Global Warming


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Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution brought many new, exciting inventions into our lives to simplify our lives and make it more efficient. Before the Industrial Revolution, human activities caused very few gases to be released into the atmosphere, but now, through the burning of fossil fuels, a large population growth, and deforestation, humans are affecting the mixture of gases in the atmosphere. This mixture of gases in the atmosphere is causing the worldwide problem known as Global Warming.


What is global warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature, over the past century, primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels. It happens when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and methane) trap heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which increases the temperature. In response to the sun, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases, trap the energy leaving the earth, retaining it as heat, much like a greenhouse ceiling. This is a natural and necessary effect, without it temperatures on earth would be much lower than what they are now, and life, as it is today, would not be possible. The greenhouse effect makes the earth appropriate for people to live on. Without it, the earth would be freezing, or on the other hand it would be burning hot.

Effects of global warming

The problems that have arisen with the greenhouse effect have occurred due to the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. The impact of global warming is far greater than just increasing temperatures.

Warming modifies rainfall patterns, amplifies coastal erosion, lengthens the growing season in some regions, melts ice caps and glaciers, and alters the ranges of some infectious diseases. Also global warming makes the sea rise, and when the sea rises, the water covers many low land islands. Already, the rise in global temperatures has resulted in cracks in the Antarctic ice shelf. Melting of even a fraction of the volume of polar ice can result in flooding of many low lying areas around the earth. Other climate changes include floods, droughts, storms and exceptionally warm summers.


This is a big problem for many of the plants, animals, and people living on islands. The flood water covers the plants and causes some of them to die. When they die, the animals lose a source of food, along with their habitat. When the plants and animals die, people lose two sources of food, plant food and animal food. They may also lose their homes. As a result, they would also have to leave the area or die. This would be called a break in the food chain.

The pollution that causes global warming is linked to acid rain. Acid rain gradually destroys almost everything it touches. Global warming is also destroying many huge forests. It is causing fires that wipe out whole forests. This happens because global warming can make the earth very hot. And in forests, some plants and trees have leaves that can be so dry that they easily catch on fire.


Causes of global warming

Many things cause global warming. One of these causes is electrical pollution. Electricity causes pollution in many ways. In most cases, fossil fuels are burned to create electricity. Fossil fuels are made of dead plants and animals. Some examples of fossil fuels are oil and petroleum. Many pollutants are sent into the air when fossil fuels are burned. We use these sources of energy much more than the sources that give off less pollution. Petroleum, one of the sources of energy, is used a lot. It is used for transportation, making electricity, and making many other things. Also when we throw our garbage away, the garbage goes to landfills. The garbage is then sometimes burned. This sends an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses into the air and makes global warming worse.

Another thing that makes global warming worse is when people cut down trees. Trees and other plants collect carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a greenhouse gas. With fewer trees, it is harder for people to breathe because there is more CO2 in the air, and we don’t breathe CO2, we breathe oxygen. Deforestation reduces this utilization of carbon-dioxide. Consumption of fossil fuels and house-hold fuels, like coal and firewood, also gives off considerable amount of carbon-dioxide. With fewer trees, there is less air for us, and more greenhouse gases sent into the air. This means that it is very important to protect our trees to stop the greenhouse effect, and also so we can breathe and live.

How to prevent global warming?

Prevention is always better than cure. It can be best carried out by checking atmospheric pollution. Deforestation should be stopped. Wood should be used as little as possible. Bricks houses should be encouraged, as they retain less heat. Thus they are well suited to Indian climate.

Planting trees and recycling also helps. If you recycle, less trash goes to the dump, and less trash gets burned. As a result, there are fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. LPG stove should be used which results in greater efficiency in fuel utilization and less atmospheric pollution. Renewable sources of energy like solar energy and wind energy should be used more and more. Hydro-electricity is also of considerable use.

People are doing many things to try to stop global warming. One such activity is ‘carpooling’. Carpooling is driving with someone to a place that you are both going to. This minimizes the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air by a car. Another thing that people are doing is that they are being more careful about electrical appliances turned on, like the television, computer, and the lights. Now, more and more people are even riding buses, walking to school, and riding their bikes to lower the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. Moreover, development of more efficient vehicles would also result in less consumption of fuel, and, therefore, less atmospheric pollution.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This abstract, along with a .ppt, was presented by Varun Maheshwari and Rachit Sharma in the Thapar University Annual Techfest "Aranya", and it won the 2nd prize in the contest. Unfortunately, Varun could not be reached for the Author Bio, due to his exams.


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