16 November 2009

Global Warming


by: Marlene Muscat - 3 Sempreviva



What Is Global Warming?

Global warming is the increase in Earth's surface temperatures. Scientists say that Earth's surface temperatures rose by an estimated 1.3 degrees F in the last hundred years. In fact, eleven of the last twelve years rank among the warmest since temperatures were first recorded in the late 19th century.

What Causes Global Warming?

About 90% of global warming is caused by human activity — namely, an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases in the atmosphere.
Like glass in a greenhouse, these gases allow the sun's heat through the atmosphere, but then trap much of it near the Earth's surface. For billions of years they have played an important role in maintaining the proper temperatures for life to thrive. But since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of these heat-trapping gases.
Carbon dioxide levels have risen from pre-Industrial levels of 280 parts per million to 379 parts per million. The amount of methane, another greenhouse gas, has more than doubled. The result has been a measurable warming trend called global climate change or, more specifically, global warming.

Can Anything Be Done To Stop Global Warming?

No matter what we do now, global warming will continue and will cause serious changes in our climate. However, dramatic action is likely to slow its rate of increase and to avoid some of the worst potential consequences. Experts say the most important action is to move away from burning massive amounts of fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, and to aggressively pursue nonpolluting energy options.
Every time we burn fossil fuels to drive our cars, heat our homes, run our factories, light our cities, and more, we release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Our greenhouse gas emissions have increased in recent decades because of both human population growth and the rising rates of affluence and consumption.


I’m Not An Energy expert, So What Can I Do?

Go Organic

Whenever possible, select organic products. The pesticides used to kill pests also kill the organisms that help keep carbon dioxide in the soil.

Think Globally. Eat Logically

 As much as possible, buy local products and other goods. The fewer miles your produce has traveled, the less energy has been used for refrigeration and transportation.

Light Switches

Try switching from conventional incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescents.

How Does Global Warming Affect Wildlife?

All organisms depend on their habitats for food, water, shelter, and opportunities to produce offspring and take care of the young. Climate changes can affect organisms and their habitats many kind of ways. In fact, global warming impacts all life on earth, from individual organisms to populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. It can alter behaviors, population sizes, species distributions, plant and animal communities, and ecosystem functions and stability. How strongly different species will be affected varies, depending on differences in their ecology and life history. Species with small population sizes, restricted ranges, and limited ability to move to different habitat will be most at risk.
Global Warming is already causing extinction. About 70 species of Harlequin Frogs, which inhabit the areas of Central and South America have been extinct by a disease that links to global warming. Warmer temperatures, has made ideal conditions for a fungus that kills the frogs.

All Crocodilians, for example need a certain temperature to be able to reproduce properly. Scientists think, that if the temperature rises, a big percentage of the eggs that are laid will be females. Therefore if there won’t be a lot of males, The babies will end up marrying their own fathers and uncles. This will have a catastrophic result on the crocodilian species, as the offspring will be unhealthy and deformed.
You may ask: “What do I care if Crocodilians get extinct? Isn’t it even better if we don’t have them on our planet? There will be less attacks on humans…” That might be true. But if Crocodilians are destroyed, the food webs that are associated with them are not good anymore, because you can’t take something out of a food web without interrupting the whole web. Although they may not seem so nice, we need to work towards them and protect them from being extinct.

We can refer to global warming as one, big worldwide problem, which we all must work together towards, and try to save our planet before it is too late. It’s literally up to us. These animals need us. If we work towards, we won’t only save the animals, but we’ll be saving our own children too.

 




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