Humans have been around for a very short time compared to the vast history of our planet. In that time, we’ve changed the face of our home planet in many ways, some for the better and some for the worse.
Some of these changes have been positive and others have been negative, but almost all of them have occurred as a result of human actions. One of the impacts we’ve had on our planet that has been mostly negative is global warming.
While it has become a common term that’s been thrown about, not many people know what it entails. So, what is global warming?
Global Warming Explained
Global warming is the phenomenon of rising temperatures around the planet. Though it may seem like a small change to you, the fact is that the planet has warmed at an alarming rate over the last century.
The earth’s climate is controlled by four basic factors: The sun, moon, other planets, and the weather.
With respect to the sun, there are two main factors that determine our climate: The amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth and the amount of cloud cover that reflects or absorbs this radiation. Solar radiation is what brings us heat and serves to warm us up when it reaches the earth’s surface.
Cloud cover plays a major role in how much radiation is either reflected back into space or absorbed by the earth’s surface. When cloud cover is high, very little radiation is reflected, so the planet does not feel as warm as it does when cloud cover is low.
How Does Global Warming Occur?
We’ve all probably heard about the greenhouse effect before, but what does it mean, and how does it work?
The greenhouse effect is the name given to the fact that certain gases in the atmosphere help trap heat and keep our planet warm. When we burn fossil fuels like oil and coal, we emit gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These gases then stick around in the atmosphere for thousands of years and keep the planet warm.
The greenhouse effect occurs because gases in the atmosphere block certain wavelengths of light and keep the Earth’s surface warmer than it would be if there were no atmosphere.
Why is Global Warming a Problem?
Global warming is problematic because it has led to a variety of negative effects on the planet. We have many concerns with global warming because it leads to more extreme weather events like droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes. These events can have disastrous results, especially when they affect large populations of people.
Extreme weather events have also led to increased human mortality due to increased flooding, wildfires, and other disasters. Increased droughts have led to food shortages and increased famine around the world.
These weather events are expected to become more extreme as the planet warms. Studies have shown that as temperatures increase, the frequency of extreme weather events like droughts and tropical storms increases as well.
In addition to the negative effects on the planet itself, global warming has led to serious problems for human society as well. Rising temperatures have led to an increase in forest fires in many parts of the world. This has led to devastating consequences in terms of lost lives and property damage.
To Sum It Up
As you can see, when human activities produce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, they trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming. This makes global warming a key indicator of the harmful effects of human actions on our home planet, and it’s happening at an alarming rate.
That said, the consequences will most likely worsen unless humanity takes a u-turn and takes the right steps to curb global warming.