Global Warming Research Papers Examples
1.1 Methods 4
1.2 Evidence 4
1.3 Causes 6
2. Anthropogenic Activity and the Greenhouse Effect 6
2.1 Factors Accelerating Global Warming 7
2.2 Factors Slowing Global Warming 7
3. Possible Scenarios of Global Climate Change 7
4. Effects of Global Warming 8
4.1 Solutions 9
5. Arguments 10
5.1 Arguments against anthropogenic climate change 10
5.2 Arguments for anthropogenic climate change 11
Global warming – or climate change as it is now more commonly referred to – has emerged as a hot topic issue in the past thirty years. Old hypotheses are constantly being refuted and new solutions are being increasingly suggested as the effects of global environmental change become more palpable. Humans all over the globe are facing the real threats of climate change yet information available on the subject is often contradictory or misleading. It can be extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction – especially when one is not especially well-versed in scientific methods or experienced with reading technical publications. Global warming for many has become a “global confusion” and some have lost all interest in climate change or become apathetic to finding or applying solutions. The following essay is an attempt to systematize the information available.
In the first section of this argumentative essay general information about global warming, methods for obtaining information on climate change, evidence of global warming and causes of global warming is examined. The second section discusses the relationship between humans and climate, as well as the greenhouse effect and the factors that enhance and reduce global warming. In the third section possible scenarios of global climate change are considered and in the fourth section the effect of global warming as well as the thoughts of different scientists about solving the problem are put forth.
Global warming is the gradual increase of average annual temperatures of Earth’s atmosphere and the ocean’s surface layer. The phrase “greenhouse effect” is often used as a synonym for global warming and there is little difference between these concepts. The greenhouse effect is the increase in average annual temperature of the surface layer of Earth’s atmosphere and of the oceans as a result of growth in the Earth’s atmosphere concentrations of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, etc. These gases act as a film or glass in a greenhouse; they are free to pass the sun’s rays to the Earth’s surface and trap heat, leaving the atmosphere of the planet filled with gases (Simon 2010).
In the 1960s, global warming and the greenhouse effect emerged as relevant global issues. The UN global climate change conference was first founded in 1980. Since then, many scientists have been dealing with this issue with some refuting the theory and others challenging skeptics’ assumptions in aim of generating climate literacy (Weart 2003).
Obtaining information on climate change is enabled by existing technologies which allow us to reliably judge climate change impacts. In justifying their theories of climate change, scientists use the following “tools”: historical annals and chronicles, meteorological observations, satellite measurements of sea ice, vegetation, climatic zones and atmospheric processes, analysis of fossils (the remains of ancient plants and animals) and archaeological data, analysis of sedimentary rocks and ocean sediments of rivers, analysis of ancient ice in the Arctic and Antarctica (the ratio of isotopes O16 and O18), measuring the rate of melting of glaciers and permafrost, the intensity of formation of icebergs, observation of the Earth’s ocean currents, atmospheric and oceanic chemical composition monitoring, monitoring changes in habitat of living organisms, and analysis of the annual rings of trees and chemical composition of plant tissues of organisms.
Paleontological evidence suggests that the Earth’s climate has not been constant. Warm periods alternated with cold glacial periods. During warmer periods of the annual average temperature of the Arctic latitudes was raised to 7 – 13 ° C and the temperature of the coldest month of January was 6.4 degrees.
Humanity has also witnessed a series of climatic changes. At the beginning of the second millennium (11-13 century) historical records indicate that a large area of Greenland was not covered with ice (which is why the Norwegian sailors dubbed it “green earth”). As the Earth’s climate became more severe, Greenland became almost entirely covered with ice. In the 15-17th century, severe winters reached its apogee.
In 1940 warming was replaced by short-term cooling; and since 1979 there has been a rapid increase in the temperature of the surface layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which accelerated melting ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and increased winter temperatures in temperate latitudes. For the past 50 years, the thickness of Arctic sea ice has decreased by 40% and residents of several Siberian cities have remarked that hard frosts have long remained in the past (Patterson 2010). The average winter temperature in Siberia rose by almost ten degrees in the last fifty years. Habitat of many living organisms has shifted to the north after experiencing increases in average winter temperatures.
Over the last hundred years, the average temperature of the surface layer of the atmosphere has increased by 0.3-0.8°C, the area of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased by 8%, and the global sea level has risen by an average of 10-20 centimeters.
Until now, scientists could not with 100% certainty say that humans cause climate change (Casper 2010). Considerable evidence of global warming has emerged around the world. Perhaps the most empirical change is that of melting mountain glaciers particularly in the Alps. Melting ice is attributed to sea level rise over the last decade of the last century. Noticeable changes include the melting of shelf (coastal) glaciers in Antarctica. However, the Antarctic shield does not only melt, but also increases in some instances (Weart 2003).
Penetration of solar radiation is determined primarily by solar activity. A number of researchers believe solar activity is the leading factor causing global warming. They suggest that the increase in the average temperature over the past century and a half is defined by a fifty percent increase in solar activity and only ten percent by increasing concentration of greenhouse gases. Their main argument is that from 1850 to 1985 the change of air temperature at the Earth’s surface has strikingly been in accordance with the progress of solar activity. Since 1985 this relationship has disappeared. Another strong argument for supporters of the solar hypothesis is the correlation between solar activity minimum (small number of sunspots on the visible hemisphere of the Sun) and periods of extreme cold weather climate in Europe over historical time. The Maunder minimum corresponds to the “Little Ice Age” in Europe in the winter of years 1645-1715. Moreover, climatologists have another indicator of solar activity – the concentration of the isotope beryllium-10 in the bottom of the ocean sediments. In contrast to the spots on the sun, the beryllium method allows us to trace variations in solar activity for many hundreds and even thousands of years ago. And it turned out that out of ten “small ice ages”, recorded paleoclimatology methods, starting with the ninth millennium BC nine coincide with the minimum of solar activity; another strong argument in favor of the solar hypothesis.
However, solar activity is not the only influence on the penetration of solar radiation into the atmosphere. Another factor which is purely astronomical is the change in the intensity of solar radiation when the distance of the Earth from the sun (due to variation of the eccentricity, that is, the degree of elongation of the Earth’s orbit) and the tilt of Earth’s axis changes. These factors are called the Milankovitch cycles and are perfectly correlated with the cycles of glaciation according to real ice cores in Antarctica. Milankovitch theory helps explain the change in the Earth’s climate over the past four thousand years. This purely astronomical theory has little opposition (Black and Weisel 2010).
Not all solar energy reaches the top of the atmosphere to fall back on the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back into space and the proportion of reflected radiation is called albedo. Albedo depends on the nature of the underlying surface: water surface reflects only eight percent of the solar energy since water is very good heat storage while deserts and ice cover up to one third Earth’s land and reflect the most albedo – eighty percent. An important contribution to albedo is that it brings transparency of the atmosphere, which is determined by the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere – most of these are particles of soot, ash and sulfur oxides. The main suppliers of aerosols are volcanoes and industrial emissions – mainly power plants, coal, and transportation. Aerosols reflect solar radiation and thereby cool the Earth. Aerosol climate variability hypothesis also has many supporters. There is even an aerosol project to combat global warming by throwing millions of tons of aerosols into the stratosphere to reduce the incidence of solar radiation on Earth.
2. Anthropogenic activity and the greenhouse effect
Proponents of the hypothesis that humans play a key role in global warming and radically change the composition of the atmosphere, support that we are responsible for contributing to the growth of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect in the atmosphere of our planet is caused by the fact that the flow of energy in the infrared range of the spectrum, rises from the Earth’s surface, is absorbed by the molecules of the atmospheric gases and radiates back apart. This results in half of greenhouse gas molecules absorbed energy returning back to the earth’s surface, causing it warm up. It should be noted that the greenhouse effect is a natural atmospheric phenomenon. If the world did not have the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of our planet would be about -21 ° C and due to greenhouse gases it is + 14 ° C. Therefore, theoretically, human activities, which increase the greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, should lead to further heating of the planet (Edmonds and Saunders 1997).
2.1 Factors accelerating global warming
Since Earth is a complex system, there are many factors that directly or indirectly affect the climate of the planet, speeding up or slowing down global warming. These factors include the emission of CO2, methane, nitrous oxide as a result of anthropogenic activity of man, expansion of water molecules due to temperature increase, and increases in geochemical carbonate sources with evolution of CO2. The earth's crust contains a carbon bound up to 50000 times larger than in the atmosphere and increased content in the atmosphere of water vapor is due to the increase in temperature and hence evaporation of water and oceans. CO2 emissions in the oceans are due to its heating (gas solubility increases as temperature of the water falls) with increasing water temperature per degree CO2 solubility therein falling to 3%. The oceans contain 60 times more CO2 than the Earth’s atmosphere (140 billion tons).
Additional factors include decreases in the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity of the surface of the planet) due to melting glaciers and changes in vegetation dynamics. Also, sea surface reflects much less sunlight than the polar glaciers and snowy areas on planet – devoid of mountain glaciers – and also have a lower albedo. Northerly woody vegetation also has a lower albedo than tundra plants. Over the past five years, the Earth’s albedo has decreased by 2.5%, perhaps due to the release of methane from thawing permafrost and decomposition of methane hydrates – a crystalline compound icy water and methane contained in the polar regions of the Earth.
2.2 Factors slowing global warming
Some factors which are arguably slowing global warming include ocean currents slowing, slowing the warm Gulf Stream will cause a decrease in temperature in the Arctic, with an increase in temperature of the Earth increases volatility, and hence the Rain, which is a certain kind of barrier to sunlight. Area cloud grows by approximately 0.4% per degree of warming; With an increase in volatility increases the amount of rainfall, which contributes to waterlogging of land and swamps, are known to be one of the main depot of CO2, An increase in temperature will help to expand the area of warm seas, and thus increase the range of shellfish and coral reefs, these organisms are actively involved in the deposit of CO2, which goes to the construction of the shells, An increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere stimulates the growth and development of plants that are active acceptors (consumers) of this greenhouse gas.
3. Possible scenarios of global climate change
Global climate change is very complex, so modern science cannot give a definite answer about what we can expect in the near future. However there are a few developed scenarios:
Scenario 1 – global warming will occur gradually. Because our land is a large, complex system consisting of a large number of interconnected structural components, some expect global warming to result in slowly evolving changes. Changes in such a complex system cannot happen quickly. It will take centuries and millennia before we could judge any significant changes in climate.
Scenario 2 – Global warming in some parts of the Earth will change in a short-term, rapid progression. It is known that one of the factors is the emergence of ocean currents – the gradient (difference) between the Arctic temperatures and tropical waters. The melting of the polar ice caps contributes to the increasing temperature of the Arctic waters and thus causes a decrease in the temperature difference between the tropical and arctic waters, which inevitably, in the future will lead to slower currents. One of the most famous warm currents is the Gulf Stream; in many Nordic countries the average annual temperature is 10 degrees higher than in other similar climatic zones of the Earth. It is clear that stopping this oceanic heat conveyor will greatly affect the Earth’s climate.
Scenario 3 – Global warming will be replaced by global cooling (Worth 2003).
4. Effects of global warming
An increase in the average annual temperature of the surface layer of the atmosphere will be more strongly felt over the continents than over the oceans, which in the future will cause a radical restructuring of the natural areas of the continents. Displacement of a number of areas in the Arctic and Antarctic latitudes is currently taking place. Permafrost has already shifted to the north for hundreds of kilometers. Some scholars argue that due to the rapid melting of permafrost and sea level rise in recent years, the Arctic Ocean moves at an average speed of 3-6 meters over the summer. In the Arctic, islands and capes with very high rock will be destroyed and absorbed by the sea as the warm season speeds up to 20-30 meters.
Global warming will affect the habitats of animals. Changing habitats of living organisms has already been changing in many parts of the globe. Greenland has become a nesting site for blackbird but is being increasingly threatened. In the subarctic, Iceland’s starlings and swallows have sought refuge and in Britain, the white heron is threatened by global environmental change. This is especially noticeable in the warming of Arctic Ocean waters. Now, many commercial fish are found where none existed before. In the waters of Greenland, cod and herring has appeared in an amount sufficient to carry out their commercial fishing in the waters of the United Kingdom – the inhabitants of the southern latitudes.
An increase in temperature creates favorable conditions for the development of diseases, not only because of high temperature and humidity, but also by the expansion of the habitat of a number of animals – disease vectors. By the middle of the 21st century it is expected that the incidence of malaria will increase by 60%. Increased development of the microflora and lack of clean drinking water will contribute to the growth of infectious intestinal diseases. Proliferation of microorganisms in the air may increase the incidence of asthma, allergies and various respiratory diseases. Due to global climate change, the next half-century may be the last in the life of many species of living organisms. Already, polar bears, walruses and seals are deprived of an important component of their environment – the Arctic ice (Black and Weisel 2010).
Scientists have not only warned us of the threats of climate change but they also offer concrete measures to combat global warming. Several years ago, Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research suggested to combine two methods to combat global warming: we ought to not only significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases but also simultaneously cooling the Earth by sulfate injection into the stratosphere which blocks solar radiation. Computer simulation has shown the effectiveness of this approach. According to the method of Wigley, aerosol injections of sulfates into the stratosphere must be made at intervals from once a year to once every four years, depending on the situation. Number lump sum is thrown into the stratosphere of sulphate should be equal to the amount which has resulted from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (Philippines) in 1991. It was one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the twentieth century.
The advantage of the method of sulfate injection is that these injections, which cool the atmosphere may give humanity a reprieve for up to 20 years, so that we could rebuild the global economy and drastically reduce its impact on the Earth’s climate. Without this delay, we will be faced with a dilemma: we must both immediately and significantly cut back on greenhouse gas emissions or face the growing magnitude of climate catastrophe. But without any reduction of CO2 emissions, engineering will not help. Wigley writes, that CO2 – the reason for the increasing acidity of the world’s oceans – poses a significant threat to its ecosystems. And when you consider that most of the earth’s surface is ocean water, the violation of the natural balance of aquatic environment threatens the entire biosphere and life on Earth.
Scientists who resist the notion of climate change such as Dr. Spencer, try to attribute it to the nature of the destruction of nature. They ignore the huge amount of natural anomalies, previously unseen and clearly related to the pollution of the biosphere. For example, in US coastal waters in recent years, there has been a record number of cases of shark attacks on humans. The reason being that near the coast of the United States, we have exhausted virtually all fisheries resources (as a result of fishing and pollution). Therefore starving predators have to swim in shallow water where humans are found.
Additionally, the abnormal abundance of jellyfish is a palpable effect of climate change. Firstly, they survive in the polluted water in which the fish dies. Secondly, many kinds of fish feed jellyfish, and the less fish, the more jellyfish.
On Earth, we have seen increases in the occurrence of destructive hurricanes, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters. The scientific community is dominated by the view that these events are directly related to human activities. Global warming and the greenhouse effect, rapid deforestation, water pollution, dangerous oversupply of hydraulic structures, creating unstable giant voids underground as a result of the pumping of oil and gas, are the prices to pay for humanity reaping the bitter fruits of actions that violate the ecological balance of the planet. It is urgent to limit runaway economic growth as we enter stricter environmental limits. But the question arises of how to feed a growing world population? How do we get out of poverty, which 80% of the world population experiences? Even if we, the industrialized countries amicably agree to live poorer and consume less and cut out the main pollutants of the biosphere, the hungry “third world” would never agree to hinder their economic development.
5.1 Arguments against anthropogenic climate change
1. The climate is changing all the time. It changed before and will change in the future. Yes, climate change is a common phenomenon and is caused by changes in the Sun, volcanoes and other natural factors. But reviews of the history show how sensitive the planet is to greenhouse warming due to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and indicates that the forthcoming rise of CO2 can continue to be quite significant. At present, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 380 parts per million; in 1945 the figure was 320, while the global surface temperature for this time increased by 1.2 degrees. People continue to fill the atmosphere with carbon dioxide more and more rapidly. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations, over the next 5 years CO2 levels may exceed 400 parts per million.
2. Scientists cannot reach a consensus on climate change. Skeptics of climate issues indicated in a petition (Petition Project) signed by 31 thousand of scientists, testifying that the evidence produced by the warming of the atmosphere due to human carbon dioxide is missing. The website Climate Depot posted another list of one thousand scientists who disagree with human-induced global warming. But a detailed study does not support this assertion. Review of documents that mention global warming, published between 1993 and 2003 indicates that 75% of the publications expressed agreement with the statement that humans cause climate change; while 25% of this fact is not commented at all. In more recent studies, 3000 climate scientists (97% of whom have a doctorate or master's degree, compared to only 28% of the scientists who signed the petition with such degrees) found that 97.5% of scientists, who are actively working on the problem of climate change, agree with the fact that human activity significantly affects the increase in global temperature.
3. Scientific evidence on climate change is only looking for financial grants. Often scientists who publish research on climate change, complain that they do it to only to find funding, and therefore create unnecessary panic in society. But according to reliable sources, science is not so reliable on financial resources. In addition, the publications by climate scientists reviewed all over the world is conducted in a peer-reviewed manner by which scientists constantly check each other's work before and after publication.
4. Increases of global temperature are caused the sun and therefore there is little we can do. During a conference in 2004, scientists from the Institute of Astronomy in Zurich presented a paper in which they said that the Sun was more active in the past 60 years than in the previous one thousand years. In this study it was concluded that after 1975 solar activity had no relevant influence on the global temperature. Moreover, the document says that this recent warming must be due to another reason. Numerous other studies have shown that over the last 50 years, solar activity has declined, while the global temperature has increased.
5.2 Arguments for anthropogenic climate change
1. Mankind has caused a global increase of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the carbon dioxide content is currently 25% higher than the highest natural levels over the past 800,000 years. Part of the reason is due to the cutting of forests and the rest the burning of fossil fuels. How do we know that oil and coal contribute to increasing levels of CO2? The answer is very simple: emissions from fossil fuels leave another track, unlike the carbon dioxide produced by plants. According to a paper published in the Journal of Mass Spectrometry, studies can determine the source of carbon dioxide emissions on the content of the isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-13. Atmospheric levels of these isotopes indicate that the greatest source of emissions is now fossil fuels, not plants.
2. Arctic sea ice is melting. According to information obtained from the National Data Centre for Snow and Ice from satellites, the level of Arctic sea ice in February 2011 during the observation period in February 2005 was at an all-time low. During this period, the sea ice covered 5.54 million square kilometers, while from 1979-2000 this area was 6.04 million square kilometers. This does not mean that all the ice melts. The level of sea ice in Antarctica over the past 30 years has increased, but in accordance with the study, the causes are increased precipitation, mainly snow, which in turn came as a result of a higher level of humidity in the air due to climate change. This has stabilized the ice shelf and reduced the amount of melting that would have taken place due to ocean warming.
3. Ocean acidification is growing due to rising CO2 levels. The oceans are natural carbon sinks; they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. But with increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and also increases in the ocean, the level of acidity (pH) increases to the point where it is be harmful to marine life. According to data presented during the second symposium on "The Ocean in a high CO2 world", ocean acidity has increased by 30% since the Industrial Revolution and is up to 100 times faster than any change in the last 20 million years. A study published in the journal Nature" indicates that ocean uptake of CO2 from fossil fuels can make the pH higher in the next few centuries than at the expected geologic rate for the last 300 million years.
Recent data obtained in the processing of incoming satellite images do not confirm the prospect of a global disaster as presented by pessimistic scientists. This gives us hope that humanity will be able to cope with the impending threat of global environmental change. For example, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by improving energy efficiency, reducing heat loss and fuel, modernization and energy complex, the transition to safer fuels (e.g. from fuel oil to gas), due to deceleration of consumption of fossil fuels - the resource, as well-known, essentially non-renewable, due to the development of alternative, environmentally friendly energy technologies. We need to do all this even if in the end it turns out that the measures have had no impact on global warming for it will create a better, safer world and their benefits exceed the losses incurred. The main conclusion is that completely stop global warming is no longer possible, but it is necessary to exert maximum effort to minimize its negative effects.
Black, Brian, and Gary J Weisel. Global Warming. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2010.
Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery Of Global Warming. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.
Casper, Julie Kerr. Changing Ecosystems. New York: Facts on File, 2010.
Patterson, Tom. 'Mapping Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska'. Cartographic Perspectives, no. 67: 29-42. doi:10.14714/cp67.112, 2010.
Gibbons, Mark J., and Anthony J. Richardson. 'Patterns Of Jellyfish Abundance In The North Atlantic'. Hydrobiologia 616 (1): 51-65. doi:10.1007/s10750-008-9593-8, 2008.
Simon, Seymour. Global Warming. New York: Collins, 2010.
Edmonds, Alex, and Mike Saunders. The Greenhouse Effect. Brookfield, Conn.: Copper Beech Books, 2010.
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