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Global Warming Introduction: Global warming is the measurable increases in the average temperature of Earths atmosphere, oceans, and

landmasses. Scientists believe Earth is currently facing a period of rapid warming brought on by rising levels of heat-trapping gases, known as greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases retain the radiant energy (heat) provided to Earth by the Sun in a process known as the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases occur naturally, and without them the planet would be too cold to sustain life as we know it. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s, however, human activities have added more and more of these gases into the atmosphere. For example, levels of carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, have risen by 35 percent since 1750, largely from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. With more greenhouse gases in the mix, the atmosphere acts like a thickening blanket and traps more heat. Measuring Global Warming: As early as 1896 scientists suggested that burning fossil fuels might change the composition of the atmosphere and that an increase in global average temperature might result. The first part of this hypothesis was confirmed in 1957, when researchers working in the global research program called the International Geophysical Year sampled the atmosphere from the top of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa. Their instruments indicated that carbon dioxide concentration was indeed rising. Since then, the composition of the atmosphere has been carefully tracked. The data collected show undeniably that the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are increasing. Measuring warming of the global climate (the long-term average pattern of temperature) is a complex process. Temperatures vary widely all the time and from place to place, and a local warming trend may simply be due to the natural variability of the climate. But using many years of climate observations from around the world, scientists have detected a warming trend beyond such random fluctuations. Effects of Global Warming: Scientists use elaborate computer models of temperature, precipitation patterns, and atmosphere circulation to study global warming. Based on these models, scientists have made many projections about how global warming will affect weather, glacial ice, sea levels, agriculture, wildlife, and human health. Many changes linked to rising temperatures are already being observed. Scientists project that the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere will heat up more than other areas of the planet, and glaciers and sea ice will shrink as a result. A warmer world will be generally more humid as a result of more water evaporating from the oceans. Storms are expected to be more frequent and more intense in a warmer world. Water will also evaporate more rapidly from soil, causing it to dry out faster between rains. Efforts to Control Global Warming: Responding to the challenge of controlling global warming will require fundamental changes in energy production, transportation, industry, government policies, and development strategies around the world. These changes take time. The challenge today is managing the impacts that cannot be avoided while taking steps to prevent more severe impacts in the future.

Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, also called greenhouse gas mitigation, is a necessary strategy for controlling global warming. There are two major approaches to slowing the buildup of greenhouse gases. One is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The other is to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by storing the gas or its carbon component somewhere else, a strategy known as carbon sequestration or carbon capture.