The Greenhouse Effect
Human activities have contributed to what we now know as ‘Global Warming’ since the 19th century. Global Warming also known as the Greenhouse Effect is the warming that happens when Earth’s atmosphere traps heat, almost like the walls of a greenhouse. Sunlight shines on the Earth where it is then absorbed and radiated back into the atmosphere as heat and is then trapped by what we call greenhouse gasses. Experts warn that we only have until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change before we are at risk of extreme wildfires, floods, and droughts causing food shortages for millions of people.
Since 1970, the areas burned by wildfires and the number of days in the wildfire season have almost doubled. Each year, millions of acres are burned, and millions of dollars’ worth of damage and firefighting costs are caused by wildfires. Although most wildfires are caused by humans, warmer temperatures and drier conditions are all factors that contribute to making fires harder to put out and more easily spread. Mountain Pine Beetles and other insects are also expected to increase due to warmer, drier conditions; meaning more trees will be weakened and killed by insects which then means more fuel for the fire.
Both Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than new ice and snow can replace. Sea levels have risen by 8 inches since they have started being recorded in 8100 and are expected to rise another 4 feet by 2100. National landmarks, military bases, and coastal regions are already being put at risk. Animals such as polar bears, penguins, seals, reindeer, cold water fish, and even many sea corals are already becoming endangered due to habitat loss. An animal going extinct may seem unimportant, but the extinction of an animal can make a huge difference on a global scale as each animal plays an important role in the ecosystem and food chain.
Increased temperatures cause more precipitation in the form of rain instead of snow, which means earlier snow melt, which also means increased evaporation and transpiration. Summer heatwaves have become more intense and temperatures have risen 1-degree Celsius and are expected to rise by another 4. A reduction of soil moisture is also being seen, which also worsens heat waves. By the end of this century world population is expected to double, and the growing season is expected to be cut in half resulting in food shortages. Scientists are already trying to discover new ways to create climate-resistant crops and ways to ensure there is a great enough food supply.
Experts warn us to prepare for the future, but the consequences of climate change are already here. Many people believe that Global Warming is real and that something should be done about it. Most likely, these people are the same people that expect someone else to take care of the problem and fail to realize they can help too! There are many things that you can do to make a difference including eating organic, buying locally, line dry your laundry, cut back car use/carpool, and reduce, reuse, and recycle. They may seem like small things, but they are simple and make a big difference.