The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon by which certain gases in the atmosphere prevent re-emitting of solar radiation back into space. The burning of fossil fuels produces huge quantities of carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas. Most scientists say that human production of greenhouse gases is responsible for global temperature increases observed since the mid-20th century (see References 2, page 5).
Few deny that the earth's climate is changing, but many disagree about the cause. If human actions contribute to global warming, then people can take steps to help stop it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency links greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and certain propellants, to global warming (see References 1). Choices you make that result in lower production of greenhouse gases, ...
"These scenes are as frightening as a science fiction movie," United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 (see Reference 3). "But they are even more frightening, because they are real." Ki-Moon was talking about what he later called the "defining challenge of our age" --- the threat posed by climate change. Climate change is often politically controversial, ...
Before the Industrial Revolution, the greenhouse effect was a natural process in which gases, like carbon dioxide and water vapor, trapped some of the sun's heat within the atmosphere, allowing life to exist on Earth. Human-caused pollution, from factories, fossil fuel combustion and other activities, is contributing to an enhanced greenhouse effect and global warming. (See References 1, p. 2, 3)
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Not surprisingly, NASA refers to the earth as a big spaceship that takes all of its inhabitants on a 583-mile annual cruise around the sun. This ship has all the air, water and food you need to survive in style. As a bonus, there is a sophisticated control system that makes the oceans, land, air, plants, animals and the sun's energy work in perfect harmony. The trick is that the system is so sensitive that a change in one area affects all of the other areas, and people are changing the system by emitting more greenhouse gases than the planet can absorb. This is altering the climate (see References 1).
Throughout history, Earth has gone through periodic cycles of warming and cooling. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Earth's temperature has risen 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and climate scientists predict that temperatures could rise as much as 7 degrees F by the end of the 21st century, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (see References 1). Scientists attribute most of this recent rise in global temperatures to increases in greenhouse gases, although they acknowledge the contributions of changes in land-use, as well as solar radiation and volcanic activity (see Resources 2).
People have debated the causes and effects of global warming for decades, but there is no question that Earth is experiencing a trend toward increasing atmospheric and surface temperatures. Many believe the buildup of so-called greenhouse gases --- those that absorb and re-radiate heat in the atmosphere --- has contributed greatly to this phenomenon and that climate change will have huge impacts on ecosystems, including human livelihoods. While global warming itself is already taking place, there are actions everyone can take to attempt to mitigate its effects.
Your home is designed to keep you comfortable. You can heat it in the winter and cool it in the summer, just by adjusting your thermostat. Every adjustment to the thermostat, however, can have unseen consequences. Every time your air-conditioner clicks on, the world outside gets a little warmer because of increased use of nonrenewable energy. Understanding the connection between your living room and your living planet can help you make smart decisions about how you use that thermostat.
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other pollutants, collect in the atmosphere, trap heat from the sun and cause the planet to warm. Global warming has adverse effects on weather patterns, human health, wildlife, sea levels and the glaciers. By using less energy, you lower the demand on power plants, which means less pollution. Couple energy conservation with increasing your reliance on renewable energy sources, and you can reduce greenhouse emissions and help stop global warming. (See References 1)
Earth's climate is changing. In the past 50 years, the average temperature in the United States has gone up by 2 degrees F, precipitation has increased by roughly 5 percent, and extreme weather events have become more frequent and intense, according to a recent report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global warming doesn't just impact nature; your daily life is affected, too. (See References 1, page 27)
The consensus in the scientific community is that global warming is caused by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. Changes attributed to global warming include rising temperatures, retreating glaciers, earlier snowmelt and an increase in heavy downpours. (See References 1, page 9) What is less talked about is the effect global warming has on the human body. In 2009, the U.S. Global Change Research Program presented a report to Congress that summarizes current and future impacts of climate change on the U.S., including how it directly affects humans.
Greenhouse gases trap the sun's rays within the Earth's atmosphere and are considered one of the main culprits behind global warming. Humans contribute to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases -- notably carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- through deforestation, agriculture, energy production and waste disposal (see References 1). Several things used everyday in your home produce gases like these that contribute to global warming.
Deforestation is the "permanent removal of standing forests," as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines it. Although suburban sprawl, industry and agriculture still pose major threats, U.S. deforestation has somewhat stabilized, in part due to a wave of forest management and environmental protection laws enacted in the later decades of the 20th century. In many other countries, however, particularly those with large areas of rain forest and boreal forest, deforestation is rampant (see References 2), and the global effects are serious.
Global warming can have a mass effect on the planet's climate. However, there are actions you can take to minimize your contribution to greenhouse gas and carbon emissions and reduce their impact. The simplest changes in your home routine can help the overall effort to slow global warming as well as save you money (see References 1).
The U.S. has already begun experiencing changes attributed to global warming, and the warmer it gets, the stronger the effect. If the rate of greenhouse gas emissions remains the same, the average world temperature could increase 4 to 12 degrees by 2100, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see References 1).
Global warming is a term that describes one facet of climate change: the temperature increase occurring at the lower layers of the atmosphere and the surface of the planet. Other factors of climate change include alterations in wind patterns, average precipitation and sea levels. Many human activities release greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. (See References 1)
Over the past two centuries, human activity has increased the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) like carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, and scientists believe these changes are causing a rise in global surface temperatures (see references 3). Human activities are not the only ones that can impact climate, however, and throughout Earth's history natural activities have also caused climate fluctuations (see references 3).
The pollutants that contribute to global warming are commonly known as greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is probably the best known greenhouse gas, but methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases also play a role in driving climate change (see Reference 1). Human activities that cause global warming pollution can be best understand by examining the various sources of each type of greenhouse gas.
Greenhouse gas emissions are pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and disrupting the climate. The planet has experienced abnormally high precipitation levels, significantly increased cyclone and storm intensity, steadily rising ocean temperatures and sea levels, heat waves and a myriad of other alarming indicators that the climate is off-balance, according to a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (See References 2) Turn alarm about climate change into action to decrease global warming by taking some simple steps. (See References 1, 3)
Each day, you engage in activities that contribute to global warming. Every time you drive, use electricity or simply scrape the salad remnants from your dinner plate into the trash, you generate greenhouse gases (see References 1). Fortunately, there are several easy ways to help stop global warming by reducing the level of greenhouse gases that promote climate change.
The remedies for global warming are in the big picture, but also in the details. In order to change the circumstances that are melting the ice caps and creating climate chaos, people have to adopt new behaviors. Science and technology have to step up to the challenge, as well. Saving energy and finding new sources of energy are both critical to a sustainable future. Looking beyond energy use to address how practices like industrial agriculture and deforestation are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions is equally important. Taking action at home and urging lawmakers to pursue global solutions are important ways you can help stop global warming.
As global temperatures rise, global warming is an increasing concern. The current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than it has been at any point in history, according to NASA, and the rise in global temperatures is moving at a faster rate than any point in the past 1,300 years. (See References 1) Scientific organizations, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agree that human behaviors and activities are a primary cause of the warming trend. (See References 2) To mitigate the existing damage and prevent global warming from accelerating, you can take steps to reduce emissions associated with your behaviors and lifestyle.
Scientists used the phrase "global warming" to describe the atypical increase in the Earth's surface temperature since the beginning of the 20th century. They increasingly prefer the use of the phrase "climate change," however, to describe the complex changes the Earth's climate is undergoing, according to the National Academies. (See References 4, page 2)
Global warming refers to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth as a result of the greenhouse effect, in which gases in the upper atmosphere trap solar radiation close to the planet's surface instead of allowing it to dissipate into space. Both natural and human-made conditions can contribute to global warming, but human beings can do several things to reduce the effects. (See References 1)
Riding a bike provides a fairly fast and dependable mode of transportation that just happens to require no gas. By biking instead of using motor vehicles whenever possible, you’ll be simultaneously saving money, getting fit and helping to reduce global warming. Plus, you'll set a positive example for others. In 2009, just .6 percent of Americans biked to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so the biking trend definitely has much room to grow (see Reference 5).
Maple syrup has been an important agricultural crop in America since before Native Americans taught colonists how to tap trees. Currently, global warming threatens the maple syrup industry. On June 4, 2007, Timothy D. Perkins Ph.D., director of the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont, testified before Congress that warming trends have begun to shorten the syrup collecting season. Perkins says the long-term effects of global warming may lead to a shift in forest composition and the maple-beech-birch range will begin migrating northward to cooler areas (See References 1, page 4).
Citing numerous measurements, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown that the past dozen years include the 10 warmest years on record. Over the past century, the overall global temperature has jumped 1.4 degrees. (See References 1) Although that doesn't sound like much, any sustained temperature increase warms our oceans. This in turn melts polar ice, raises sea levels, destroys habitat for marine life and changes climate patterns. However, there are several things you can do to reduce your personal contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate global warming. (See References 3)
Global warming has the potential to impact water resources, agriculture, energy use, weather patterns and sea level differentially across the planet (See References 1). Participation of educational facilities lies at the heart of addressing these issues so that continued data collection and assessment can be utilized to increase the quality of climate models, and thus, the reliability of their forecasts. Schools can undertake a number of activities to address the issues associated with climate change.
The surfing industry remains strong despite economic pressure; in 2008, it posted sales of over $7 billion, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association. (See Reference 1) In the same year in Australia alone, 1.6 million international visitors flocked to beaches specifically to experience the country's legendary waves. (See Reference 2, Page 3) However, as worldwide enthusiasm for the sport grows, the very waters that sustain surfing are in danger. Global warming is already affecting water quality and contributing to the erosion of coastal regions, and these effects stand to get worse the longer the phenomenon continues.