Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans in recent decades, and projected evaluations on how this is set to continue in the future. It is predicted that global temperatures could increase by 1.1 to 6.4°C between now and 2100. It is difficult to predict a more exact temperature as we do not know the amount of greenhouse gases that man will produce in this time.
Global warming is caused when carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet at a temperature where humans, animals and plants can live. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil and cutting down forests humans have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and hence the overall temperatures are rising.
Scientists agree that global warming is happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. We’re already seeing changes, glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing.
The global warming effect on animals could show faster than the effects on humans, we can adapt, as can animals to an extent, but maybe not fast enough?
It is thought that deaths from global warming will double in the next 25 years. The number of Category 4/5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years and they are becoming even stronger and more prolonged.
Sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide, and the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050, which will lead to the extinction of animals and plants in this area which depend on the ice. At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles to escape the increasing heat.
Heat waves will be more frequent and hotter than previously, making droughts and fires more possible in areas where these problems were never faced. Even mosquitoes are able to survive in areas where 20 years ago they would have perished, meaning that Malaria is spreading, which will claim human lives over the coming decades.
You will find below a selection of useful information sites and resources
BBC Weather - The BBC Weather Centre provides UK and Worldwide weather services and maps for temperature, wind, satellite, pressure and radar.
Met Office - Weather and climate change
Climate Change - Climate change is a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years.
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