Facts About Global Warming
By guest writer, Sarah B
If you need some fast facts about global warming, then you have come to the right place.
The amount of information associated with global warming is staggering and can sometimes be very overwhelming. Here, we will try to break down some of the facts about global warming so that you can get a handle on this phenomenon.
Yes, the earth is getting warmer. On average, the planet has warmed about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. This is according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Of even greater concern is the rate at which the warming is increasing. In fact, the average global temperature in 2010 and 2005 is highest on a 131-year record. In addition, eleven of the past twelve years are among the warmest since the mid 1800s. Check out other global warming statistics.
While global warming is affecting the entire globe, it is being felt in some areas more than others.
For example, in the year part of this decade, the Arctic has seen temperatures climb at twice the global average. This fact about global warming comes from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report. As a result of the warming planet, it is estimated that the region may have a completely ice free summer by 2040. Animals living in the artic are also affected by the increase in temperatures in the region. For example, polar bears and penguins are rapidly losing their hunting grounds and nesting areas due to the shrinking ice.
Facts about global warming show that even the seemingly cool ocean is not immune to warmer temperatures. Coral reefs which are sensitive to even the smallest temperature variations are now beginning to die off because of temperature stress. Coral reef bleaching in some areas is occurring at rates as high as 70%. As coral reefs die off, marine life that depend on them for shelter and food are also affected. Read more about the effects of global warming.
The main contributors of global warming include deforestation, industrialization, and pollution. All of these human activities have led to increased concentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and other green house gasses in the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, we have released so much of these gases into the air that they will stay in the atmosphere for years to come. We are now producing carbon dioxide at a much faster rate than the plants and water bodies on this planet can absorb (read about the carbon cycle). In fact, Peter Demenocal (Associate Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia) said in the movie, the 11th Hour, that “even if we were to cap carbon dioxide emissions to the level they are now, the Earth should still warm by an additional half a degree centigrade.”
In all, there are thousands of scientists who believe that the rapid rate of global warming today is a direct result of man’s actions. A report sent to 2,500 scientists in more than 130 countries all cited man as the culprit. Of course, global warming studies show that there are some natural causes of global warming, like sun spots and volcanoes, but it does appear that man has made the great contributions to the problem.
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