Global Warming: The Importance Of Climate Change

1996 Words 8 Pages
If global warming were a bush, the people and politicians of the world have been beating around it for more than a century. While aware that the earth is slowly heating up, already by .8°C since 1880 when scientists began keeping reliable record, little has been done to control it. But is this scale of temperature control even within human capabilities? Some claim that climate change is merely Earth 's natural agenda and that humans couldn 't control it if we wanted, while others believe it is a direct result of human activity. Whatever the case may be, Earth is warming at a substantial rate and humans must decide if action should be taken, or if Earth 's climate should be left alone to run its course. For the past few …show more content…
Interglacial periods, as these warm breaks are referred to, have lasted between 15,000 and 20,000 years in past occurrences, while glacial periods last approximately 100,000. Since the end of the most recent glacial period 18,000 years ago, Earth’s average temperature has risen approximately 8.8°C or 16°F (Geocraft). Sea levels have also risen some 300 feet as the once massive glacial ice sheets slowly melt away (Illinois state museum). This gradual heating has been going on long before humans started burning fossil fuels, and is the reason why ice bridges like the Berring Straight melted away almost 8000 years ago. While many scientists are frightened by the brief of amount of time it has taken for the temperature to climb .8°C over the past 130 years, climate history maintains that regardless of what we humans do, the Earth is due for another glacial period very soon. Maybe this current, “dangerous” global warming trend should be enjoyed while it lasts. Climate on Earth is a system that is in what is known as a feedback loop. There are positive feedback loops, and negative feedback loops. Positive feedback loops are systems in which when force “A” is applied to factor “B”, the positive effect that force “A” has upon factor …show more content…
Carbon dioxide, CO2 for short, is a gas that makes up approximately 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere today, or 400 parts per million (ppm)(co2now.org). It is imperative for life on earth and is continually recycled through the carbon cycle, made up of parties that use and absorb CO2, like the ocean and plant life, and parties that produce CO2, such as volcanoes and humans. The greenhouse effect is partially attributed to carbon dioxide, along with methane and water vapor, which are all gasses that absorb and emit thermal energy. Heat from the Sun and Earth are trapped by these gasses which in turn raise Earth’s surface temperature. Consequently, CO2 is released when fossil fuels, ancient carbon-based life, are burned, and it just so happens that humans burn these fossil fuels all the time. In 2013 alone we coughed up thirty-six gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For the last 650,000 years prior to the industrial revolution, the parts per million of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere never exceeded 280(acs.org). The CO2 contributors and consumers naturally balanced each other well, absorbing more carbon dioxide than was being emitted every year. Through study of ice core samples, climate has been observed changing while atmospheric CO2 levels have remained basically the same. What has never

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