The debate on the cause and effects of global warming has remained a controversy across the political, economic, and academic fronts of the human population. Some opponents of the phenomenon claim that changes in the world climate have been in existence since time immemorial (Kluger). Proponents on the other side assert that mankind activities are to be blamed for the unpredictable climate changes experienced in the modern global community (Kluger). According to available scientific evidence, global warming is the gradual increase in temperatures of the earth’s atmosphere near its surface (Gore 2).
Such have been closely attributed to emission of greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Among the common cited effects of global warming is the evident reduction in mountain ice and glaciers reserves in the world polar region and high mountain peaks (Hudson). This has been blamed for the expansion or rise of sea water levels, a fact that threatens the submergence of low lying coastal islands across the globe (Hudson). Another effect of global warming is occurrence of unpredictable weather patters such as very strong winds and rain storms across the globe, as well as prolonged droughts (Gore 3).
Global warming has also been established to be a driving force behind the spreading of diseases as well as cropping of new diseases in the world. This essay is written as a critical discussion on the causes and effects of global warming. Global warming is caused by a combination of natural and artificial causes. According to scientists, global warming is caused by increased concentration of greenhouse gases, such as Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. These gases trap heat reflected form the earth’s surface and concentrate it in the atmosphere, thus raising temperatures (Pierce 12).
Shrinking of the ozone layer found on the stratosphere also contributed to global warming. Just to note, ozone layer is responsible for absorbing the ultraviolet radiations from the sun. Therefore, the shrinking of this layer leads to an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiations reaching the surface of the earth, a factor that serves to increase the temperature of the earth (Gore 3). The shrinking of the ozone layer is caused by increased emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. From scientific evidence, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere react with the oxygen, which makes the ozone layer, thus reducing its surface area.
Some of the natural causes of global warming include decaying of dead matter and volcanic activities (Pierce 47). These two natural activities are closely attributed with production of carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, and methane, all of which are greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is worth noting that of the naturally occurring greenhouse gases, water vapor has the highest greenhouse effects (Pierce 49). Nevertheless, substantial research evidence has indicated that the effects of natural factors to global warming are negligible.
This has been associated with the fact that prior to the intensification of industrialization practices by mankind, the problem of global warming was never felt in the world. Mankind has been blamed for causing global warming through his industrialization practices and other practices such as deforestation (Revkin). The most commonly cited greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. According to available statistics, industries across the globe produce an estimated over 25 billion metric tons annually of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Such amounts are approximated to be more than 50 times the rate of carbon dioxide gas emission caused by natural sources. This high amounts of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by industries are attributed to the fact that the industrial sector is mainly powered by energy got from the burning of fossil fuels (Hudson). Still, the increased level of reduction in the world forest cover, which functions to get rid of carbon dioxide from the air, is found to aid in the high amounts of carbon dioxide gas released into the atmosphere (Gore 8).
Another common greenhouse gas produced by mankind is methane. According to available statistical evidence, the production of methane has increased by about 150% since 1750s (Michaels 71). Other greenhouse gases produced by mankind activities are nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons. As an explanation, such gas are found to have a longer reaction cycle life span compared to the most common natural greenhouse gas, water vapor. This makes them more disastrous to the ozone layer. There are numerous effects of global warming.
According to available research information, the temperature of the earth surface has increased by between 0. 13 and 0. 22 °C since 1975 (Gore 13). Global warming has led to evident reduction in the world polar and mountain ice and glacier reserves. True to the letter, the levels of ice cover in the world have significantly reduced (Gore 2). The Arctic shrinkage rate in the current time is identified as the highest since the history of mankind. This melting of ice and glacier reserves has led to the rise in sea water levels.
Evidence from a recent research indicates that the increasing expanding of sea waters threatens the submerging of islands in the coastal regions (Kluger). Another effect of global warming is the constant flooding witnessed along the coastal region across the global (Michaels 67). Increased earth and ocean temperatures have resulted into increased rate of evaporation of water vapor from the seas into the atmosphere. Just to be appreciated is the fact that such water vapor condenses in the atmosphere to produce conventional type of rainfall along the coastal regions.
Still, it is worth noting that due to the high temperatures caused by global warming the rate of water evaporation is quite high. Such is the reason for the common occurrence of flood rains in the coastal regions. Destructive wind and rain storms as well as heat waves are also effects of global warming (Gore 14). From scientific principles, wind is caused by expansion of air. Also, wind is responsible for the transferring of water favor from region to region, thus influencing rain patterns. The world has been marked with unpredictable and destructive winds.
This has been closely attributed to the increase in the temperatures of the earth surface which result into expansion of air. It is these strong winds which transfer water vapor from region to region, a factor that compromises the predictability of weather patterns. A good example of this effect is the hurricane Katrina storm in America which killed numerous Americans and destroyed property worth billions on the southern region of the United States of America. Another example is the Greece heat waves which have resulted into lose of life and property (Revkin).
These unpredictable climate conditions are to be blamed for the problem of food insecurity affecting the global community. Lastly, global warming has led to increased spreading of diseases across the globe (Michaels 98). Unlike during the past, diseases are no longer region specific. Such have been closely attributed to the changing of weather conditions of the different parts of the world as well as the action of wind in transporting the diseases across climatic regions. Still, the world is witnessing an increase in the number of skin cancer diseases (Kluger).
This has been associated with the increased level of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth surface due to global warming. Global warming is also blamed for increased tolerance of diseases to treatment. In conclusion, global warming is a real threat to the sustainable social and economic development of the human community. It is the reason behind food insecurity in the globe and a threat to life and property (Revkin). Another effective of global warming is that it has led to reduction in the level of ice and glaciers reserves in the world.
Since the main cause of global warming has been associated with man’s activities such as industrialization and deforestation, there is need for devotion of global efforts towards the adoption of environment friendly production processes. References Gore, Albert. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. New York: Rodale, 2006. Hudson, Paul. “What Happened to Global Warming? ” What Happened to Global Warming? 9 Oct. 2009. 19 Mar. 2010. <http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/8299079. stm> Kluger, Jeffrey. “Global Warming Heats Up.
” Global Warming Heats Up. 26 Mar. 2006. 19 Mar. 2010. <http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1176980,00. html> Michaels, Patrick. Meltdown: The predictable distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media. New York: Cato institute, 2004. Pierce, Richard. Energy Independence and Global Warming. Environmental Law 37 (2007): 112-201. Revkin, Andrew. “A Shift in the Debate Over Global Warming. ” A Shift in the Debate Over Global Warming. 6 Apr. 2008. 19 Mar. 2010. <http://www. nytimes. com/2008/04/06/weekinreview/06revkin. html>