By Nora Doyle and Liv Miller
Global warming, by definition, is the unusual rapid increase in the earth’s average surface temperature over the past century. There are many different views and opinions regarding climate change and how much of an impact it has, or will cause, on the earth. Whether we choose to believe it or not, global warming is a huge issue affecting our earth and it’s only getting worse, and needs to be resolved.
To break it down, there are certain gasses in the atmosphere called greenhouse gasses. According to Biologicaldiversity.com, those gasses allow shortwave radiation from the sun to pass through the atmosphere and warm the Earth’s surface. The energy that then radiates from the surface is called “long wave radiation”. That radiation is trapped in by the greenhouse gasses and then warms the land, oceans, and air. This whole process is called “the greenhouse effect”. The greenhouse effect is not bad in itself, it actually is what keeps our earth warm, and we wouldn’t be able to survive without it. It’s when coal, oil, and natural gasses are burned at such a high rate that start to create a problem because they are sending enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that can’t be absorbed quickly enough. This is what is causing global warming.
Scientists have said that global warming most likely started around the late 1800s, but recently, they have been led to believe that it could have started even before that, around the early 1800s.
As far as to when it was discovered, there were many people who had findings of global warming, but their ideas weren’t fully processed so it never was made public. There were many events that led up to how global warming was made an issue. There was never a breakthrough to some long awaited mystery as to why the earth was getting warmer, as much as multiple scientists, mathematicians, etc. were piecing together findings over the years. But according to Theguardian.com, there was a Swedish chemist by the name Svante Arrhenius who “became the first to quantify carbon dioxide’s role in keeping the planet warm. He later concluded that burning of coal could cause a “noticeable increase” in carbon levels over centuries.” So, if you are searching for a founder there’s your guy.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the August 2020 average global land and ocean surface temperature was +0.94 degrees celsius (1.69 degrees F) above the 20th century average of 12.7 degrees C (54.9 degrees F). This year’s temperature increase is the second highest temperature since global records began in 1880. Only August 2016 was warmer with an average temperature of +0.98 degrees C (1.76 degrees F). Since 1880, the global temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees C or 1.4 degrees F.
Why should we be concerned about a 1 degree increase in global temperature? Well, according to ‘The World Counts,’ “global temperature primarily depends on the amount of energy it receives from the sun and how much of it is radiated back into space.” The numbers should barely, if even at all, change, unless there is another factor “affecting the change in temperature. The amount of energy that the planet radiates back into space is dependent upon the chemical composition of our atmosphere – like greenhouse gases.”
So if this is such a disaster, what are we doing about it now? Short answer; clearly not enough. Although, according to ‘National Geographic,’ countries around the world did acknowledge that they needed to do something about climate change back in 2015 with the Paris Agreement. This agreement was to make pledges to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Scientists are also currently “working on ways to sustainably produce hydrogen, most of which is currently derived from natural gas, to feed zero-emission fuel cells for transportation and electricity. Other efforts are aimed at building better batteries to store renewable energy.”
People are switching to solar powered energy as well. There are many organizations that are trying their best to raise awareness and collect donations to stop climate change. If more people believed in it and participated, we could maybe start to see some real change.
Another topic of discussion is about what happens if we do something about climate change and why we should. We should take action against climate change because it affects our oceans, our weather, our food sources, and our health. Sheets of ice like in Greenland and
Antarctica are melting. The new water from melted glaciers causes sea levels to rise and spill out of the oceans causing floods. Warmer temperatures cause extreme weather. This extreme
weather includes droughts that make it harder to grow crops. Water supplies are limited for plants and animals. If we don’t do anything about it, all of these things will get much worse,
putting all lives on earth at danger.