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Global Warming: background

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The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group of over two thousand scientists, has concluded that global warming is beyond dispute, and already changing our climate.

By Greg Seaman Posted Mar 27, 2009

Global WarmingThe last 30 years has seen the warmest surface temperatures in recorded history.

Scientists are documenting the rapid melting of glaciers. Snow cover is melting much earlier in the year. Ocean temperatures have warmed, sea levels have risen almost one foot, and the patterns of deep sea currents are shifting. Average surface temperatures in Antarctica have risen two degrees Fahrenheit since 1950. Permafrost in Alaska is thawing, threatening the oil pipeline, buckling highways, and causing other havoc. The ten hottest years in recorded history have all taken place since 1980.

Scientists have concluded that human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, is the major driving factor in global warming.

For centuries, the production and absorption of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases was in balance. Humans and animals produce these gases by burning food in our bodies with the oxygen we breathe. Trees and other plants reverse the process with photosynthesis, turning carbon dioxide back into oxygen and vegetation which is food for us and the animals. The oceans help keep the concentrations in the atmosphere stable by absorbing small excesses in carbon dioxide.

But in the last century, human activity has overwhelmed the earth’s natural feedback mechanism. The burning of wood and all sorts of fuels, including cow dung and whale oil greatly increased the amount of carbon dioxide produced. At the same time, clear-cutting of forests reduced the earth’s capacity to absorb it. The industrial revolution and the discovery and use of fossil fuels has enormously exacerbated the problem. The automobile has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. For every gallon of gasoline burned, 26 pounds of carbon dioxide is put into the air. There is just no way the plants and oceans can absorb the billions of tons of greenhouse gases produced by automobiles each year. More billions of tons are produced by power plants generating electricity.

The end result has been an increase of more than 30% in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If we don’t change our ways, it is forecast to triple by 2100.

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  • Scott Mckee

    "Beyond Dispute" is quite decisive. It seems that the man-made global THEORY has now become a scientific fact iin some peoples minds. Remember the thoery of the earth being flat was once a consensus and "beyond dispute" to many scientists.

  • aje

    scott mckeez got a point im a student in hs and its sad to see that people are easily brainwashed into believing everything they hear from history channel and science class they never question what they don t understand and accept what seems silly

  • pjp

    Global warming is a natural event caused by more sun spot activity. When we have more sun spots, we have more heat. When there is less sun spots, the earth cools. Recent discoveries about the political manipulation of the facts are proof that the "man made warming" is a hoax. The truth is that the earth is acutally cooling.

    • madyc.

      even if global warming isn't, in fact, due to human existence, caring for our planet and conserving, reducing, reusing, and recycling isn't too much trouble. wouldn't you feel quite foolish for sitting around and wasting your resources to then find that all claims of "man made warming" a hoax, were false? It doesn't hurt you in the long run, and it benefits the earth anyways, so why not do it? Most green, and earth-friendly ways of life save you money, doesn't seem like it harms you in any way.

  • http://Yahoo.com Henry obasuyi

    Global warming is the disturbance of the atmosphere and ozone it is cause mainly by burning of fossil fuel.

  • jay

    techinically speaking? Like, repairing the ozone part of the atmosphere? no we cannot

  • Rebecca

    well i think we as in all the people should get to gether and make a group and let the president know that we need to do some thing about this asap

  • http://twitter.com/SteveNorris2243 SLENDERMAN

    global warming is mostly contributed by human and their machines

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