What Is Global Warming Caused By – 5. What is the relationship between global warming and severe weather conditions such as storms, heat waves, droughts and hurricanes?
6. If global warming is real, why is it so cold and snowy this winter? (Difference between climate and weather.)
What Is Global Warming Caused By
22. Is there hope that we can tackle climate change before it is too late?
The Simplest Explanation Of Global Warming Ever
Global warming refers to the increase in the global average temperature since the industrial revolution. The average global temperature has increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880. Global warming is an ongoing process; Scientists predict that the global average temperature will increase by 0.3 to 0.7 degrees Celsius (0.54 to 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2035.
Certain gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap the Sun’s heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. These greenhouse gases (GHGs) exist naturally in the atmosphere and help keep Earth warm enough to support life. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature on Earth would be zero degrees Fahrenheit, instead of the current 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, natural gas and oil) to power vehicles, factories and homes, release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Other activities, including deforestation (cutting down trees) and livestock farming, also emit greenhouse gases.
Higher concentrations of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap more heat at the Earth’s surface, causing anthropogenic (i.e., human-caused) increases in global temperatures. Climate scientists agree that human activity is the main driver of the global warming we are experiencing.
Humans Are Responsible For Nearly All Modern Global Warming
The terms climate change and global warming are often used interchangeably, but climate change refers generically to continuous changes in average weather (e.g., temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, atmospheric pressure, ocean temperature, etc.) , while global warming strictly refers to – an increase in the Earth’s global average temperature.
Climate change can refer to the natural fluctuations in Earth’s average temperature over geological time, between cold periods (ice ages, known as ice ages) and warm periods (interglacial periods).
However, the climate changes we are experiencing today are caused by human activity (see question 2). Scientists concluded that over the past 50 years, Earth’s surface should have cooled slightly based on natural factors such as solar intensity and volcanic activity; Instead, the increased burning of fossil fuels has led to global warming – and at a significantly faster rate than at any time in the last 800,000 years.
An increase in global average temperatures due to human activity has many effects on Earth, including more intense and more frequent droughts and storms, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, warming of the oceans, and ocean acidification (see question 8). People around the world are already feeling the impact of climate change on the environment. Changing weather patterns can destroy crops and cause severe water shortages. Rising sea levels threaten low-lying islands and coastal cities. Tropical diseases and insects spread when their hosts move to new habitats that were previously too cold to survive.
The Heat Is On: Understanding The Realities Of Global Warming
Climate change poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of human societies, especially in communities that lack resources and are therefore ill-equipped to deal with the effects of a warming climate.
Rising global temperatures increase the severity of risks and the likelihood of storms, floods, fires, droughts and heat waves. In a warmer climate, the atmosphere can collect, store and release more water, leading to changes in precipitation patterns. Increased rainfall can help support agriculture, but rain increasingly comes in the form of stronger, one-day storms that damage property and infrastructure and lead to loss of life in affected areas. In recent decades, the United States has experienced more heat waves and fewer cold snaps. Since the 1960s, the length of the heat wave season has increased in many cities by more than 40 days. Today, major U.S. cities average more than six heat waves per year, whereas in the 1960s the average was two heat waves per year. Global warming also causes higher sea surface temperatures because most of the heat trapped in Earth’s atmosphere is absorbed by temperatures. A warmer sea surface makes it easier for hurricanes to form. Due to human-caused global warming, the rate of hurricane rainfall is expected to increase, the intensity of hurricanes will increase, and the proportion of storms reaching Category 4 or 5.
It is difficult for researchers to attribute a specific weather event to global warming. However, climate scientists are confident that higher global average temperatures are making extreme weather more likely and more severe. The United States is seeing a clear increase in the number of devastating weather and climate disasters, combined with increased development in the coastal plains and rivers (i.e., more people and infrastructure in these areas will be affected). The table below from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the number and impact of billion-dollar disasters in the decade 1980-2019.
The key to understanding the answer to this question is the difference between weather and climate. The weather is what is happening outside today, while the weather is the typical weather for the region. It may rain today in Los Angeles, but the city’s climate is generally dry. As the global average temperature increases, winters are more likely to be shorter and less snowy. However, there are still cold days and colder-than-average years due to changes in airflow associated with weather patterns.
How Earth’s Climate Changes Naturally (and Why Things Are Different Now)
For snow to form, there must be moisture consumption and freezing air temperatures. Both conditions are still expected in the winter, especially in areas that experience temperatures well below freezing (so even if you increase the average temperature for that location, many winter days will still be below freezing). Therefore, global warming does not prevent snowy winters. In fact, in some areas, global warming may cause more intense winter storms. For example, as rising sea surface temperatures fuel more intense storms, places like the northeastern United States are likely to see more intense winter storms (although they may be rarer). Scientists expect, on average, that winters will shorten as global temperatures continue to rise, which should result in fewer snow days overall.
Cumulative sea level changes in the world’s oceans since 1880. The blue line shows sea level measured by tide gauges (1880-2013); The orange line shows sea level measured by satellites (1993-2018).
Source: US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Data sources: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Global warming contributes to sea level rise in two main ways. First, warmer temperatures cause the rapid melting of land-based glaciers and ice sheets, which moves water from land to the ocean. Areas experiencing significant ice melt include Greenland, Antarctica and mountain glaciers around the world.
How Climate Change Affects Health
Second, thermal expansion, the process by which warmer water takes up more space, causes the volume of the ocean to increase, leading to sea level rise.
Other factors affect sea level, and the combination of all these factors leads to different rates of sea level rise on Earth. Local factors that can cause sea levels to rise more quickly in some areas include ocean currents and the sinking of land surfaces (known as subsidence).
Since 1880, global average sea levels have risen between 20 and 23 centimeters. In a low-emissions scenario, models predict sea level rise will increase to about one meter above 2000 levels by the end of the century. In a high emissions scenario, sea levels could rise more than eight meters above 2000 levels by 2100. Either way, this would increase the risk of coastal flooding and endanger millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas such as New York. , Los Angeles. and Miami.
The ocean is a key component of the carbon cycle. Carbon constantly circulates between the ocean, land and atmosphere (this is called carbon flow). Seawater absorbs 25 to 30% of carbon dioxide emissions. As humans put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (see question 2), the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide. This changes the chemical composition of the ocean and is known as ocean acidification. The pH value of the ocean dropped by 0.1 pH units, representing about a 30% increase in acidity. This change is enough to affect many marine organisms. For example, acidification causes crustacean shells to form and can even cause shells to molt.
Uncovering Climate’s Secret Ally. Nature Has Slowed Global Warming…
Animals contribute to climate change, both directly through their digestive processes and indirectly through the deforestation of vegetation to make way for livestock farming.
Agriculture as a whole is responsible for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Global agricultural emissions come from the digestive process of ruminant animals (such as cows, sheep and goats), manure left on pastures, synthetic fertilizers, rice cultivation, land clearing by burning. and land and crop residue management.
Animals, especially cattle, produce methane through their digestion. Manure also emits methane. Combined emissions from livestock and manure represent 38% of total U.S. methane emissions. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that has a heat-trapping effect 25 times greater.