Op-ed

Global warming and its impact on humanity

 

M Bilal

 

An alarming increase in world temperature, irreversible melting of glaciers, devastating floods and rains and ominous rise in sea level confirm the fact of global warming. These catastrophes are caused by a rise in global temperature, which is caused by greenhouse gases and ozone depletion. The greenhouse gases keep on trapping heat within the atmosphere. The gases themselves are in increased in their concentrations by burgeoning industrialization and deplorable deforestation. Consequently, the global temperature has risen and is on the rise.

Global warming, the increase in average temperature of the globe, is a fact, and a deplorable one. It is a repercussion of industrialization in the last three centuries. It is manifesting its effects in the present century. It poses a lethal challenge for the whole of humanity. Once cannot call it a fiction when it is already taking a toll on human lives. The leading nations of the world, who also happen to be the leading contributors to global warming, try to deny the fact of global warming because the cause of global warming is result of their industrialization. Nevertheless, their denial does not prove global warming to be a fiction.

 

A conspicuous rise in global temperature has been detected. This rise cannot be attributed to the usual course of nature. Average global temperature was reported to be 15 degree Celsius in 1900 but in the year 2000 it was reported to be 15.7 degree Celsius. The fact that the global temperature increased by 0.7 degree Celsius in just a century is no good news. Worse yet is the fact that the rise was not a usual spurt of nature lasting for a moment. The temperature is consistently increasing. The year 2010 was recorded as the hottest year of the last two centuries.

The rise and fall of global temperature is regulated by the ice on the poles and the glaciers around. They melt in summer and freeze in winter in natural cycle. Nowadays, they melt so much that the volume of ice becomes lesser than that of the previous winter. Such alarming increase in melting not only raises temperatures in summers but also causes floods, rains and rise in sea levels. The increasing warming of the globe causes this melting. This unmistakably proves the fact of global warming.

The increase in global temperature has caused a melting of the huge ice caps in Polar Regions and glaciers in sub polar regions. This melting has led to a rise in sea levels. This rise in sea level is clearly perceptible in the effects it has on the island countries.

It is important to know what causes global warming if it is a fact. The climate experts of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by United Nations (UN) in 1988, concur that global warming is, at least, in part, caused by greenhouse gases. Gases like carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, methane and sulfurous oxide are called greenhouse gases (GHGs). They are called GHGs because, like the glass panes of a greenhouse, they allow the ultraviolet radiation from the sun to enter the atmosphere of the earth but do not allow it to escape when it is reradiated by the earth as infrared radiation. The GHGs keep radiating the infrared radiation back to the earth, thereby raising its temperature.

Therefore, on the one hand, the greenhouse gases are warming the global temperature by trapping the heat from the sun. On the other hand, they are themselves in increased in the atmosphere by industrial emissions. Consequently, every year, there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to trap more heat, thereby consistently raising the temperature of the earth.

Industrialization not only leads to more emission of carbon dioxide, it also leads to more deforestation. Many industries need timber for construction and wood for paper. Deforestation leads to less absorption of carbon dioxide by trees. Consequently, every new year, there are fewer trees to absorb carbon dioxide. The unabsorbed carbon dioxide, in turn, goes up to trap more heat. This process certainly adds to warmth in the planet.

Moreover, the global temperature gets increase from another side. Ozone gas, which forms a gaseous blanket around the atmosphere, filters the ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth. However, the industrial emissions of gases like methane and carbon tetrachloride have caused holes in the belt. These holes are reported to be as big as the continent of Antarctica. These holes lead to increasing of the temperature b letting the UV rays enter the earth unfiltered.

The unfiltered UV rays can cause damage to animals and plants. When the hole gets bigger, the rays will also affect humans.

The rise in temperature is evidenced by melting glaciers, recurrent floods, and rising sea levels. This rise is caused by human industrialization and deforestation. In order to save the green planet from being uninhabitable for us, we, as individuals and nations will have to cut down carbon emissions. We will also need to reduce emissions of other harmful gases that deplete the ozone layer. We need to reforest our planet to make it habitable for the future generations.

 

 

 

About the author

Mian Bilal

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