Global warming, at the term refers, is a lasting change of earth's climatic condition due to the gradual rise in temperature. The short wave solar radiation propagates from the sun to the earth surface passing through the earth's atmosphere. After interacting with earth surface, the solar energy backscatters or reflects as long wave radiation. Thus the earth maintains the balance of temperature. But sometimes the exorbitant presence of various suspended particulate matters, greenhouse gases, etc. act as a barrier in the way of backscattered long wave radiation. As a result, the stagnant solar energy makes rise in temperature of earth's lower atmosphere, and for a long scale, this also consequences a major change of climate. In a world-wide context this is called 'Global Warming'.

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Global Warming : Causes, Effects, Consequences and Mitigation

Global Warming and Climate Change

Global warming and climate change are apparently similar to each other. From a detailed observation it can be said that, global warming is the gradual increase in temperature of earth's surface as well as atmosphere, because of human activities. In other hand, climate change refers to the global warming process, its consequences – everything, as a whole. The extreme effect of global warming have been increased over the mid 20th century.

The Causing Factors of Global Warming

Human activities are the factors that create the major causes of global warming. The followings can be pointed out as causing factors:

Firstly, greenhouse effect plays a significant role to facilitate global warming. Greenhouse gases (e.g., water vapour, carbon dioxide/CO₂, methane/CH₄, nitrogen oxides/NOx, chlorofluorocarbon/CFCs), aerosol, etc. trap the backscattered or radiating solar energy from earth surface, and heats the lower atmosphere. For instance, it can be said that, warming power of 1 ion CFC is is equal to that of 10,000 ion carbon dioxide.

Greenhouse Effect
Image Source - Google | Image by - climate.nasa.gov
Secondly, the effect of land use change can be stated. Human beings made up various uses of lands in recent trends of urbanization, industrialisation, namely the development of civilization. In this case, deforestation majorly contributes to the changing temperature. In recent times, 50% of world's habitable land are used as agricultural land, whereas 37% is forest cover. In a ratio with total habitable land, the figure is randomly changing. Forest loss is directly affecting the precipitation, the absorption of polluted gaseous particles. In urban areas the pollution and emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants are stepwise entertaining the rise in temperature as well as climate change. Thus current trends of land use change highly influencing the global warming.

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Effects and Consequences of Global Warming

Natural environment

Effect of global warming is agitating and sweeping. This affects the hydrosphere, biosphere, pedosphere, atmosphere – everything in a large-scale. Even sometimes this affecting condition is interrelated with each other. Global warming causing the increase in temperature in lower atmosphere as well as in the earth surface. Continental, or polar iceberg thus start to melt. This usually causing the rise in mean sea level. The animals of polar region (e.g., penguin, polar bear, etc.) are getting extinct.

In a recent research study, analysing ocean kinetic energy data, scientists have observed that the global ocean circulation has been accelerating since the 1990s. Combined reason of global warming and natural climate variation result in the changing of speed of wind circulation, which is driving the ocean current acceleration. Directly or indirectly, this could also affect the marine ecosystem.

It has come to know from a China and UK-based study that more than quarter of the planet's land could become significantly dry if global warming reaches 2°C. Thus global warming could cause 25% of earth surface to become permanent dry.

An US-based research revealed that mammal body size could shrink due to the hotter climate continuing for a long time. Fossil analysis shows that mammals like cows, horses, etc. got at least twice smaller in earth's history due to the natural global warming by increase in carbon dioxide accumulation in atmosphere.

Using NASA's Landsat satellite data from 1993 to 2018, a research study has observed small but significant increase in subnival vegetation cover in the Everest region, across an altitude of about 4150 to 6000 metres above mean sea level. Scientists claim global warming as one of the reason behind it.

An United States based study revealed that arctic cotton grass, in Greenland, bloomed 26 days earlier than a decade ago.

Recently Pine Island Glacier, a fastest shrinking glacier in Antarctica just lost an iceberg which is almost twice the size of Washington DC.
Pine Island Glacier Crack_Antarctica
Pine Island Iceberg, Antarctica | Image Source - Google | Image by - earthobservatory.nasa.gov
As some other consequences of global warming, changing in precipitation, changes in animal and plant life cycles, more droughts and wildfires, thawing permafrost, more heat waves, etc. can also be mentioned.

Human life

Human life is also getting affected with the negative impact of global warming. All over the world, human life is variably facing these impacts, especially in low-latitude and less developed region.

As the climate changes, the crop production will be affected in low-latitude regions. From 1962 to 2013, the negative impact has majorly observed for wheat and maize.

Along with this, human health will also be affected more negatively, due to the direct or indirect effect of crop failure or extreme weather etc.

Mitigation

Mitigation strategies for global warming as well as climate change have been taken in many conferences, meetings, and arrangements. Such as :

  • First World Climate Change (1979)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by WMO and UNEP (1988)
  • Second Climate Conference (1990)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)
  • Kyoto Protocol (1995)
  • The Earth Summit (1992)
  • Paris Agreement (2016)
  • World Climate Conference–3 (2009)

The above mentioned and many other conferences, meetings, arrangements have been held in many places all over the world to deal with global warming and climate change.

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