Global warming is the name given by scientists
for the gradual increase in temperature of the Earth's surface that
has worsened since the industrial revolution. Over the past two decades
the effect has become more marked. Considerable evidence exists that
most of this warming has been caused by human activities... that's
to say we have altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere
through a build-up of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide,
methane, and nitrous oxide. What if we do nothing?
Rising global temperatures will cause sea level to rise and alter
local climate conditions, affecting forests, crop yields, and water
supplies. It may also affect human health, animals, and many types
of ecosystems. Deserts may expand and some of our countryside may be
What will happen in
the future if we do nothing?
model simulations predict an increase in average surface
air temperature of about 2.5°C by the year 2100 (Kattenberg
et al., 1996).
melting of the Arctic Ice Caps (at the current rate)
could be sufficient to turn off the ocean currents that
drive the Gulf Stream.
Already in the Antarctica and Arctic,
sea ice is disappearing
at an alarming rate. The majestic polar bear
and Emperor penguin, both depending on the ice to
survive, are increasingly at risk.
Second Assessment Report estimates that sea-levels will
rise by approximately 49 cm over the next 100 years,
with a range of uncertainty of 20-86 cm.
rise will lead to increased coastal flooding through
direct inundation and an increase in the base for storm
surges, allowing flooding of larger areas and higher
likelihood of "killer" heat waves during the warm season
will increase (Karl et al., 1997)
What can I do?
You have to go to work and we
all like being consumers - but there are many ways you can help.
Firstly, you need to recognise how you personally impact global
warming. Visit the pages What Can You
Do To Help and 10 Simple Steps
to start saving our planet today.