Although I believed in global warming and its impacts prior to taking the Environmental Science course at FSU, there is so much that I have learned about climate change and the science behind the politics of what is affecting our world. It's important to be aware of how we affect our environment, especially when this is what we leave behind for our children and grandchildren.
1. Global warming is not the same thing as climate change.
Climate change is a long term change in the overall average weather patterns on Earth. Global warming is one aspect of climate change which specifically concerns the increase of the surface temperature of the Earth. Although both terms seem similar, when discussing the global changes occurring, it is important to understand the difference and effects that each term refer to.
2. How the greenhouse gas effect works.
When the solar energy goes through the atmosphere, some of the energy is absorbed by the Earth's surface and the rest is reflected back into the atmosphere as heat. The heat that is reflected back into the atmosphere is meant to reach space but greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane absorb the heat and radiate it back onto the Earth's which slowly increases the overall temperature of its surface. The greenhouse gas effect is due to the burning of fossil fuels and if it is not regulated, the Earth's climate will continue to increase.
3. Whether anthropogenic activity is causing global warming.
Anthropogenic effects are those that are caused by human activities such as exploiting fossil fuels, farming, and deforestation. These activities are increasing carbon dioxide and gaseous levels in the oceans and atmosphere which is disrupting natural climate cycles globally and ultimately furthering global warming.
4. Why people don’t believe in global warming and why they are wrong.
The Earth has gone through many Milankovitch cycles which are natural recurring cycles in which there are cold and warm periods due to the Earth's tilt and other variations that alters the distribution of solar radiation on earth. Although the Earth has experienced natural climate changes in the far past, the carbon dioxide and other gaseous levels have never been as high as they are present day. People often confuse the natural climate changes the Earth experiences to be the reason for current global warming without considering the greenhouse effect and anthropogenic activity which is increasing the factors related to these changes.
5. The impacts of global warming.
If the anthropogenic activity that is inducing further global warming is not contained, drinking water will become scarce along with food because livestock and crops will not be able to survive due to changing climate conditions. Biodiversity and wildlife in certain regions will be threatened due to changes in their habitats. The landscape and future of the Earth's inhabitants are at risk because of the effects of climate change.