Global Warming; Fact or Fiction? Essay

Submitted By drewrancourt
Words: 1765
Pages: 8

Global Warming: Fact Or Fiction? Global warming has always been a controversial issue. There are few skeptics, but those who are believe that these changes are a natural part of the earth’s climate cycles and variations, and that we shouldn’t try to stop them. However, many scientists and advocates of climate change know that ocean disruptions, extreme weather events, record temperatures, retreating glaciers and consequently rising sea levels are all examples of global, incontrovertible evidence that climate change is not only happening, but is not entirely a natural occurrence. The term greenhouse gases is often referred to, but few know the meaning or significance in relation to global warming. The sun is our source of light and heat, and is what has made life on this earth possible. The sun radiates heat and light in the form of light waves, which essentially would turn the earth to rock had it not been for the layers of protection outside our planet (Gore). The atmospheric layer contains a delicate balance of many essential gases and molecules that reflect the sun’s radiation and keep our world optimal temperature for life (Suzuki,1). (See image 1). Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, slupher hexafluoride and methane are the six main Rancourt 2 naturally occurring gases in our atmosphere. Ozone, a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms (O3) lies in our stratospheric layer (Mungall and McLaren, 19) and absorbs lethal, ultraviolet radiation. Put simply, without this little molecule, there would be no human race. However, what scientists all over the world have come to realize, in short, is that we are mindlessly and irreversibly throwing away our only chance at survival. Mankind disperses over fifty thousand unnaturally occurring compounds into our atmosphere, and the result? Chaos. Since the start of the industrial era, methane –a previously mentioned atmospheric gas—has doubled in concentration (Lerner an Lerner, 259). CO2 –another atmospheric gas—has risen thirty-two percent (Suzuki, 1) In the last six hundred fifty thousand years, the CO2 level has never gone above three hundred ppm (Gore). It has now. The atmospheric layer (including ozone) is not absorbing enough heat, and as a result, the earth is absorbing that heat, creating a global warming. Since 1900, the average global temperature has risen 0.6 °C (Suzuki, 1). It may not seem like a lot, but the earth is warmer than it has been in the last one thousand years. (See image 2) Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) are one of the many compounds we release. CFC’s are found in things like aerosol sprays and appliances. They are also responsible for the growing hole in the ozone over the Arctic (Mungall and McLaren, 19-23). Ironically enough, the part of our world that keeps out heat is diminishing over one of the coldest places on the planet. Perhaps if the same scenario had happened in an already temperate location, the Rancourt 3 results would have been more dramatic and people would start to understand that the world is changing, and in no small part to us. However, there are dramatic consequences of these CFC’s. New data from an Arctic climate research project shows that there is forty percent less sea ice near the pole than in 1976 (Mungall and McLaren, 17), only 37 years ago. (See image 3). A research project that started only forty years ago shows that Arctic ice-caps are thinning at a rate of almost one percent each year (Barr, 18), which means that in sixty-seventy years, there will be no more Arctic ice-caps. In 1969, Dr. Roy Koerner, a Canadian government glaciologist, crossed the Arctic ocean from Alaska, to the North Pole, to Norway by