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Planet in Crisis: Global Warming 101

Global warming – what’s the real score here?

Wherever we direct our sight into, we always see circles. From the moon, sun, and planets, everything that has great purpose is always in the form of circles. True enough, the most well-known form of a round thing that is capable of preserving human life is what we call Earth.

The wonders it resonates with all living and nonliving creatures are unassailable. However, as years pass by and creatures continuously evolve, so are human activities, its magnificence pays the price of human ingeniousness. The irony of humans’ ingeniousness, which unfortunately ruins what was once a safe zone on Earth.

Natural disasters and other threats in life are no longer neophyte friends which came to disrupt our lives. Life-threatening issues have ever been a significant problem jeopardizing both the health and wellness of the people in the world. But it seems like humans themselves are also a threat to the Earth. 

Climate Change, Thermometer, Forest Fire

By definition, “Global Warming is a term used for the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects.”. The Earth’s gradual heating is caused by human activities. The accumulated greenhouse gases like water, vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases both harmful and harmless, all contribute to either holding in or releasing more heat from the sun.

Now, based on the term itself – warming – why would the Earth’s temperature continuously increases in some parts of the world, but apparently, some places on Earth experiences the opposite. Moreover, it was also stated that global warming itself is a misnomer – not getting warmer but the climate is changing wildly.

Causes of Global Warming

Human activities are one of many causes of Global Warming. Such as burning fossil fuels and even engaging with industrial activities. Hence, we will identify and look out for its relevance to completely recognize the causes which contribute to Global Warming.

Greenhouse Gases

As carbon dioxide is one of the most popular greenhouse gas that has set foot on Earth, there are still several greenhouse gases that we should take note of. According to studies, water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Be that as it may, carbon dioxide and its reputation are undeniable.

Apart from serving its contribution to greenhouse gases, it was accompanied with something to counter it – trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in exchange. However, with humans’ activities (i.e. logging of trees), carbon dioxide has nowhere else to go but up – which eventually adds up to the greenhouse gases which contribute to Global Warming. 

Industrial Activities

Pollution, Environment, Drone, Aerial

Since the day humans learned how to progress industrially, its main purpose has ever since drawn to convenience and fast productivity. With that, during the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has been a normal thing (i.e., coal and petroleum for energy).

A part of it is needed for heat, and some for transportations and electricity. Basically used for every necessity of humans. The downside of it all is that it releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane which are absorbed by the atmosphere.

Deforestation

Deforestation, Forest, Wood, Cut

Logging off of trees highly contributes to Global Warming given the fact that one of the main purposes of trees is to absorb gases such as carbon dioxide and release oxygen in exchange. But with the numbers and percentages of trees being chopped off, it has been responsible for about 15 percent of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (Scientific American). “One mature tree absorbs as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, and by one estimate, 3.5 to 7 billion are cut every year.” (Sciencing.com)

With that said, cutting trees, illegally or not greatly contributes to Global Warming. Hence, if a tree is cut down, humans should be responsible enough to replace it with another to prevent greenhouse gases from being absorbed by the atmosphere – which eventually leads to more serious problems.

Burning of Garbage

As waste materials being thrown towards landfills and ended up being burned into ashes, it releases methane and nitrous oxide gases – greenhouse gases. This outburst of dangerous gases contributes to global warming.

Earth’s Own Feedback Loop

Apparently, as the atmosphere warms, it enables to hold more water – which eventually creates a feedback loop that accelerates global warming. Clouds, rainstorms, and other climate change-related phenomena are created. “At the poles, the warming of the atmosphere melts the ice cover, exposing water, which is less reflective than ice. The water absorbs the sun’s heat, and the oceans also become warmer as a result.”

Amidst the notable and well-known causes of Global Warming, still, it has been put to a debatable situation where it is not really warming despite climate change. Through an in-depth analysis, let us discover why such misconceptions occur and different results are suddenly popping up putting the effects of Global Warming to shame and its relation with Climate Change.

Global Warming vs Climate Change

Right before we would jump into the claims that the Earth does not seem to grow warmer, but its climate is continuously changing wildly, the distinction between climate change and global warming must first be addressed to avoid further confusion and to shed a brighter light on this analysis. And although this thought has been already imparted to us since 5th grade, we will still define both anyway.

As stated above that Global Warming refers to the rising temperature of the Earth whilst Climate Change still includes warming but also the side effects of this “warming” (i.e, melting of glaciers, frequent drought, heavy storms, etc.), and apparently, these two are interrelated as Global Warming is said to be a symptom of Climate Change.

Climate Change, Global Warming

According to Kennedy & Lindsey (2015), “global warming these days, they almost always mean human-caused warming—warming due to the rapid increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from people burning coal, oil, and gas. Climate change, on the other hand, can mean human-caused changes or natural ones, such as ice ages. Besides burning fossil fuels, humans can cause climate changes by emitting aerosol pollution—the tiny particles that reflect sunlight and cool the climate— into the atmosphere, or by transforming the Earth’s landscape, for instance, from carbon-storing forests to farmland.”

In regards to all claims stated, if you look closely, these two are somewhat interrelated at some point. One being the symptom of the other as it slowly emboldens threats and danger on Earth. With that said, long-term consequences can be experienced due to climate change – which ever since has been happening on Earth.

It includes a decrease in sea ice and increases in heatwaves and possible biodiversity loss through the extinction of species in tropical areas as its tropical forest may be highly affected due to climate change. The risk of flooding and loss of water availability and frequent drought is to be expected. All of these will be experienced, eventually, in the coming ages as climate change indeed changes wildly. But does Global Warming had something to do with these? 

Apparently, yes. As they are interrelated with each other on some significant points. As human activities increase, it has also increased the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since Industrial Era as more factories were built to produce and materialize products needed by the human race to survive and because of this, more heat radiation is released into the atmosphere which tremendously contributes with the rise of the temperature as the Sun’s ray seeps through the thin atmosphere and unleashes its wild heat. Not to mention, the carbon dioxide released and other unwanted chemicals coming from different transportations.

“Atmospheric aerosols alter climate by scattering and absorbing solar and infrared radiation and they may also change the microphysical and chemical properties of clouds.” (USGS Science for a Changing World) As you can see, the COVID-19 Pandemic has somewhat contributed to quite decreasing the number of unwanted gases traveling towards the atmosphere as human activities were limited and fewer transportations were allowed to operate in the streets. 

Be that as it may, humans tremendously contributed to the rise of temperature due to man-made activities. Examples of these human activities are: energy production and burning coil or other natural gases – all of these are human activities that emit carbon dioxide.

In fact, in 2019 there were about 5.1 billion tons of energy-related-carbon dioxide was recorded to have been emitted by the United States. The two countries with thousands of factories for different purposes are China and the United State of America, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Global Warming – a misnomer amidst the wild changes in the climate?

Moving forward, if so indeed Global Warming and Climate Change are interrelated and the other is a symptom of the latter, why is it the climate seemed to change wildly whilst the Earth is not getting warmer as it was stated?

Global Warming and Climate Change is slowly demoting from the topmost priority to quite the lesser priorities in the world. Was it because of lack of orientation and broadcastings? Or because its solution is quite difficult to achieve that people cared less than before?

Nonetheless, despite the evident evidence regarding the ‘alarming’ state of the temperature and climate change, people seem to show less importance regarding this matter. Perhaps in terms of progression, the progressives have done a not-so-good job in encouraging mass popularity in getting to care about it. It could be because of how they present the data and poll regarding it that it scares the people more instead of encouraging their spirits to take action.

Every year there are records of activity that seek to measure the world’s temperature as they prepare to present figures regarding the latter. It may sound easy as dipping a thermometer on your hot drink to measure its temperature, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The basics would inform that to get the complete temperature of the Earth, scientists measure from the air above land and ocean surface – often uses satellites too. “A ‘positive’ anomaly means the temperature is warmer than the long-term average, a ‘negative’ anomaly means it’s cooler. Daily anomalies are averaged together over a whole month. These are, in turn, used to work out temperature anomalies from season to season and year-to-year.” (Pidcock, 2015)

There have been ‘rumors’ regarding Global Warming on ‘hiatus’ – they say. With the constant records of about four major datasets used to record and measure the world’s temperature, it might have debunked the idea which states that Global Warming is slowing down – not getting warmer. In the article of Brian Khan in 2015, a picture of the measurement regarding Global Warming’s condition was laid.

The picture shows that despite few decreases in the past years, it can be noted that Global Warming is still at its peak. As of May 16, 2021, according to CO2 Earth, the record shows that April in 2021 was the smallest value for April since 2013 – as this year was the ninth warmest April in the 142-year record.

Proof that Global Warming has not slowed in the past 15 years. In fact, Global Warming has not disappeared through the years and is still presently wild amidst the countable decrease in temperature on some occasions. Projections show that the temperature could still rise as much as 11 degrees F by the century’s end if the emission of greenhouse gases is not slowed down. (Khan, 2015) In fact, the Arctic, according to studies, happens to be warming as fast as the rest of the globe.

An annual Global Climate Report has been recorded for January of 2021 by the National Centers for Environmental Information. As for the monthly temperature check of January 2021, “As a whole, about 5.93% of the world’s surface had a record-warm January temperature–the third-highest January percentage since records began in 1951.”  Whilst other parts of the world experience cooler-than-average conditions. 

On this end, regardless of the constant scientific evidence that the Earth is not cooling, stories relayed in the media seem to convey otherwise. Moreover, new studies were surfacing that contradict the previous ones. Such as an article released way back in 2017-2018 showing data on the aforementioned years stating short-term cooling cycles. Despite the term “short-term” given, people and were quick to assume that the Earth could be cooling. However, the short-term cycle must not undermine what’s going on for the long term. In fact, it can be misleading. 

It goes to show that understanding the global surface and how it works is essential. “Much work has already been done to understand the cause of the slowdown. Some research has tied it to a series of small volcanic eruptions around the globe while other findings have linked it to the changes in winds and ocean circulation.” (Khan, 2015). But as what was stated above, undermining a long-term condition just because of a small change on a certain matter should not be prompted without intensive understanding and consideration requires a long-term perspective, as stated by NASA.

“The curve jiggles up and down every year due to the seasonal cycling of carbon dioxide.” (Buis, 2019). This graph for example shows that there will always be changes per year. And it’s definitely not a straight line. As stated in the previous paragraphs, as humans’ needs and activities increase, the emission of carbon dioxide will also accelerate. Hence, this all boils down to human activity that must be resolved – might not be in an instant but slowly, yet surely.

On the contrary, Dr. Patrick Moore believes otherwise. He says, “One of the reasons the alarmists can exaggerate the greenhouse effects of CO2 and CHsub4 as opposed to H2O vapor, is the fact that it is actually impossible to directly measure the precise amount of temperature increase that is caused by each of these individual greenhouse gases.” (Moore, Dr. Patrick. Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom (pp. 50-51). Ecosense Environmental. Kindle Edition.). Apparently, this is because there is a tendency of overlapping of wavelengths and also due to the location of the water which is continuously changing including its time.

Another point highlighted by Moore is the presence of clouds. According to the text, clouds reflect 25 percent of all sunlight to space which makes Earth cooler. “But if the percentage of clouds increased due to warming, this could cancel out some or all of the effect of additional carbon dioxide.”

Moreover, CO2 reflects a negative impact on the Earth even accused as the one causing global warming. Blaming it for almost destroying and ruining what we call life – even coral reefs due to, yet again invisible CO2 emissions. “COsub2. It is all conjecture based on the hypothesis that carbon dioxide controls temperature, which itself has never been determined as fact.” (Moore, nd.) In addition, Moore said that these things are usually measured by computer-engineered models which were created by its creators on what they want their model to predict. Hence, it may not be as accurate as it is.

“Few people are familiar with the fact that humans are a tropical species as opposed to a sub-tropical, temperate, or polar species. Humans evolved in an equatorial environment where the temperature does not fluctuate much with the seasons and seldom goes below 20ºC (68ºF) at night or above 35ºC (95ºF) in the day.” Which I believe explains why we feel a little hotter than before due to our nature to evolve in an equatorial environment. “The entire “climate change catastrophe” narrative is based on the claim that humans are emitting too much CO2 into the atmosphere and that this will cause our planet to be too hot for life. Both claims are patently false.” He added. 

The chart above taken from Dr. Moore’s book shows that there is no cause-effect relationship between CO2 and the temperature history of Earth. 

Moreover, contrary to the negative effects of CO2, the greening of the environment due to the effects of CO2 has been proven to be true based on real measurements. It was stated that Sherwood Idso, the founder of the website CO2science.org, conducted an experimental demonstration of the increase in plant growth caused by CO2

…that there is room for much more growth in trees, food crops, and other plants as CO2 continues to rise to more optimum levels. The level of 835 ppm of carbon dioxide allows trees to grow more than double the rate of 385 ppm. This photo was taken in 2009 when atmospheric CO2 was about 385 ppm.”

The figure above is from Moore, Dr. Patrick. Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom (pp. 50-51). Ecosense Environmental. Kindle Edition.

“For the Earth to remain at a stable temperature, the same amount of heat must be expelled from the Earth to space as the amount that radiates in from the Sun.” (Moore, nd). At present, the current average temperature of the Earth would be 14.9 degrees Celcius. The greenhouse gases give out good benefits to the lives here on Earth.

 “What’s perhaps most important to remember about global surface temperature fluctuations is that despite short-term ups and downs, the evidence shows that our planet is steadily accumulating heat.” (Buis, 2019). Scientists, do not only study and measure the temperature of just a portion of the Earth but its wholeness – the entire portion. Moreover, the lower atmosphere is warming, the ocean is accumulating more energy, land surfaces are absorbing energy, and evidence shows that the Earth’s ice is melting – disrupting the balance. 

Conclusion

With that said, despite the short-term evidence and results in the decrease of Global Warming, it should never undermine the long-term trend which shows the drastic changes in temperatures. Some parts of the world are getting warmer, others are becoming colder.

We experience the changes in climate temperature in different ways. Climate change is real. Let’s face it head-on by being clear with the facts. Then you can change how you live to show more respect to nature. And push for more protection of the environment. Clamor to lessen the degradation of the environment. More than global warming, what’s more important to fight is the exploitation of natural resources for greed.

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