- Don't you want your kids to see polar bears? -
Written by Felicia P and Miranda S
What is Global Warming?
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
The Greenhouse Effect is when energy from the Sun (effectively heat/warmth) is trapped in the Earth’s lower atmosphere. This naturally warms the Earth - this heat supports lifeforms like us! Greenhouse gases act as the glass in greenhouses, trapping energy. However, this is currently under a debate as to whether it is really natural or also human-driven.
What are Greenhouse Gases?
A greenhouse gas is a gas which contributes to the “Greenhouse Effect” (ie. Global Warming) through low-level infrared radiation. Examples of greenhouse gases include: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride. Higher levels of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere are related to higher temperatures in the Earth.
How does Global Warming affect us and our world?
Types of foxes, butterflies, and alpine plants have been forced to move further north or to cooler surroundings due to temperatures rising.
Floods and droughts will become more pronounced and frequent, especially in poor areas.
The amount of precipitation has and will increase further.
The world could have a 6th mass extinction where many of our species could disappear forever (eg. Polar Bears, Arctic Foxes).
Positive Effects of Global Warming
- Frozen regions of the Earth may experience more plant growth and milder climates.
- The next ice age may be prevented from occurring.
- Fewer deaths or injuries due to cold weather.
- Many plant and animal species thrive in warmer conditions.
- Less power required to heat homes and offices.
Global Warming: Whose fault is it?
The general public have had mixed opinions, but those who agree that Global Warming is a natural process say that:
The Earth and the Solar System have cycles which interact randomly which can therefore cause catastrophic changes.
The Earth’s climate and atmosphere has been evolving for thousands, billions of years now, suggesting that maybe Global Warming just happens to be a change in this period of time.
Changes in the Earth’s temperature has occurred a number of a times - it’s now new. However, humans have been aware that the past century seems to have warmed the Earth at a faster rate.
Warmer periods of the Earth have occurred eight hundred years before rises in CO2 levels.
The general public who believe that Global Warming is due to human activity have said:
People are wasting too much energy - they’re are not trying to conserve it, therefore letting out more greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere.
The use of fossils fuel have become excessive, once again letting more greenhouse gases out.
Humans let out approximately 30 billion tonnes of CO2 per year according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC).
The greenhouse effect is natural, but humans are accelerating the rate of it.
If Global Warming really is our fault, the mind map below shows ways in which we can prevent it from getting worse: