This climate change is believed to have dramatic effects on several atmospheric events. Studies conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) conclude that the mean global temperature near the earth's surface experienced an increase of 0.74 + 0.18 degrees Celsius during a period of 100 years from 1905 to 2005. The IPCC has also projected that he global temperature will experience a further increase of 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius through the twenty-first century. (2007) Owing to the rather obscure nature of changes taking place in the atmosphere, this phenomenon remains surrounded by controversy. A portion of the masses refuses to accept the magnitude of global warming and proclaim that the phenomenon is caused by completely natural sources like solar variations and volcanic eruptions. But some very alarming facts stated later will assure everyone of the damaging implications global warming has had on our planet.
The IPCC blames the human race for a major part of global warming, " most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations"
Greenhouse gases are the gases presnt in the atmosphere even under normal conditions. These gases, which include (in order of their abundance) water vapour, carbon-di-oxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and CFC's, are essential to bring about the Greenhouse effect. These gases capture the infrared radiations from the sun's emission and retain it, thus warming the earth's atmosphere. If it wasn't for the greenhouse effect, the earth's temperature would have been close to -19 degrees Celsius. But, in the recent times, excess of these greenhouse gases has enhanced the greenhouse effect, which has lead to excessive warming of the planet. Human activities like the industrial revolution, fossil fuel burning and deforestation have resulted in a dramatic rise in the concentration of these gases. The level of CO2, which was constant at 280 ppm for nearly 800 years till 1800 has suddenly risen to 378 ppm in 2000. (Hadley Centre, 2005)
Effects of Global Warming
As mentioned earlier, the mean global temperature of the earth has increased during the past years. IPCC's reports say that 11 of the past 12 years are among the twelve hottest years since 1800. (2007) Studies conducted by NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies declared 2005 to be the warmest year ever, even surpassing 1988, which was unusually warm because of the strongest El Nino (2006).
The temperature records of the rural and urban areas of the United States Of America (IPCC, 2007) only vindicate that fact. The temperatures have recorded a constant increase. Studies conducted by the US Public Research Interest Group, the average temperature of Washington DC was 3 degrees F above normal.
The retreat and disappearance of glaciers has accelerated at an alarming rate since 1980. According to Munich Re, the total surface area occupied by glaciers worldwide has decreased by nearly 50% (2007). Satellite pictures of the Greenland Glaciers show that they have retreated