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Wednesday November 14, 2018

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EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.

The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased between 1.1 and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius)–even more in sensitive polar region. And the effects of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future signs of the effects of global warming are appearing right now. The heat is melting glaciers and sea ice, shifting precipitation patterns, and setting animals on the move.

Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824, when Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. This greenhouse effect is what keeps the Earth's climate livable. Without it, the Earth's surface would be an average of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.

The temperature of the earth is rising at nearly twice the rate it was 50 years ago. This rapid rate and pattern of warming, scientists have concluded, cannot be explained by natural cycles alone.

When sunlight reaches Earth's surface some is absorbed and warms the earth and most of the rest is radiated back to the atmosphere at a longer wavelength than the sun light. Some of these longer wavelengths are absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere before they are lost to space. The absorption of this longwave radiant energy warms the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases act like a mirror and reflect back to the Earth some of the heat energy which would otherwise be lost to space. The reflecting back of heat energy by the atmosphere is called the "greenhouse effect".

Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can even trap more heat than CO2. A molecule of methane produces more than 20 times the warming of a molecule of CO2. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful than CO2.

The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased between 1.1 and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius)–even more in sensitive polar region. And the effects of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future–signs of the effects of global warming are appearing right now. The heat is melting glaciers and sea ice, shifting precipitation patterns, and setting animals on the move.

Sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches,18 and 59 centimeters by the end of the century, and continued melting at the poles could add between 4 and 8 inches 10 to 20 centimeters. Some diseases will spread, such as mosquito-borne malaria and the 2016 resurgence of the Zika virus.

Lightening is another weather feature that is being affected by global warming. According to a 2014 study, a 50 percent increase in the number of lightning strikes within the United States is expected by 2100 if global temperatures continue to rise. The researchers of the study found a 12 percent increase in lightning activity for every 1.8 degree F of warming in the atmosphere.

Climate change is a natural process, which has been a continuous process right from the Earth’s creation, but due to above mentioned factors, this change has been accelerated by many folds and is becoming a concern for human beings. Another common factor of changes in climate and increase in global warming is the ‘human interference, which is accelerating both, by contributing to air pollution.

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