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What Is Global Warming?

April 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments

This article explains all about what is Global warming. Its effect on environment, about Green house effect. How we could stop it.

Global Warming Predictions Map

What is global warming? Since I last posted the article about Earth Hour 2009, and publicized it in Twitter and Facebook, I’ve received some private messages asking “what is global warming?”  At first, I thought some people were pulling my leg, or I’ve got some “global warming deniers” among my friends who were trying to start an argument about the issue.

But then, the people who sent those messages were actually earnest and sincere about learning what global warming is, what its effects are, etc. I decided to write a series of posts trying to answer these questions. These are most basic essays, from a layman’s point of view, but I’ll try to include as many references and web resources as possible, to help us better understand this alarming phenomenon.

If you’re an expert reading this, the series is not for you. But, I would certainly appreciate it, if you can share your expertise through the comments section below.

What is global warming?

Global warming refers to the consistent increase observed in the earth’s ground and atmospheric temperature in the mid-1900s and its projected continuation. It is estimated by scientists that the earth’s surface atmosphere has heated up by about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last 100 years.

Global Warming

What Is Global Warming? Isn’t it a natural phenomenon?

As a matter of fact, there is natural warming that goes on all the time on our planet, and this is a good thing, because, otherwise the earth would be uninhabitable to humans. Naturally occuring greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone) form a layer in our atmosphere trapping some of the heat from the sun’s rays helping to maintain a mean temperature of 33 °C (59 °F) on the earth’s surface. This process of trapping heat to warm the earth’s surface is known as the Greenhouse Effect.

Since the start, however, of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a steady increase in the temperature of the earth’s surface. This increase couldn’t be explained by the natural greenhouse effect, and in the last 40-50 years (when more precise measuring technology were developed), it became apparent that the increased global warming is being caused by more heat from the sun’s rays being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. As our factories and cars spew out more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the greenhouse gas layer in the atmosphere thickens – trapping more and more heat from the sun’s rays.

The continued burning of fossil fuel in our cars and factories, coupled with massive deforestation throughout the world, are clearly the main reason why we are now seeing massive increases in carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere. Using climate models, scientist predict a further increase in the earth’s surface temperature by about 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the 21st century.

What Is Global Warming? Is it the same as Ozone Layer depletion?

The ozone layer, located about 9-31 miles in the earth’s stratosphere, is what protect’s us from harmful ultraviolet rays and other radiation from the sun. Although, there are some obvious linkages between ozone layer depletion and global warming, these two are treated as separate problems.

Next Topic in this series:

  • Global Warming Evidence
  • Global Warming Consequences

Credits:

Images used in this page are from the Wikimedia Commons and used under the following licenses:  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License Version 2.5

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Tags: Environment

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Global Warming Graphs | Pacebutler Blog // Apr 16, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    […] in the US and throughout the world, over the last 100 years. As we explained in our post “What Is Global Warming?,” the earth undergoes constant warming to make it habitable, by having natural […]

  • 2 Sharon // Apr 24, 2009 at 8:45 am

    This is a great post for everyone. I think that everyone should know what happens to the Planet Earth. I read a lot about Global Warming of the earth but I got good information.