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Humans and Global Warming

Essay by   •  April 22, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,104 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,501 Views

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I. Introduction:

To understand how humans cause global warming, it is important that you are aware of the link between your daily activities and the greenhouse effect. Once you understand this, it is easy to see that you have the power to help stop global warming. The primary way humans cause global warming is by burning fossil fuels, which increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to an increase in the Greenhouse Effect (Ziggy, 2009). The term global warming refers to the recent sharp rise in global temperatures and the explanation of its most commonly given, is due to the activities of humans, that which I have already explained in the previous paragraph. Worldwide action to reduce fossil fuel use should be taken immediately since it is one of the causes of global warming.

According to (Fowler, 2012), the concern with global warming arose because of temperature measurements made over recent decades that suggest a relatively rapid rate of warming. The two directions of which global warming took were: looking back at past climate trends, primarily temperature, and looking forward to possible changes in the future. Past temperature trends are reconstructed from proxy data until the late nineteenth century, when there were reliable instrument-based temperature measurements which began to be recorded. Steps are being taken to look toward the future by using computer-based climate simulation models, known as "General Circulation Models," GCMs, which are preferentially employed to project the effect of various types and degrees of climate change, based on recent trends and assumptions about climate related matters (Fowler, 2012). Humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels. This is how humans contribute to global warming. The use of jet fuel in plane travel also adds a great deal to your carbon footprint. The transportation option that uses the least energy per passenger per mile is clearly the bicycle. Passenger trains, electric vehicles, and ships sit somewhere in the middle as far as one's that use the most energy. The more energy used, the more greenhouse gases are emitted, the more humans cause global warming (Ziggy, 2009).

When You Eat Meat and Exotic Foods

Eating food that is shipped long distances adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Consider the fact that the average food item you eat travels over 1000 miles from farm to fork. Eating beef and drinking milk also adds to greenhouse gases, since cows emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse even more potent than carbon. One of the best ways to cut your greenhouse gas emission is by going vegetarian. The meat industry is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases (Ziggy 2009). According to (Turk & Bensel 2011), severe droughts in China and Russia, floods in Australia, and a deep freeze in Mexico reduced global crop yields in 2010 and caused food prices to increase across the world. The global price of wheat increased between July 2010 and January 2011 by 66.8%, from $190 per metric ton to $327 per metric ton, this was when the Global Food Price Index reached its highest level ever. In addition to the rise of food prices, many scientists argue that global warming is causing extreme weather events that often lead to crop failures (Turk & Bensel 2011 pg 60 para 1)

When You Move Into a New Development

If you decide to move into a new suburban development near the edge of town, you're increasing the profits developers get from cutting down trees and paving over farm land. When farms and forest disappear, the land loses the ability to absorb carbon, and emissions from other activities have even greater effects (Ziggy 2009).

Signs of Global Warming Caused by Human Activities:

According to computer models of climate change, the average temperature of the earth's surface should have increased by approximately 1degree C in the last 100 years, in response to the increased concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to (Dr Balinas 1995); a temperature rise of approximately one-half degree has been observed, but most of that rise occurred before 1940 while most of the greenhouse gases produced by human activities entered the atmosphere after1940. This amount of global warming is considerably less than had been predicted to result from human activities (Balinas, 1995). In the last decade, many of the glaciers that drain Greenland and Antarctica have increased their discharge into the oceans from 20% to 100%. Increasing rates of ice melt should mean an increasing rate of sea level rise. Over most of the twentieth century, sea levels rose about 2 millimeters per year, also, since 1990, the rate has been about 3 millimeters per year. So most important is not just that the Earth's temperature is rising and ice is melting, but that the rate of this change is accelerating and this also means that our future climate may not be a steady gradual change, but an abrupt and devastating global shock (Fowler, 2012).

Tipping Points

Fowler also tells us; our climate is highly complex and nonlinear, this means that a small change in one of its parameters could trigger a large change through various feedback systems. The only worrying that we have is that global warming is occurring but that it is accelerating. This has caused many climatologists to warn that we may come to tipping point when we are faced with an abrupt and devastating change in our climate system, one so violent and sudden that we will not recover from it. There have been sudden cold spells in the past and also today. The most recent one occurred around 5,200 years ago and left its mark in many pale climate records around the world (Fowler, 2012). In 2009 an interesting article appeared in Scientific American titled "Did Climate Change Doom the Neanderthals?" There were two theories behind this story one which holds that Neanderthals were an archaic variant of our own species that evolved into, or was assimilated by, the anatomically modern European population. But another theory proposes that Neanderthals were a separate species, which the

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