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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Causes of Global Warming

What is global warming?

Global warming is the steady rise in Earth’s average surface temperature due to the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap the natural great from the sun and accumulate heat. Global warming is a kind of climate change that is chiefly directed by human-made activities. There have been numerous global climate changes before, but they were all due to natural occurrences. But since the industrial revolution, human society advanced to complex energy-driven systems capable of widespread pollution.

What causes global warming?

Why is global warming happening? What is global warming caused by?

Greenhouse gases

Well, the last 200 years have witnessed remarkable progress in science and technology. The industrial revolution allowed massive energy production and promised economic growth and surplus for larger populations. However, this came at the cost of unchecked natural resource exploitation and pollution of air, water, and soil. Human activities of burning fossil fuel, deforestation, and farming, released vast amounts of gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases. These gases invariably absorb the heat from the sun and the surface leading to continuous heat accumulation. 

Greenhouse gases & global warming

Greenhouse gases and global warming are like the two sides of the same coin. A greenhouse gas can absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. The major greenhouse gases are methane [CH4], water vapor [H2O], nitrous oxide [N2O], carbon dioxide [CO2], and ozone [O3] are the leading causes of global warming. If not for greenhouse gases, the average temperature on Earth would be -18 °C (0 °F).  The current average temperature is 15 °C (59 °F). 

How does carbon dioxide cause global warming?

Does CO2 cause global warming?

climate change

Most certainly. CO2 is most potent in retaining surface heat and raising temperatures. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have seen an almost 50% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. For example, CO2 concentration increased from 280 ppm (parts per million) in 1750 to 415 ppm in 2019. Prior to this, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was so high about 3 million years ago. This is clearly the most long-term enforcement of climate change. CO2, once released in the atmosphere, remains for hundreds of years. Though CO2 is helpful for plant growth, large amounts of it only reduce the nutritional value in crops. Agricultural activities, especially extensive grazing, paddy cultivation, and single-crop farming, release large amounts of methane. Methane concentrations contribute to almost 10% of global warming from the greenhouse effect. Nevertheless, clouds and water vapor remain the leading direct contributor to the greenhouse effect. Though the levels vary locally, on average, water vapor contributes to half of the greenhouse effect.

Related article: What is Global Warming?

Global warming issues

why global warming is a problem

The climatic conditions of a place like temperature, wind, humidity, and rain, impact the life forms that thrive in a particular habitat of the earth. The rise in temperatures as a result of global warming tampers with this natural ecosystem balance. The imbalance that drastic changes in climate have caused in terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal ecosystems are evidence as to why global warming is a problem.

Global warming causes and effects today have become an imperative area of study, research, and government policy.

Climate change causes ocean temperatures to rise, ocean current cycles to disrupt, and more frequent extreme weather conditions. At current emission rates of greenhouse gases, global temperatures could increase by 2 °C (3.6°F). The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned this level of increase to be the upper limit to avoid “dangerous” levels by the year 2036. At an individual level, we all must make efforts to reduce our carbon footprints. We must shift to environment-friendly transport and energy sources. Government and International bodies must adopt energy-efficient policies. Global warming facts and realities must be made compulsory in all elementary education globally. With all our combined efforts, it may not be impossible to curb the global warming process.

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Aurora Chowdhury
Aurora Chowdhury is a Business Psychology Graduate from Kingston University, London. She has expertise in domains like Business Psychology, Management, Strategic Management, and Business Strategy. She has a growth mindset and strongly believes in perseverance. She regularly writes for various websites and also conducts counselling sessions.

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