditions. The animals and Orangutan get exposed to harmful bacterial and viral infections.
- Arctic Fox: These animals with padded feet and thick fur currently experience loss of habitat as a result of global warming and climate change. Frigid temperatures are the apt condition for these furry animals. These foxes are moving towards the North Pole in search of the ideal habitat that suits them. The current habitat poses a serious threat to the lives of the fox.
Effects of Global Warming On the basis of the reports of Environmental Defense Fund, about 40% of the animal and plant species shall become completely extinct due to climatic changes by the year 2050. Hibernation cycles of animals and bears are affected by the global change in climatic conditions. Decline in food sources, as well as loss of habitat, has obliterated many species from the heart of mother earth. We thus find global warming and climate change has tremendous effect on lives on earth.
Effects of Global Warming on Marine Biodiversity
If we go by the reports published in journals and the daily newspapers, we can find that the rate of loss of marine biodiversity was never so high. The scientists say that most of the species are getting endangered for they are unable to adapt themselves with changes brought about by the reckless human activity. Global warming and climate change according to the scientists are primarily the results of human activities. Rise in the sea and ocean temperatures have disturbed marine life and poses serious threat to oceanic biodiversity.
Effects of Global Warming – Carbon emissions have increased as a result of emission of hazardous gases from vehicles, industrial developments and increase in farming activities. The greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping heat on surface of the earth there by leading to the heat build-up process. Temperature of the whole planet including the oceans has gone up. There are a number of species which require a particular climate and temperature to support their life. These marine species are forced to migrate into normal locations. There are however several barriers which prevent a lot of species from relocating themselves into any area. Thus, they either have to risk extinction or adapt themselves to warmer climatic conditions. The entire ecological system gets hampered when particular species becomes endangered. There are a number of marine animals who have prodded towards the northern waters for a suitable habitat.
Also, Read How to Prevent Global Warming
Effects of Global Warming – Global warming and climate change have resulted in melting of glaciers over the last 20 years. Subsequently, this leads to an increase in the levels of the sea. The coastal ecosystem has suffered a lot of damages due to such changes. Plenty of species which depend on the habitat for their survival has also undergone a lot of hazards. The situations are likely to improve with proposals for building sea walls which will protect marine animal species and human communities living in the coastal areas.