Global Warming: Causes and Effects

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By Jordan Martinez

In the past few decades, the global climate has warmed at an unprecedented rate due to human activity, mainly by releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

As a result, temperatures have risen by one degree Fahrenheit since 1880; this amount is expected to increase by another half-degree Celsius over the next century if no action is taken against climate change. Scientists have warned that these changes could lead to mass extinctions among species currently living on land or in water bodies worldwide; they also warn that without immediate action against this threat, we may face some disaster in our lifetime!

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and landmasses. The term “global warming” is also used to refer to climate change caused by human activity.

The most widely accepted scientific view on global warming is that it is due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide. These gases absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth’s surface and prevent heat from escaping into space; this trapping process increases temperatures above their emission sources at all levels.

Significant Increase in Unpredictable Weather Patterns

Scientists say these events are caused by global warming. For example: In 2015, California experienced its worst drought since 1895, and 2016 was the hottest year globally.

In 2016 alone, there was more than 90 billion dollars worth of damage from extreme droughts. In January 2017 alone, there were two dozen major wildfires across California that burned more than a million acres of land. The North American polar vortex was so strong that it brought temperatures as low as (-49F/-45C) to parts of Canada which caused several hundred deaths. These kinds of extreme events are becoming more frequent because they can be predicted with increased accuracy thanks to computer models like those used by Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which is based in Palisades Interstate Park Reserve Forest Preserve along cliffs overlooking Long Island Sound near Rockaway Beach New York State USA.

The Earth’s rising surface temperature also causes ocean water to expand.

The ocean is a significant source of Oxygen, food, and energy.

The ocean is warming. As temperatures rise in the world’s oceans, they are expanding, causing sea levels to grow. And since we know that rising water levels lead to flooding — which can be disastrous for coastal communities — this could have severe consequences if it continues at its current pace.

Global warming endangers many animal species in both land and sea habitats.

Global warming is a severe issue for the world’s animals. Many species are migrating to cooler areas or dying due to global warming.

Animals are affected by global warming in different ways: some species have been forced to move because they cannot keep up with their environment; others have been driven away by rising temperatures, and still, others have lost their ability altogether due to human activity such as deforestation or urbanization. Some animal species are already extinct because of the effects of climate change on their habitats, while others may become so endangered that they will no longer be able to exist at all!

Breakdown in Ecosystems

If you think about it, losing these species would be a large-scale tragedy for our planet. They play an integral role in maintaining biodiversity and keeping Earth’s ecosystems functioning correctly. A species extinction can devastate the environment and even human health if it leads to dangerous changes in temperature or precipitation patterns.

A recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the planet is on pace for a rise in global temperatures of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels by 2040; this prediction takes into account the efforts outlined in the Paris agreement.

The report also predicts that if we don’t take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we could be looking at even greater warming by 2100—a temperature increase of 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius).

The report’s authors say that we need to act fast if we want to avoid the the worst-case scenario. “There is no documented historical precedent for the sweeping changes to Earth’s systems that are required to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but there is also no doubt that they can be made,” said Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London who helped lead one of the IPCC’s working groups. “The question is whether society has both the will and ability.”

Suppose nations fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In that case, temperatures could rise by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) or more within that time frame, an outcome scientists regard as catastrophic for human survival.

The report says it’s already too late to avoid the worst effects of climate change unless significant changes are made. The world must cut its carbon dioxide output between 25 percent and 55 percent below 2010 levels by 2050 if it wants a chance at stabilizing temperatures at 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels — the limit beyond which experts say we can expect rapid damage from global warming caused by fossil fuels such as coal and oil.


Global warming is a severe problem. The Earth’s climate has changed many times, and we know how to cope with it when temperatures rise. But this time is different. We should be concerned about global warming for many reasons. Cool Earth is a tremendous resource for expanding knowledge on the topic; if you believe climate change is a serious issue, you can donate. 

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