The World is on Fever!

This is no science fiction. Really, if burning of fossil fuels such as coals are not minimized, the situation above would not be superficial as it now appears to be. The world may seem fine and people might not have taken in the problem yet. But those scientists and other people who know might have now gone crazy finding ways of possibly bringing back what nature had consequently changed.

Global warming is now the talked-about environmental issue and is one of the critical challenges of the time. Even former US Vice-President Al Gore had been traveling all over the world to throw caution to all of the world’s people.

Global Warming is the increase in the average temperature of the atmosphere, oceans, and landmasses of Earth. One can view this concept by thinking of a pot on a stove. If heat is applied to the pot, its temperature will increase. However, heat will also begin escaping the pot in the form of steam. Eventually, the amount of heat lost and gained will be equal. That puts the idea of the state of equilibrium in the climate system of the Earth.

However, what is happening at these times is that there is much flux of heat into the climate system than out. It’s like Earth is locked up inside a greenhouse with all the heat it is producing circulating instead of being “lost” in space. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the annual average temperature of Earth has been increasing in recent decades. This is not normal is now wreaking havoc without us knowing or understanding.

There would be no better way of letting people understand what global warming can do than by presenting it in terms of its effects to life. Global warming brings about climate change. Climate change is the variation in the Earth’s global or regional climate over time. This involves changes in the average state of the atmosphere. Changes in the climate system can be caused by dynamic process on Earth and/or external forces including variations in sunlight intensity. This sounds normal and fine because adequate warmth is essential to sustain life. However, more recently, climate change is also caused by human activities that compromise the natural ability of nature to put things in equilibrium.

Environment has already been warning us on the threats it could give. Recent occurrences have evidently manifested that our planet is actually experiencing the infancy of global warming. In other countries, glaciers and polar ice caps are melting. Philippines don’t have these so people might not care. But, let’s think again. Global Warming can also cause warming of the oceans which permits expansion of its volume. Consequently, the sea level will rise by an estimated 90 to 100 centimeters which could flood coastal regions and even an entire island! Not only that, the number of storms will increase and hurricanes will double!

Due to this considerable abnormal temperature rise, some plant and animal species will tend to relocate their habitat ranges to move toward cooler areas. If those species fail to do so, they won’t have much choice but to put themselves in danger of being unknown to the future generations. Worse, we might be too. In the same way as certain organisms shift ranges, Malaria-causing mosquitoes will also spread to higher altitudes.

Food supplies will be compromised since crops could be damaged due to droughts. In fact, we are already experiencing this problem. Philippines is having shortage on supply of rice. Farmers are having difficulty in predicting weather conditions thus causing yield failures. An impending situation of rationing every cup of rice might happen very soon.

This rapid warming of the Earth as scientists believe is caused partly by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had stated, “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” In other words, human activities as burning fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas in factories release carbon dioxide and other substances known as greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Pollution is basically the precursor. And we are the the real culprits. Exhaust pipes of our cars emit carbon dioxide. Synthetic fertilizes also release nitrous oxide (NO2). As these greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, the atmosphere becomes a better insulator since heat from sunlight is absorbed by these gases. So it retains the heat provided by the sun instead of being lost to space.

The average surface temperature of the Earth is about 59F. According to IPCC, a warming trend of 1.0 to 1.7F occurred from 1906 to 2005. Scientists expect that this would increase a bit higher. They predict warming of 34.52 to 42.44F by 2100.

We are now in 2008. Time flies and just seemingly by the wink of an eye it is already 2090 and so forth…

Scientists believe that we could possibly alleviate this problem. The consequences are indeed extreme but there is a simple way to minimize these. The principle is just to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere by storing gas or its carbon component somewhere else. This is called carbon sequestration. That might be a hard thing to imagine. But, we can always make it simpler: plant and preserve trees. If we can’t stop ourselves from using cars, and other things that contribute to global warming, we can plant trees. Trees, especially young and fast-growing, soak up a big deal of CO2, break it down in photosynthesis and store carbon in wood.

Simple. This is no science fiction. The way to avert a very serious consequence can be made possible by anyone. The only hindrance there might be is our concernone obstacle that is easier to overcome than the insurmountable effects we will experience…soon.

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