Global warming - behind the headlines
So what is global warming?
The issue of global warming, and climate change in general, is not a simple one. We are bombarded with headlines which often seem baffling and incompatible. These views are frequently backed up by science and scientists. So, how can experts think so differently about one subject?
The thing to realise is that these are just opinions about potential scenarios and that nothing is certain. One thing is generally agreed upon, however: The world is getting warmer. The question is how much of this is due to nature and how much is due to man's influence.
Climate change & the greenhouse effect
Weather conditions – in any given place – will vary from day to day and year to year but will generally stay in certain parameters over a long period of time. These parameters we call 'climate'. When we think about the issue of climate change, we frequently refer to the term 'the greenhouse effect'. Though it would be easy to think so, the greenhouse effect is actually a good thing for us, the problem may be, however, that we are changing the elements of the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect occurs when atmospheric gases around the earth (greenhouse gases) allow us to receive more heat from the sun than is lost back into space. This makes the surface of the earth 30 – 35C warmer than it would otherwise be, therefore making it habitable for us. The issue is that levels of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect are changing.
Causes of global warming
Consensus has it that carbon dioxide contributes most to the changes in greenhouse gases, with production of carbon dioxide (CO2) increasing significantly since the industrial revolution. Other greenhouse gases include Nitrous Oxide, Methane, manmade CFCs and Ozone, the problem being that these gases can remain in the atmosphere for decades. Through the use of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) by heavy industry, and through usages such as human transport, etc emissions of all of these gases has increased.
Evidence of global warming
Since records began, 8 out of ten of the hottest years have been in the last decade. This has led to ice caps melting and decreasing snow cover. There have been hotter time millions of years ago, but this is the most rapid rise in temperatures since the end of the last ice age.
Many organisations have used climate modelling to try to predict the consequences of global warmings and the impact on our planet. Some predictions suggest that global temperature will rise by 3 degrees C over 100 years, and that sea levels will continue to rise. The implications are enormous.
Or assess the causes and consequences of climate change and global warming for yourself with the news and facts below.
Wind gets stronger
International wind markets set to continue growth.
Source: The Engineer
Date Published: May 15, 2007
Melting ice caps affect climate change
The magnitude of global warming will depend largely on the result of ocean circulation, according to Spanish researchers.
Date Published: May 08, 2007
UK elderly have highest carbon footprint
Over-50s want strong Government leadership on global warming.
Date Published: February 19, 2007