The How Global warming works.

HOW GLOBAL WARMING WORKS
PART I

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How does global warming work?



Global warming is definitely a term that is tossed around a lot these days. Whether you’re looking at a brown, murky river or you’re sweltering under a blazing sun on hot summer’s day, you’re sure to hear someone within earshot blame it on global warming. And although global warming has become a particularly hot topic within the past 5 years, it’s one that scientists and environmentalists have been studying for decades as they have been studying climate patterns and making predictions based on those, as to what the future of the planet holds for us.

It’s a phenomenon that have some very scared about the future of our world and still one that others laugh off and don’t even believe exists. So what is global warming, really? Is it something that really exists or do all these climate issues simply point to cyclical patterns that will straighten themselves out in time? And can human behavior really have an impact on the future of the Earth’s atmosphere and environment? We’ll look into it all here as we look at how global warming works.

Weather and Climate

Global warming is a significant increase in the temperature of the Earth’s climate over a short period of time, as a result of human activity. To understand what this really means, you must first understand the difference between weather and climate.

The weather refers to what is happening in one small area for a short period of time. If you live in a hot, sunny area but are experiencing a few cold and cloudy days, this is not a change in the climate of the area but simply bad weather. Climate on the other hand, refers to the weather patterns of a large area over a long period of time. Most people know what to expect from a certain area’s climate. You wouldn’t expect to go to California and pack your snowsuit while you also wouldn’t take your swimsuit to the Arctic. However, you may not know what the weather is for that area at a particular time. So even though you’re visiting California in May, you may know that it’s going to be hot because that’s the climate for the area but you may not know whether or not it will rain while you are there, which is the local weather.

Climate is very long-term and it can take centuries to change the climate of a certain area. This is one reason why people know what to expect from a certain area. It’s also the reason why a particularly warm winter in a usually cold area is simply a shift in weather patterns and doesn’t indicate climate change, even though it happened over an entire season. Because climate change happens so slowly, even a very small increase in the earth’s climate is considered significant. In fact, during the last Ice Age, the Earth’s atmosphere was only about 5 degrees colder than it is today and Ice Ages are recurring climate changes that take place about every 50,000 to 100,000 years. For global warming to technically be taking place, the earth would need to warm 1 degree Celsius or more over the course of a century. It has been determined that from 1906 – 2006 the Earth’s climate had warmed .74 degrees Celsius.

The group of scientists and researchers that collect and examine this data are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a group of 2,500 experts from different countries all around the world. When they met in Paris in 2007 they studied the Earth’s climate and determined that over the past hundred years the Earth’s climate has increased significantly and that it is only continuing to increase, showing that the Earth is in a state of global warming. This leads to things such as severe droughts, melting Arctic glaciers, and increased precipitation.


The Greenhouse Effect

Understanding how the greenhouse effect works is also essential in understanding how global warming works because it’s the increase in the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. The greenhouse effect in itself is not a bad thing. It’s actually a vital part of the atmosphere that is essential to our life on Earth because it is this effect that warms the Earth up.

In order to understand the greenhouse effect, you can compare it to your car that sits outside with the windows rolled up on a hot day. When you go into your car you notice that it’s extremely hot and much hotter than the outside temperature. This is because the sun’s rays enter your car windows and are absorbed by the seats, the dashboard, and all the other things in your car. These things release the heat that they absorb however, while some of the heat will escape back out through the windows, much of it will remain inside the car because the windows will reflect it back inside. Basically, there is more energy coming into the car than exiting it and this causes the temperature of the inside of the car to slowly rise.

While the greenhouse effect is obviously much more complicated than this, it works in much the same way. The sun’s rays hit the Earth’s surface and approximately 70% of those rays are absorbed by things on Earth such as land, oceans, and other things that make up the Earth’s surface. The other 30% of the rays are reflected back into space. These rays are reflected back by certain reflective surfaces on Earth such as clouds and snowfields. The 70% of the heat that remained on Earth is also eventually released back into the atmosphere and some of this heat also goes out into space while some of it is absorbed by things such as carbon monoxide, methane gas, and water vapour. Once these things absorb the heat, they will also eventually release it.

This effect makes it so that the surface of Earth is always much warmer than that of space and so we are able to survive and live on the planet. In order to understand what the Earth would be like without the greenhouse effect, you can compare Earth and Mars, which are very similar planets with one main difference being that Mars does not have a greenhouse effect because the atmosphere on that planet is not thick enough to send enough energy back to the planet to allow for plant and animal life to survive. Those researching the possibilities of life on Mars believe that if there were some way to thicken the atmosphere and cause a greenhouse effect, life on Mars would be entirely possible.

So if the greenhouse effect is not only an important but vital part of our existence, why are we so concerned about it and trying to stop it? The problem is not that the greenhouse effect exists. The problem is that the greenhouse effect has been increasing at an alarming rate for several decades and this is causing global warming.

PART II

Global warming.

 The How Global warming works of Global warming.

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