Definition Of Global Warming
The generic definition of global warming is the increase in the earth’s surface temperature. The earth’s surface includes the atmosphere, the land and the water bodies. While it is recognized that different regions on the global can have different climatic temperatures at a single point in time, the definition for global warming refers to the average surface temperature of this planet.
Of course, there are also other variations to the definition of global warming.
There are some definitions of global warming that specify the mechanism by which global warming takes place – through the green house effect. The greenhouse effect involves the green house gasses in the atmosphere trapping infrared and thermal radiation near the surface of the Earth making it gradually warmer. These gases may come from both natural and manmade sources. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide and comes from the burning of fossil fuels and wood. Other greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous, oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.
Because of the current concern about the impact of man’s activities on the environment, one of the other most widely used definitions by the layman on the streets today is that global warming is the warming of the earth’s surface caused by human activity. This definition of global warming often has a negative connotation on human activities – human activities have negative impact on our environment.
Of course, there is some controversy currently about the causes of the earth’s warming at this moment. It is argued by some that there is uncertainty about whether the earth’s warming is a natural phenomenon – caused mainly by natural causes of global warming like changes in solar activity or natural fluctuations in global climatic conditions, or whether the earth’s warming is man-created – an outcome of our responsible ways of life on this planet.
There are some global warming definition that specify global warming as the cause of changes in global climatic conditions. Events like melting glaciers, rising sea levels, more frequent and more intensified El Nino events have been associated with global warming.
Most definitions for global warming do not point out that the global warming does not take place with drastic changes in average global temperatures. The average global temperature should not be confused with our daily weather temperatures which fluctuate on a larger margin.
Daily temperatures in a particular area could range from 20 to 30 degree Celsius in a day, or more, whereas the average global temperature fluctuates on a much smaller margin. Research shows that the average global surface temperature has increased by about 0.5° to 0.7°C since the late 19th century. While this increase seems minor, especially when compared to our daily weather temperature fluctuations, it is actually substantial. It took only a few degrees to shift our planet out of the last ice age, and should our average global temperature increase by another 5 degrees celcus, Earth would be warmer than it has been for tens of millions of years.
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