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Sadia Qureshi (62695)

Hina Qureshi (62694)

Uroosa Farooq (62634)

Areej Naz (62502)


GLOBAL WARMING AND ITS CAUSES

INTRODUCTION

The continuous rise in temperature of the planet is really upsetting. The root cause for
this is global warming. Global warming begins when sunlight reaches the Earth. The
clouds, atmospheric particles, reflective ground surfaces and surface of oceans then sends
back about 30 % of sunlight back into the space, whilst the remaining is absorbed by oceans,
air and land. This consequently heats up the surface of the planet and atmosphere, making
life feasible. As the Earth warms up, this solar energy is radiated by thermal radiation and
infrared rays, propagating directly out to space thereby cooling the Earth. However, some of the
outgoing radiation is re-absorbed by carbon dioxide, water vapours, ozone, methane and
other gases in the atmosphere and is radiated back to the surface of Earth. These gases are
commonly known as greenhouse gases due to their heat-trapping capacity. It must be noted that
this re-absorption process is actually good as the Earth’s average surface temperature would be
very cold if there was no existence of greenhouse gases. The dilemma began when the
concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was artificially increased by humankind
at an alarming rate since the past two centuries. As of 2004, over 8 billion tons of carbon
dioxide was pumped thermal radiation is further hindered by increased levels of greenhouse
gases resulting in a phenomenon known as human enhanced global warming effect. Recent
observations regarding global warming have substantiated the theory that it is indeed a
human enhanced greenhouse effect that is causing the planet to heat up. The planet has
experienced the largest increase in surface temperature over the last 100 years. Between
augmented between 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius, however the last 50 years saw the rate of
temperature increase nearly doubling. Sea levels have shown a rise of about 0.17 meters during
the 20th century. The extent of Arctic sea ice has steadily reduced by 2.7 % per decade
since 1978.

Millions of pounds of methane gas are generated in landfills and agricultural decomposition
of biomass and animal manure. Nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere by various
nitrogen-based fertilizers including urea and diammonium phosphate and other soil
management utilizations. Once released, these greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for
decades or even longer. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
carbon dioxide and methane levels have increased by 35 % and 148 % since the industrial
revolution of 1750.

HISTORY
Back in the 1890s, however, the concept of warming the planet was remote an d even
welcomed. As Arrehenius wrote, “By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic
acid [CO2] in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better
climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth.”

By the 1930s, at least one scientist would start to claim that carbon emissions might
already be having a warming effect. British engineer Guy Stewart Callendar noted that the
United States and North Atlantic region had warmed significantly on the heels of
the Industrial Revolution. Callendar’s calculations suggested that a doubling of CO2 in
Earth’s atmosphere could warm Earth by 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). He would continue to
argue into the 1960s that a greenhouse-effect warming of the planet was underway.While
Callendar’s claims were largely met with skepticism, he managed to draw attention to the
possibility of global warming. That attention played a part in garnering some of the first
government-funded projects to more closely monitor climate and CO2 levels.

Global Warming Gets Real

The early 1980s would mark a sharp increase in global temperatures. Many experts point to
1988 as a critical turning point when watershed events placed global warming in the
spotlight.The summer of 1988 was the hottest on record (although many since then have
been hotter). 1988 also saw widespread drought and wildfires within the United
States.Scientists sounding the alarm about climate change began to see media and the
public paying closer attention. NASA scientist James Hansen delivered testimony and
presented models to congress in June of 1988, saying he was “99 percent sure” that global
warming was upon us .

LITERATURE REVIEW
Global Warming One of the most prominently discussed topics in the world nowadays is “Global
Warming.” Global warming is the ominous phenomenon of heating up of Earth’s atmosphere by
greenhouse gases (GHG) such as water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur oxide (SO2), nitrous oxide
(NO2), and chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) etc (Liu, 1994). In the normal levels, these gases maintain the
atmospheric temperature and are the important reasons that life sustains on Earth. Regrettably,
anthropogenic activities have made atmospheric emission levels of GHG surpassing beyond the safety
levels of 350 ppm (Hensen, 2008) and continues to increase the Earth’s temperature at the range of 1.5-
5.8°C (IPCC, 2007). Currently, China, USA, Russia, India, and Japan, respectively, are the five major
contributors of global warming. Global warming leads to devastating consequences and forces the
Humans to face inevitable changes such as sea level increase up to 16 m, drastic changes in rainfalls etc.
(Rohling, 2007).