Running Head: IS THE THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMING REAL?
IS THE THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMING REAL? 8
Is the Threat of Global Warming Real?
Is the Threat of Global Warming Real?
The Wall Street Journal used to run an editorial in 2012 about the denial of global warming. This editorial showed that climate change was not real. However, it was written by many people who were not climate scientists themselves. One of them was Richard Lindzen, who was a global warming denier and at the same time a denier of the concept that smoking causes cancer (Prothero, 2012). With these kinds of people denying global warming and with the concrete evidence that global warming exists, the threat of global warming is real.
Definition of Global Warming
Global warming is defined as “the slow increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere” due to the “increased amount of heat energy striking the earth from the sun” which is trapped in the atmosphere instead of being radiated into space (WarmHeatWorldwide.org, 2018). The old term for global warming was “greenhouse effect” and the relatively new collective term is “climate change.”
Evidence for Global Warming
The answer to the 16 authors of the opinion editorial who denied the existence of global warming is a series of confirmed scientific evidence. One of this is a Feb. 2, 2012 confirmation of an 18-mile crack that appeared in Antarctica, and was later on confirmed to have been caused by heat (Prothero, 2012). It is interesting that this crack occurred only a few days after the editorial of the 16 authors denied the existence of global warming. Perhaps then, when one denies something, he will find all the evidence against it. However, one should understand that the final arbiter when it comes to evidence should be science, or empirical and verified information.
One of the first proofs that science offers in order to prove the existence of global warming is the temperature scale from the year 0 CE. The Moberg et al. plot of 2000 years shows the temperature increase since the year 1800 and the increase has been sharp (see Figure 1 below). One should also see that the Medieval Warm Period from 900-1200 AD was nothing compared to the warming since 1800 (Prothero, 2012). Temperature ranges from 1880 to the present from three independent sources also confirm the objective existence of global warming (see Figure 2 below).
Figure 1. Temperature of the earth.
Figure 2. Temperature of the earth from 3 sources.
Another proof of the reality and truth of global warming is the carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere in the last 200 years. In fact, the data for the carbon dioxide increase in the past 900 years has been derived from ice cores, tree rings, corals and many direct measurements. The carbon dioxide levels were relatively even since 10,000 years ago and even the past 1000 years. However, the last 200 years, when the Industrial Revolution began, there was massive deforestation and pollution level increases due to extensive machine use (Prothero, 2012). The climate record and carbon dioxide increase data from EPICA from Antarctica over the past 650,000 years shows everything (see Figure 3 below).
Figure 3. Carbon dioxide levels of the earth.
Another proof of the truth of global warming is the melting polar ice caps. The thinning and breaking of the polar icecaps have been measured by scientific instruments. Moreover, the Antarctic has been found to be thawing much faster in the last 20 years. Data for the past 3 million years shows consistency of polar ice caps levels and even the warmest times of the past 10,000 years. However, the Industrial Revolution once more is to blame for the melting, since the data coincided with the increase in the warming and the increase in the carbon dioxide levels.
There are also melting glaciers. Glaciers have all been retreating at much faster rates than ever before. These glaciers, as measured by scientific instruments, were the glaciers of the Himalayas, Andes, Sierras and Alps. In fact, along with the disappearance of the ice, there have been drought and heat wave occurrences especially in 2009 and 2010. There have also been migrations of disease-causing mosquitoes, and other dangerous pests.
Another scientific evidence of the global warming phenomenon is the rise in the sea levels. Scientific instruments have confirmed that the rising of the sea levels is 3-4 mm every year at present, while it was only rising 0.1-0.2 mm in the past 3000 years. In fact, just a mere 1.3 m rise of sea level would already drown Venice or New Orleans or other low-lying cities. That will also naturally pose as a threat to coastal cities like Washington DC, Miami, Shanghai, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York (Prothero, 2012).
Other proofs of the truth of global warming are those provided by NASA. According to NASA, which is a very reliable authority in terms of space and atmosphere, oceans have absorbed so much heat, Greenland and Antarctica have also considerably increased in mass. Glaciers have retreated in almost every place in the world, the polar ice caps have melted, the thickness of the Arctic sea ice has decreased, intense rainfall has increased, and most of the ocean has acidified (NASA, 2018). These data are backed by numbers from scientific instruments.
Evidence Against Global Warming
The people who did not believe the existence of global warming contended that it is just another “natural climate variability” (Prothero, 2012). However, it is clear that from a long study of many interglacial periods, the last two centuries was really different in terms of temperature.
Another person said that “it’s just another warming episode just like the Medieval Warm period in the year 900 CE” (Prothero, 2012). However, although there was slight warming during these times in the world, from 900-1200 CE, there is really obviously a strong increase in the temperature of the last two centuries.
Someone also said that “it’s just the sun or cosmic rays” (Prothero, 2012). However, this cannot be possible since the sun has been increasing in terms of the heat that it provides since 1940 (Prothero, 2012). One can see in Figure 4 below that solar activity and temperature have no correlation. Also there is no evidence of cosmic rays or volcanic eruptions as the culprit (Prothero, 2012).
Figure 4. Temperature and Solar Activity.
Other people also mentioned that the earth has in fact been cooling since 1995 or 1998. However, the 16 hottest years ever recorded included 2010, 2009, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2001, 2008, and 2000 (Prothero, 2012). These are years after 1998 but they are still very hot. In addition, some people said that there were cold winters in 2009, 2010, and 2011. However, it is clear that despite these cold winters, the global climate has become warmer than the average (Prothero, 2012).
Some people also claimed that carbon dioxide would be “good for plants” anyway. However, the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air is something beyond what the ocean and the world’s plants and forests can handle. Besides, deforestation also happens at a fast rate. That can therefore contribute to too much carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere (Prothero, 2012).
Lastly, there were some who said that the carbon dioxide that warms the atmosphere is coming from space anyway. However, accurate scientific tools prove that these CO2 amounts are coming mostly from the burning of fossil fuels, and that is entirely a human activity (Prothero, 2012).
Threats of Global Warming
Global warming is a horrible phenomenon that has harmful effects on the human community, human health, and our climate. The immediate threats are rising sea levels, large wildfires and dangerous heat waves. Moreover, there are severe droughts and extreme storms too (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2018).
Based on the US Environmental Protection Agency, other consequences include heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, the possibility of snowstorms and sandstorms, as well as the extinction of species due to extreme temperature changes (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2018).
Indeed, global warming is a real threat to mankind. Science has proven the evidence, and science has proven the counterarguments wrong. Science has also used scientific instruments in order give an accurate and objective appraisal of the carbon dioxide content, temperature, and other factors in the atmosphere. Thus, either we believe the deniers and wait for our death, or we do something now. There is no cost at all and in fact so much advantage if we believe that global warming is real, whether or not it is true. However, there is so much to lose if we do not believe it, whether it is actually true or not.
NASA. (2018). Climate Change: How Do We Know. Retrieved from: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Prothero, D. R. (2012). How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused. Retrieved from Skeptic: https://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-02-08/?gclid=CjwKCAiA9K3gBRA4EiwACEhFe2EyiEUtLUxDN34_J4iPzYEAbUB0wn3CurSBqUnNvW4_79XU2qFGHhoCreIQAvD_BwE#feature
Union of Concerned Scientists. (2018). Confronting the Realities of Climate Change. Retrieved from: https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming#.XAw98B4zbIU
US Environmental Protection Agency. (2018). Climate Change Impacts. Retrieved from: https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climate-impacts_.html
WarmHeartWorldwide.org. (2018). Climate Change Primer. Retrieved from: https://warmheartworldwide.org/climate-change/?gclid=CjwKCAiA9K3gBRA4EiwACEhFe0VBvmfVXOTFCRNFoI-SH3iXcuEJWq8MGDrlNpA4e27jqY_v47D2uRoCMKIQAvD_BwE