- The Earth was formed about 4,540,000,000 years ago.
- In the beginning, the Earth's atmosphere contained very little oxygen (less than 1% oxygen pressure).
- Early plants started to develop more than 2 billion years ago, probably about 2,700,000,000.
- Through photosynthesis, plants uptake carbon dioxide into the biosphere as organic matter, and release oxygen as a byproduct.
- Through geologic time, oxygen accumulated gradually in the atmosphere, reaching a value of about 21% of atmospheric gases at the present time.
- Through geologic time, surplus organic matter has been sequestered in the lithosphere as fossil organic materials (coal, petroleum, and natural gas).
- Early animals (the first organisms with external shells) started to develop around 600,000,000years ago.
- Animals operate in the opposite way than plants: they take up oxygen, burn organic matter (food), and release carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
- Early humans (Australopithecus anamensis) began to develop about 4,100,000 years ago.
- Cool climatic conditions have prevailed during the past 1,000,000 years. The species Homo sapiens evolved under these climatic conditions.
- Homo sapiens dates back to more than 400,000 years.
- Estimates for the variety Homo sapiens sapiens, to which all humans belong, range from 130,000 to 195,000 years old.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was as low as 190 ppm during the last Ice Age, about 21,000 years ago.
- The last Ice Age began to recede about 20,000 years ago.
- The agricultural revolution, where humans converted forests and rangelands into farms, began to develop about 10,000 years ago.
- The agricultural revolution caused a reduction in standing biomass in the biosphere and reduced the uptake of carbon dioxide in midlatitudinal regions, indirectly contributing, however so slightly, to global warming.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased gradually from a low of 190 ppm 21,000 year ago, to about 290 ppm in the year 1900, i.e., at an average rate of 0.00478 ppm per year.
- The industrial revolution, where humans developed machines (artificial animals, since they consume fuels, which are mostly organic matter), began in England about 240 years ago (1767).
- In October 1999, the world's population reached 6,000,000,000, which is double that of the year 1959 (the doubling occurred in 40 years).
- The world's population is currently increasing at the rate of about 80,000,000 per year (about 1.2 %).
- The current world population is 6,878,656,906 (November 1, 2010).
- The global fleet of motor vehicles is estimated at 850,000,000 (2010).
- The global fleet of motor vehicles has been recently growing at the rate of 16,000,000 per year.
- Motor vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, and scooters) account for 80% of all transport-related energy use.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which was at 290 ppm in the year 1900, rose to 316 ppm in 1959, or at an average 0.44 ppm per year.
- Measurements of the concentration of carbon dioxide since 1959 (316 ppm) have revealed an increase to 388 ppm in 2010, or at an average 1.41 ppm per year.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide has increased an average of about 1.8 ppm per year over the past two decades.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide increased 2.87 ppm in 1997-98, more than in any other year of record.
- The year 1998 was the warmest of record. The year 2002 was the second warmest (to that date). The year 2003 was the third warmest (to that date). The year 2004 was the fourth warmest (to that date). The year 2005 equaled 1998 as the warmest of record. The year 2007 equaled 1998 as the second warmest of record. The ten warmest years have occurred in the twelve-year period 1997-2008.
- About 75% of the annual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is due to the burning of fossil fuels.
- The remaining 25% is attributed to anthropogenic changes in land use, which have the effect of reducing the net uptake of carbon dioxide.
- Anthropogenic changes in land use occur when forests are converted to rangelands, rangelands to agriculture, and agriculture to urban areas.
- Other patterns of land degradation--deforestation, overgrazing, overcultivation, urban sprawl, desertification, and salinization--reduce the net uptake of carbon dioxide, indirectly contributing, however slightly, to global warming.
Monday, 21 February 2011
Posted by ripple at 20:02
espite overwhelming scientific evidence, popular myths and misinformation abound. Here are the facts of what we know about global warming.
The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it.
Only CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from human activities explain the observed warming now taking place on Earth.
Between 1961 and 1997, the world's glaciers lost 890 cubic miles of ice. The consensus among scientists is that rising air temperatures are the most important factor behind the retreat of glaciers on a global scale over long time periods.
While some skeptics may argue that there are benefits to global warming and extra CO2, warming in just the middle range of scientific projections would have devastating impacts on many sectors of the economy.
The current warming of our climate will bring major hardships and economic dislocations — untold human suffering, especially for our children and grandchildren.
For more information, see our in-depth scientific report [PDF] on the myths and facts of global warming by Dr. James Wang and Dr. Michael Oppenheimer.
Posted by ripple at 20:01
Updated June 14, 2007
Global warming, or climate change, is a subject that shows no sign of cooling down.
Here's the lowdown on why it's happening, what's causing it, and how it might change the planet.
Is It Happening?
Yes. Earth is already showing many signs of worldwide climate change.
• Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
• The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century's last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennia, according to a number of climate studies. And the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.
• The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.
• Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completelyice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.
• Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.
• Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in response to stress—ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent. Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency and intensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise.
• An upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves, and strong tropical storms, is also attributed in part to climate change by some experts.
Are Humans Causing It?
Continued on Next Page >>
Posted by ripple at 19:58
No matter who you are, the topic of global warming is one that will affect you. If you live on the planet Earth, then global warming is an issue that you need to be educated on and which everyone should take seriously and really care about. There are some disturbing facts that really bring light to the situation and which allow people a better chance to truly understand what all the fuss is about and why this is such a hot topic in the world today.
The Straight Facts
The straight global warming facts are hard to swallow but there is no way to candy coat things. When it comes to this facts, the most important thing of all to know is that there are no signs of it stopping, at least not until everyone starts to take it seriously and really do something about it. This means that the end of the Earth will soon be upon us if we are not responsible and take this matter into our own hands now as we need to.
Another of the most important global warming facts is that the rate of the warming is actually increasing. So not only is it an issue, but it is actually becoming more and more serious of an issue as time goes on. The 20th century's last two decades were the hottest in history or at least in 400 years and this is significant because it means that these statistics are expected to continue to climb.
Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting and scientists are worried that soon enough the polar ice caps are going to melt. If this happens it is pretty much the end of the world because it would upset the entire world and most of it would be covered over with water.
These are just a few of the hard facts and it is easy to see why people are always talking about global warming and why it has become such a major issue. Now is the time to do something about it and you can do various different things in order to reduce global heating. Recycling is one of the easiest and most important things that people can do if they want to help. Also turning down your heat during the winter and air conditioning in the summer will be greatly helpful towards global warming and ensuring that you are not wasting energy when you don't have to be.
Posted by ripple at 19:57
In spite of the advancement of our technology, why is it that the problem with global warming is yet a big issue? And with the extreme environmental conditions and changing weather patterns, why are the true facts about global warming still being disputed? As we understand how the different global warming facts impact on our lives, we should stop arguing and just keep in mind our respective roles in preventing further damage from occurring like the storm effects of El Nino, La Nina and the havoc brought on our environment.
Being responsible citizens of this planet, we have a pressing duty to communicate the true facts about global warming to all, but how are we going to start such communication? It will be so important to be of great awareness about the accurate facts and we can only do this by continual study. Among the first things that we should know is the correct details on the history of the earth, which is created almost 4 Billion years ago. Our planet's atmosphere contained less than 1% oxygen and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was as low as 190 parts per million as of the last Ice Age, about 21,000 years ago.
In 2007, over 800 Million Motor Vehicles have accounted for 80% of all transport-related energy use. The warmest years on record were 1998 and 2005.
Global warming is also induced once there are changes in land use like when forests are converted from wild agricultural plantations to rangelands then from rangelands to farmed agricultural land, and then finally to urban areas. Deforestation, over cultivation, desertification, overgrazing, and salinity - also reduce the net uptake of carbon dioxide, increasing global warming. The forests in 3rd world countries are shattered and cause carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, letting smoke and embers to take carbon levels in the air to a higher stage. Carbon molecules act together with other chemicals in the air to produce a greenhouse effect. Researches say that in 10 years or so, climate change will significantly bring out worse effects on humans and other living things. So knowing these true facts about global warming, we should take our individual responsibilities seriously before it's too late.
Ian Pennington is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
To learn more about facts about global warming [http://globalwarmingnewsonline.info/true-facts-about-global-warming], please visit Global Warming News Online [http://globalwarmingnewsonline.info] for current articles and discussions.
Posted by ripple at 19:55
Global warming and the climate change is something we all contribute to in a negative way but can all begin to contribute to in a positive way. An understanding of what global warming is and why it is happening is the first step towards making a positive difference in the world today. Yes it is happening and the earth is already starting to show serious signs of global warming. Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit around the world since 1880; a great deal of this increase has been within the past few decades. This is not the only evidence that the earth is changing but it is solid evidence that cannot be ignored any longer.
The Arctic are feeling the affects the most as their temperatures have risen to be twice their average over the past few decades. With glaciers melting and their climate increasingly getting warmer many of those living in Alaska and other Arctic areas are not sure what to do. Glaciers throughout the rest of the world are rapidly melting as well. For example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. Just watching the news today should be enough to show you that the earth is changing by watching the extreme and severe weather occurring throughout the entire world.
Now that you can see the effects global warming is having on our earth today let's focus on the causes of global warming. Over 2,000 scientists conducted research to discover the causes of global warming and found that humans are responsible for all or at least most of the global warming conditions. The actions and choices we make throughout each and every day and year make a difference in the world and environment we live in. Until recently, we have been taking this for granted and now the time is crucial to rectify this situation. Actions such as industrialization, deforestation, and pollution have greatly increased atmospheric concentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. All of which are greenhouse gases that help trap heat near Earth's surface, causing global warming.
Basically, humans are pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster and at a higher rate than plants and the oceans can absorb it. It is important to understand that these types of gases persist in the atmosphere for years. This means that even if all the gas emissions were to completely stop today this would not end global warming immediately as we would like to hope. As you can imagine the longer our planet suffers from these gases and emissions the more severe the results are going to be.
Many people are wondering today what is going to happen and experts are reporting nothing less than large scale food and water shortages as well as large scale devastation to the wildlife throughout the world. Studies have also shown that the average sea level from around the world has risen by 4.8-8.8 inches during the last century. What many people do not realize is that a great deal of the world's population is coastal and it will only take a few more inches to 1 foot to wipe out a great deal of the earth's population. The sea levels are incredibly delicate just like the climate systems we are trying to alter. The sea level could rise between 7-23 inches as the northern parts of the world continue to melt and flood. Even a slight rise of 4inches is enough to flood many of the southern islands by the end of this century. As we are seeing severe weather today, this is only going to increase as the effects of global warming continue to escalate. We can expect hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and heat waves everyone and anywhere in the world.
As you may have guessed as the average global temperatures continue to increase so does the average amount of participation we receive. Precipitation has generally increased over land north of 30°N from 1900-2005, but has mostly declined over the tropics since the 1970s. This type of information and comparison can be used with the severity and duration of storm systems as well. Following the Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, which set a record with 27 named storms, a great deal of attention has focused on the relationship between hurricanes and climate change.
Sadly, humans are not the only ones facing this catastrophe. Scientists state that over 1,000,000 species face extinction in the years to come and for humans this means a large scale depletion of the food chain. As the earth continues to change, so does the wildlife habitats and this is enough to cause extinction of millions of animals throughout the world.
Everything on earth is part of a delicate balance and when one factor is slightly altered one way or the other it is going to affect every other factor involved in the cycle. Global warming is no different than this. As the temperatures continue to rise we experience more precipitation which contributes to the higher sea levels and puts the coastal communities further at risk. The melting of the polar ice is another contributor to the sea level increase and all should be accounted for.
There are dozens of important global warming facts that everyone should be aware of in order to properly educate yourself on what is happening to our world as we speak. Unfortunately there is no off switch for this type of crisis and even when we do limit the greenhouse gases responsible for much of this problem it will take decades to slow the effects down.
In order to avoid this type of fate in our future it is important that we all learn how to deal with global warming in our own lives by making eco-smart decisions in everything we do. There are more and more ways to start living and caring for the earth and the environment. Often it can be more expensive to make this environmentally friendly choices but it is worth it in the long run. Even if we are not the ones who suffer the ultimate fate of global warming we are the ones who can prevent it. Learning facts about global warming is the only way to fully understand what we can all do.
Communication Manager for http://www.theglobalwarmingoverview.com An unbiased platform about global warming and the environment. Facts, articles, statistics, debate, actions to help each one of us learn and take educated actions.
Posted by ripple at 19:54
Since the late 1960s, but more prominently in the last twenty years we have all heard of the phrase 'global warming.' Generally most people by now have an idea that this has something to do with the planets temperature, but, that it's cause's and effects are often hard to identify and quantify.
Global warming is a natural occurrence, think of planet Earth as a very, very complex machine, it has many intricate systems which allow it to sustain life, and global warming is simply one of those systems, whereby 'greenhouse gases' as they have become known, trap solar heat in the Earth's atmosphere. Greenhouse gases can be natural, such as water vapour, but the levels of others such as carbon dioxide (CO2) are not always so natural. By trapping solar heat greenhouse gases affect the Earth's temperature and keep the planet from getting too cold (alternatively we might experience global cooling). In this respect it is a vital, natural event that makes our planet habitable, but the fear is that it is a process which has been affected by human behaviour which could have serious repercussions.
Perhaps the most important and controversial question is, to what extent has human activity increased or speeded up the process of global warming, and how? It has been argued that since the industrial age, the burning of naturally found fossil fuels such as coal and oil has increased the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released into the Earth's atmosphere, and that this has speeded up global warming. Further more as the world's population increases, so has our need for energy, meaning the problem increases year on year, especially, when considering the additional pollution from emerging countries such as China.
Public opinion seems to be mixed generally on this subject, varying from people who adamantly don't believe or care, to people who devote their life to creating awareness. Even governments' aren't entirely convinced, or are at least, slow to act. The previous American administration, under President George W Bush, toed an almost non-committal line based on G8 recommendations to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and seemed impartial when faced with the issue of the human impact on global warming. This may largely have been to do with national policy, but there is also a hint that it is based on personal belief as well as financial interests (The US had a preferred policy of burning home coal reserves as opposed to using cleaner gas energy). Factor into this that China refused to reduce it's own carbon footprint until America did so and sometimes the situation seems deadlocked (but please read further).
This is ironic considering that after losing the 2000 American Election, Mr Bush's opposition leader, former Vice President Al Gore presented in a film about the same issue, An Inconvenient Truth (David Guggenheim, 2006), details exactly how man's behaviour is having an effect on the environment. Reiterating that the burning of fossil fuels, air travel, car use and the depletion of green / forest land has increased the amount of carbon dioxide (and other man made greenhouse gases) that accumulates in the atmosphere.
The issue is so important that in 1988 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up. The aim of the IPCC is to offer an objective source of information about the causes of climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences. It comprises of many scientists writing papers to outline those causes and effects that they believe are man-made or being sped up by human behaviour.
And, as previously mentioned it's not new news, as early as 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich commented in his book The Population Bomb that: the greenhouse effect is being enhanced now by the greatly increased level of carbon dioxide, that [a]t the moment we cannot predict what the overall climatic results will be of our using the atmosphere as a garbage dump.
So what has taken us so long? Because over 40 years later we can see what the effects of using our atmosphere as a garbage dump, are. Our polar ice caps are melting. Vast areas of American landscape's are changing, such as in Patagonia where glaciers are disappearing. If shelf ice in Greenland melts, sea levels could raise by as much as 20 foot, reducing land mass across the planet (not to mention the amount of extra trapped greenhouses gases they will release on breaking up). The ice is also fresh water which will affect the salinity in the water affecting natural sea life. Greenpeace also states that based on our current behaviour and negligence, within 50 years one third of all land based animals will face extinction. And, as natural disasters increase, such as hurricanes (Katrina), droughts, floods, its not hard to see that already it is having an impact on human life, with around 150,000 people dying every year as a direct result of global warming.
In summary, whether you believe in man's affect on global warming or not, we as humans need to take more responsibility for the care taking of our planet. I've personally known people who regard the whole thing as rubbish, and that's their belief (in my opinion they are dangerously wrong), but understanding two basic things must / should still prompt people to action, which is; that no country can afford not to recycle, and, sooner or later we WILL run out of fossil fuels, the burning of which are a proven link to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The two easiest things that we can do to alleviate this problem on an individual level is try to recycle as much as possible and reduce our energy usage. Think carefully about the products you buy, do they come in recycled packaging (indeed is half the packaging required), can you get your energy from cleaner providers? Should you invest in a greener car, or failing that use public transport more often, remember to switch off appliances when not in use, use energy efficient light bulbs. Everything that we do, can done be in a greener way. As the world is a complex living machine, see yourself as a part of the whole. As the study aid for An Inconvenient Truth suggests 'Think globally, act locally.' Your actions will have an impact on your local, and then, the world wide environment. Although we seriously are threatened by what has been labelled by the Prince of Wales as, 'mankind's greatest challenge,' we still have time to make a difference.
Posted by ripple at 19:52