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Global Warming factsheet

Global Warming factsheet

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Published by: Daisy on Aug 11, 2009
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08/20/2009

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FACTS ABOUT
GL BAL
 WARMING
 
Definition
“The earth is a natural greenhouse and is kept warm bywater vapors, carbon dioxide (CO2), and other gases in theatmosphere, which absorb the sun’s energy and radiate itback toward the earth. This type of warming is called ‘naturalgreenhouse effect’. ‘Enhanced greenhouse effect’, on theother hand, causes global warming due to excessive levels ofCO2 in the atmosphere.”
Facts
Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit(0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this inrecent decades, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for SpaceStudies.The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century's last twodecades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmestfor several millennia, according to a number of climate studies.The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 ofthe 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 multinationalArctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing and the region may have its first completely ice-freesummer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering fromthe sea-ice loss.Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana's Glacier NationalPark now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws alsocome a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.
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Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in watertemperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in responseto stress—ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleachrates of 70 percent.Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency andintensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise.An upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves, andstrong tropical storms, is also attributed in part to climate change by some experts.According to ‘The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ humans have caused all ormost of the current planetary warming. Human-caused global warming is often calledanthropogenic climate change.Industrialization, deforestation, and pollution have greatly increased atmosphericconcentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, all greenhousegases that help trap heat near Earth's surface.Cars amount to three-quarters of all transportation emissions. Atthe current rate, the world will be driven on by more than a billioncars in 2030 and a billion more by 2050.The earth’s atmosphere now contains 40% more CO2 than beforethe Industrial Revolution.These gases persist in the atmosphere for years, meaning that even if such emissions wereeliminated today, it would not immediately stop global warming.Humans are pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than plants andoceans can absorb it.
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