File Name: causes of climate change and global warming .zip
- What is global warming, explained
- Climate Change Battle: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
- Global Warming / Climate Change Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect" 1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as "forcing" climate change.
What is global warming? What causes global warming? What is climate change? Is it different from global warming? What is a climate change impact?
What is global warming, explained
What is global warming? What causes global warming? What is climate change? Is it different from global warming? What is a climate change impact? What does global warming have to do with severe weather, like storms, heat waves, droughts, and hurricanes? If global warming is real, why is it so cold and snowy this winter? The difference between climate and weather.
What does global warming have to do with rising sea levels? What is ocean acidification? What does production of meat and dairy products have to do with climate change? What does climate change have to do with health? How does climate change affect the food supply?
What is a carbon footprint, and how can I reduce my carbon footprint? What are renewable sources of energy? What is energy efficiency? What is climate change adaptation? What is climate change mitigation? What is climate change resilience?
What is the United States doing to address climate change? What are corporations doing to combat climate change? What is the United Nations doing to combat climate change? What is climate finance? Is there hope that we will be able to address climate change before it is too late? Other recommended climate change FAQs elsewhere on the web. Global warming refers to the increase in average global temperature since the Industrial Revolution.
The average global temperature has increased by about one degree Celsius 1. Global warming is an ongoing process ; scientists expect the average global temperature to rise an additional 0.
Land and ocean temperature index from to , using as the base period. Without greenhouse gases , the average temperature on Earth would be zero degrees Fahrenheit, instead of today's roughly Human activities , notably the burning of fossil fuels i.
Other activities , including deforestation cutting down trees and raising livestock, also emit greenhouse gases. Higher concentrations of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap more heat on Earth, causing an anthropogenic i. Climate scientists agree that human activity is the main driver behind the global warming we are experiencing.
The terms climate change and global warming are often used interchangeably, but climate change broadly refers to persistent changes in average weather e. The climate change we are currently experiencing, however, is caused by human activity see question 2. The rise in average global temperatures because of human activities has many impacts on the planet, including more intense and frequent droughts and storms, melting glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, warming 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 ruin crops and cause serious water shortages. Rising sea levels are threatening low-lying islands and coastal cities. Tropical and insect-borne diseases are spreading as their hosts move into new habitats that were previously too cold for them to survive. Climate change represents 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 warmer climate.
A rise in global temperatures increases the severity and likelihood of storms, floods, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves. In a warmer climate, the atmosphere can collect, retain, and drop more water, leading to changing precipitation patterns. Increased precipitation can help support agriculture, but precipitation is increasingly coming in the form of more intense single-day storms, which damage property, infrastructure, and lead to loss of life in impacted areas.
Over the past few decades, the United States has experienced more heat waves and fewer cold waves. Since the s, the length of the heat wave season has increased in many cities by more than 40 days.
Today, major U. Warmer sea surface temperatures make it easier for hurricanes to form. Because of human-caused global warming, it is expected that the rainfall rates from hurricanes will increase, the intensity of hurricanes will increase, and the proportion of storms that reach a Category 4 or 5 level will increase. It is difficult for researchers to attribute a specific weather event to global warming.
Nevertheless, climate scientists are confident that higher average global temperatures are making extreme weather more likely and severe. The United States is seeing a clear increase in the number of destructive weather and climate disasters combined with increased development in coastal and river floodplains i. The table below from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA shows the number and impact of billion-dollar disasters by decade from Inflation-adjusted cost of droughts, flooding, freezes, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfires, and winter storms.
The key to understanding the answer to this question is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is what is happening outside today, while climate is an area's typical weather.
It might be raining in Los Angeles today, but typically the city's climate is dry. As the average global 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 atmospheric circulation associated with weather patterns.
For snow to occur, moisture and freezing air temperatures must be present. Both these conditions are still likely in the winter, especially in areas that experience temperatures well below freezing so even if you increase the average temperature of 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 result in more intense winter storms.
For example, because the increase in sea surface temperature feeds more intense storms, it is likely that places like the Northeast United States will see more intense winter storms although they may be more infrequent. Scientists expect, on average, winters to become shorter as global temperatures continue to rise, which is likely to result in fewer snowy days overall. The blue line shows sea level as measured by tide gauges ; the orange line shows sea level as measured by satellites Source: U.
Global warming contributes to rising sea levels in two main ways. First, warmer temperatures cause glaciers and land-based ice sheets to rapidly melt, which moves water from land to the ocean. Areas experiencing significant ice melt include Greenland, the Antarctic, and mountain glaciers around the world. Second, thermal expansion , the process by which warmer water takes up more space, is causing the ocean to increase in volume, which leads to rising sea levels.
Other factors affect sea levels, and the combination of all these factors leads to different rates of sea level rise across the planet. Local factors that can cause the sea level to rise faster in certain areas include ocean currents and sinking ground surfaces known as subsidence. Since , global average sea level has increased by eight and nine inches.
Under a low-emissions scenario, models project that sea level rise will increase about one foot above levels by the end of the century. Under a high-emissions scenario, sea level could rise more than eight feet above levels by In either case, this would increase the risk of coastal flooding and endanger millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
The ocean is a central component of the carbon cycle. Carbon constantly cycles between the ocean, land, and atmosphere this is called the carbon flux. Sea water absorbs 25 to 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. As humans introduce more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere see question 2 , the ocean is absorbing a greater volume of carbon dioxide. This changes the ocean's chemical composition and is referred to as ocean acidification.
The pH value of the ocean has decreased by 0. This change is enough to affect many marine organisms. For example, acidification stunts shellfish shell formation and can even cause shells to dissolve. Source: EPA. Livestock contribute to climate change both directly, through their digestive processes, and indirectly, because of the vegetation that is cleared to make room for animal agriculture. Agriculture as a whole is responsible for 10 percent of U.
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, burning to clear land, and soil and crop residue management.
Livestock, especially cattle, produce methane through their digestion. Livestock manure also emits methane. Taken together, livestock and manure emissions are responsible for 38 percent of total U. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has 25 times the heat trapping impact of carbon dioxide over a year time period. Forests have often been cut down or burned to obtain land for livestock production, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and destroys a natural carbon absorber.
Economic development and population growth are leading to greater meat and dairy consumption worldwide, making livestock a rising contributor to climate change. There are ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations, including capturing methane from manure and changing animal feeding practices. Rising global temperatures exacerbate heat-related diseases , such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, and kidney diseases.
Extreme heat kills about people in the United State every year.
Climate Change Battle: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Some of the incoming sunlight is reflected directly back into space, especially by bright surfaces such as ice and clouds, and the rest is absorbed by the surface and the atmosphere. Much of this absorbed solar energy is re-emitted as heat longwave or infrared radiation. The atmosphere in turn absorbs and re-radiates heat, some of which escapes to space. Any disturbance to this balance of incoming and outgoing energy will affect the climate. For example, small changes in the output of energy from the Sun will affect this balance directly.
The greenhouse effect is the name given to the natural process that causes the Earth to be warmer than it would be in the absence of an atmosphere. Water vapour is the largest contributor, responsible for 98 per cent of the natural greenhouse effect. Global warming is attributed to the enhanced greenhouse effect. This is caused by the increased concentration and effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons. When fossil fuels are burned in power stations, vehicles, industry or homes, greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Climate change poses significant risks for a wide range of human and natural systems. Although the scientific process is always open to new ideas and results, the fundamental causes and consequences of climate change have been established by many years of scientific research, 1 are supported by many different lines of evidence, and have stood firm in the face of careful examination, repeated testing, and the rigorous evaluation of alternative theories and explanations. This chapter provides a brief overview of some basic facts about the risks posed by climate change see Box 2.
Global Warming / Climate Change Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Global climate change has typically occurred very slowly over thousands or millions of years. However, research shows that the current climate is changing more rapidly than shown in geological records. During the last ice age, the British Isles had many glaciers like the example above, located in present-day Iceland. The energy output of the Sun is not constant, it varies over time and this has an impact on our climate.
Climate change is real, and the evidence is all around us. If you want to know what climate change really is and why it matters, then keep reading to learn more about its causes, effects, and practical solutions to stopping it. You have probably heard the terms climate change and global warming used interchangeably.
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