What Exactly is Global Warming?
Global warming is defined as a slow increase in the earth’s temperature, as well as the temperature of oceans. This is fundamentally due to the emission of greenhouse gases found in fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. These fossil fuels emit potentially harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that are known for trapping heat, preventing it from escaping the earth’s surface. The entrapment of this heat resulting from the process ends up contributing to a steady increase in temperatures across the globe as time goes on. Now, these natural gases are actually essential when it comes to providing us with sustainable temperatures to live in. However, due to such a large increase in our use of these fossil fuels, we are causing the temperature to increase at an alarming rate, much higher than what we need to live sustainable lives here on earth.
With the United States alone relying on these fossil fuels for over 80% of their energy, it is no surprise that our earth’s atmosphere and our oceans are experiencing a huge increase in average temperatures. According to NASA, February of 2016 was shown to be the first month in history for the average temperature to rise above 1.5° C. That means that this was the first time in 4.543 billion years that the earth has seen such a prominent rise in average temperatures. It is important to note that more than half of this increase has happened in the past 25 years alone, showing just how quickly global warming is having a direct impact on our environment. Researchers are now estimating that these temperature increases will rise even more by 2100, potentially increasing the overall temperature by up to 5.8°c. These statistics show that global warming is not only a reality, but also happening at a faster pace than most of us initially presumed.
What Do These Statistics Mean for the Future?
Assuming that humans go about their routine lives without taking any preventable steps, global warming has the potential to impact us in more than one negative way. One of these scenarios surround how climate change will impact our oceans. When the temperature of the sea increases, it ends up expanding. The ocean is known to absorb the heat caused by these greenhouse gases, therefore expanding as a result. Sea expansion is also a consequence of melted polar caps and other iced surfaces, causing a significant rise in sea levels. These sea levels do not only create the potential for massive hurricane floods, hail storms, tornadoes or severe weather warnings and alerts, but they also contribute to deforestation due to having the ability to engulf any vegetation that is surrounding the earth’s surface.
The expansion of our seas is just one of many dangerous consequences associated with global warming. If we continue to emit the same amount of greenhouse gases, we can expect a large increase in both the number of storms we face, as well as their levels of severity. It has been shown recently that the precipitation related to severe storms across the globe have increased up to 20%. This is cause for concern when it comes to the risk of international flooding at a drastic level. With flooding having the potential to become an even more prominent issue across the world, we can expect a huge decrease in the amount of vegetation that we have access to due to the deforestation swept up by the floods.
What Can We Do to Prevent These Outcomes?
Carbon dioxide is a main contributor to global warming when it is burned, and this occurs substantially as a result of forest fires and cutting down trees. By planting more trees in your area, you will be able to counteract some of these dangerous greenhouse emissions due to providing the atmosphere with more levels of healthy carbon dioxide that aren’t burning or entrapping heat. Trees aren’t the only form of vegetation that can help counteract the consequences of global warming, though. Growing almost any type of plant will increase carbon dioxide in the surrounding areas, contributing to the levels of positive CO2 in the area.
Aside from planting your own vegetation, general conservation is also a good start when it comes to decreasing the effects of global warming. Conserving water and energy both help the earth’s surface and oceans by keeping our environment healthy. Conserving water is important in order to ensure that our plants and trees have enough water to properly thrive, and conserving energy is essential in decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases we are burning and emitting into the atmosphere.
Global warming statistics in 2016 may be intimidating, but it is an important reality to face when it comes to learning about how our daily activities are severely impacting the world around us. By educating ourselves on the repercussions of our society emitting harmful toxins, we can take the necessary steps to conserve resources and to take other necessary preventative measures along the way.