Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Global Warming: Fact or Fiction

Although, environmentalists the world over are afraid that the hazards of global warming will sweep away life on planet Earth sometime in near future, global warming skeptics still refuse to budge. The whole concept of global warmingrevolves around the fact that the Earth is getting warmer, and a significant part of this rise in temperature can be attributed to anthropogenic causes, i.e. man made causes. Time and again global warming skeptics have come up with arguments against global warming. According to them, the predictions made by various environmentalists and scientists are based on climatic models, which are actually computer generated programs, difficult to rely upon. Before we move on to see whether global warming is fact or fiction, let's have a brief look at the anthropogenic as well as the natural causes of global warming.

You may also prefer to go through:Man Made Vs Natural Causes of Global Warming
Whenever the subject 'global warming is fact or fiction' comes to the table, the blame game between human induced causes and natural causes of global warming are at their peak. Although the scientists from all over the world agree that global warming is happening, there is no consensus on the fact that the majority of the causes of global warming today are anthropogenic. Natural causes of global warming do exist, but they have always been there. In fact, they are necessary to maintain the ideal balance in the climate of the Earth. They trap the sunlight and help in keeping the planet warm enough for humans to thrive. Without these natural factors causing global warming, Earth would have been much more colder, perhaps not even suitable for human inhabitation. The major problem the planet is facing today is human induced global warming. Over the last few decades, i.e. since the industrial revolution to be precise, the use of fossil fuels for power generation has been on a tremendous rise. Burning of these fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, which remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and trap sunlight to cause global warming. Other anthropogenic activities which lead to global warming include deforestation, mining, use of vehicles etc. Read more on global warming causes and effects.

Is Global Warming Fact or Fiction?
Not everyone is ready to believe that global warming is actually happening. In fact, the world is divided into two groups - people who understand the hazards of global warming and people who feel that the whole issue of global warming is a hoax. Both are armed with substantial amount of claims and arguments to support their stand and oppose the stand of others. The biggest global warming fiction is perhaps that human induced global warming has a negligible share in increasing global temperatures and climate change. The truth is that the amount of carbon dioxide generated by human actions is too much to term it 'insignificant' or 'negligible' as the global warming skeptics do. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, have formed a layer in the atmosphere. As the sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, it is trapped by these gases and due to this trapping of sunlight, global temperatures are rising. The expected temperature rise is predicted to be somewhere between 1.4 degree Celsius to 5.8 degree Celsius by the end of this century. This is a significant increase considering that a fall of 5 degree Celsius triggered an ice age on this planet some centuries ago. A rise by 5 degrees is bound to trigger some calamities on the planet by causing a drastic climate change that will wipe off several plant and animal species from the planet.

Global Warming Facts
From rising sea level to increasing frequency of hurricanes - the evidence of global warming exist in plenty. Surprisingly though, we are trying our best to turn a blind eye towards the fact that Earth is getting warmer, and this warming is threatening our basic existence. The evidence mentioned below are perhaps the best possible examples to claim that global warming is happening and it's going to affect us sooner or later.

Climate Change Due to Global Warming
The increasing number of hurricanes is perhaps the biggest evidence of climate change induced by global warming. More importantly, a look at the data of the last 10 years shows that summers have been warmer and winters colder than usual. In fact, 11 of the last 13 years feature in top 25 warmest years on the planet. These variations in global temperatures are also causing droughts, floods, heat waves, cold waves and changes in the precipitation patterns around the world. The rise in global temperatures also mean that certain disease carrying insects, which thrive in warm climates, will spread to newer regions on the warm planet, thus propagating the spread of the diseases they carry.

Extinctions Triggered by Global Warming
The list of extinct animals in the last 100 years include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects as well. A large number of this extinct animals were wiped off the planet due to sudden change in temperature levels and loss of habitat due to climate change. One such example is the Monteverde toad, endemic to the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica. It became extinct in 1989 as a result of unusually warm climate, wherein sudden evaporation of water bodies killed all the tadpoles before they matured. Another example of an animal fighting for its basic survival against the odds of global warming is the polar bear. Melting ice caps is resulting is loss of habitat for these bears, forcing them to migrate further north towards the pole. Read more on global warming effects on animals.

Global Warming Effects on Humans
The hazards of global warming haven't yet started to affect us directly, but the indirect effects of global warming have already started to surface. Basically, all the things on the planet are related to each other, and therefore the global warming effects on Earth are also interrelated. We humans are most dependent on nature, which we have been exploiting continuously over the years, so any alterations in nature are bound to impact us either way. Crop failure induced by climate change will leave us without food. Extinction of tigers will increase the number of herbivores, which will feed on the vegetation cover, and loss of vegetation cover in turn will impact the rains as well as the ground water source. Global warming induced sea level rise and melting glaciers are bound to disrupt the fresh water supply, thus leaving us with no water to drink. Rise in sea levels will also submerge coastal areas and tiny islands. More importantly, most of the prominent cities in the world are located in the coastal areas. Submerging of coastal areas of Bangladesh, Maldives islands sinking, flash floods in the Himalayas etc are just some examples of how global warming is affecting the various regions of the world. Such evidence is more than enough to prove that global warming is fact, and not fiction.

You should also go through some methods to tackle the menace of global warming:These global warming facts can help you in realizing how serious the issue is. As the global warming skeptics rightly point out, it is difficult to rely on climatic models to predict what the future has in store for us. Even though we are armed with some of the most sophisticated machinery, it is difficult for us to predict tomorrows weather, so how can we predict what would be happening 10 or 100 years down the lane. That, however, doesn't mean that we don't take any precautionary measures to save planet Earth. We can't just pray that the global warming myth never comes true, nor can we take some stance like we will act only when its starts affecting us. While the bigger nations are trying to figure out whether global warming is fact or fiction, small island nations have already started to bear the brunt of global warming. If some global warming solutions are not implemented soon, next would be the turn of bigger nations. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to occur at the current rate, then doomsday will be just round the corner, by the end of this century. Global warming has been occurring since the Earth was formed, but lately the rate at which this is taking place has been alarming enough to raise some concerns. Over the last decade environmentalists have been coming up with facts about global warming, while skeptics have been refuting them as mere myths. These global warming myths and facts will continue to trigger heated debates for some time to come, we can just hope that these debates or arguments don't continue even when the calamity itself knocks on our door.