Among the most controversial topics in physical science, global warming has received a great deal of attention during the past decade. Given its great impacts on both humans and the environment, lawmakers and scientists should weigh carefully the presented information in order to find out and cope with the main issues causing ecological problems and climate change. The research seeks to elucidate the scientific basis of global warming and the human role in this phenomenon as well as ways of resolving this problem.
The scientists distinguish natural and anthropogenic climate changes. Volcanic emissions and “orbital variations of the Sun initiate global warming” (Hilderman, 2011). Still, the researches reveal that the level of sun activity and the amount of volcanic outburst is low enough to affect the climate change, which is observed nowadays. The data related to the previous climate change in the Earth history evidence that it took thousands years for the sun and volcanoes to influence it. On the contrary, greenhouse effect considerably destroys the energy balance of the planet. Irrational human activities and a rapid development of heavy industry led to a huge carbon emission and accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, which resulted in more serious environmental consequences. “Variations in the energy balance lead to changes in the distribution and patterns of air temperature, rainfall, hydrology, polar sea ice and glacier mass” (“Distinguishing Natural Climate Variability from Anthropogenic Climate Change,” n.d.).
Negative natural and anthropogenic reasons of climate changes prove that global warming is taking place. “The global average temperature increased by more than 1.3°F over the last century” (“Climate Change,” n.d.). The change led to heat waves all over the world. The fact is rather dangerous for human organism. As a result, only in Japan about 55 000 people have suffered from an abnormal heat and more than 300 people died this year. It is obvious that the global size of this problem is huge.
The increase in global temperature led to melting glaciers and rising sea level. For instance, Montana’s Glacier National Park has lost 123 glaciers since 1910. Moreover, warmer water in seas and oceans affected their flora and fauna. “Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in response to stress – ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent” (“Global Warming Fast Facts,” n.d.).
In fact, human footprint can be traced in Gulf Stream cooling. The oil industry, which is highly developed near the British islands, has a negative impact on temperature balance of water in the ocean. The latest data reveal that the numerous oil spills have resulted in Gulf Stream cooling. The scientists raise the alarm because Great Britain and then Europe will experience terrible consequences of this phenomenon. There will be as cold winters as in Siberia and much colder summers.
Rising temperature has also affected the number of floods on the planet. For instance, in June 2013 heavy rainfalls caused huge floods in Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France and Austria. The flood loss is about several millions euro.
In order to ameliorate the situation on the planet and reduce a negative impact of global warming on plants, animals and humans, scientists search for various mitigation strategies. There are several effective projects for now. Still, they have to be thoroughly investigated from the point of view of potential costs and policy implications.
Biochar is one of current mitigation strategies, which deserve scientists’ attention. The substance is created from the biomass synthesized by plants from carbon dioxide. Then it is returned to the soil and kept there. Biochar was believed to be a good solution as it decreases the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and increases soil fertility. That is why in 2010, the federal legislation proposed to use this strategy for domestic use. Moreover, wide presentation program of biochar as low cost strategy and its evident benefits seemed to prove that soon it could be widely applied all over the world. However, there are facts that “it is too early to rely on biochar as an effective climate mitigation tool or to devote public resources to biochar deployment for that purpose” (“Biochar as a Climate Change Mitigate Strategy,” n.d.).
Clean coal technology is another alternative mitigation strategy. It consists in converting coal into more effective fuel with low level of pollutant substances. There are several ways of decreasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One of them is conversion of CO2 into liquid, which is not the final stage of carbon dioxide utilization. The second one is extraction of hydrogen from water with the help of coal. Such a technology is expensive. Still, as coal is the main fuel along with oil, scientists are working on improving the technology in order to decrease a negative effect on the environment.
In order to stabilize global climate, there should be implemented strict standards in heavy industry, oil industry, chemical and automobile industry. These ones use more fuel and provoke more concentrated emission of carbon dioxide and dangerous chemical substances into the atmosphere. Different strategies of energy saving and clean fuel technologies should be applied. Until people use cars with petrol engine, any penalties for polluting the environment are not sufficient.
To sum it up, global warming is really taking place. Numerous facts of rising temperature and climate change prove this statement. Human actions bring more harm than solar or volcano activity. Still, there should be applied mitigation strategies able to save the planet for people.
Biochar as a climate change mitigate strategy. (2012). Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/forest_solutions/biochar-climate-change-mitigation-strategy.html
Distinguishing natural climate variability from anthropogenic climate change. (n.d.). USGS: Science for a Changing World. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/clu_rd/pt_nat_climate.asp
Global warming fast facts. (n.d.). National Geographic News. Retrieved August 28, 2013, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html
Hilderman, R. (2011). The role of natural and anthropogenic forces in climate change. Mother Earth News: the Original Guide to Living Wisely. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/the-role-of-natural-anthropogenic-forces-in-climate-change.aspx#axzz2dFB3I4cc
Science | Climate change | US EPA. (n.d.). EPA: US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/overview.html