As I tried to learn more about global warming, I discovered it is an expansive topic. If you dig a little, you will find several more paths to dig on. That makes for a long and difficult to follow blog post with a lot of side tracks. I decided to keep things as simple as possible and explore some of the side topics in future posts.

What does the term “global warming” mean?

Global warming is the term used to describe the increase in average global temperatures over time, due to the collection of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

As greenhouse gases collect in Earth’s atmosphere, they absorb heat from solar energy and radiation and prevent these energies from escaping Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a warmer climate. 

According to NASA, the global temperature is “increasing by more than 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade.”

What are the main greenhouse gases and where do they come from?

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from respiration, combustion, and burning. Fossil fuels are the biggest contributor.
  • Methane (CH4) is a by-product of farting, coal, natural gas, and oil
  • Nitrous oxide is in laughing gas, rocket fuels, propellants for foods, such as sprayed whipped cream, and it is given off in waste water treatment.
  • Fluorinated gases can be found in refrigerants such as freon and fire retardants.

Why does global warming matter?

As temperatures increase, it changes living conditions for various plants and animals. While some are impacted negatively, others would prosper causing an imbalance.

 When the average climate temperature increases:

  • Things like snow and ice melt, effecting water levels. 
  • Water temperatures become warmer, effecting aquatic life.
  • Climate zones shift and plants that once grew in an area may not do well in the warmer weather or receive a sufficient enough chilling period to do well. How and where some crops are grown would shift.
  • Birds shift their range.
  • Pests, like mosquitos love warm weather and are happy to breed and spread disease.

I am sure there are many other effects from global warming. What did I miss? How would global warming effect you?

Reference links of interest:

Global Warming 101

NASA – Climate Change Dashboard

Global Climate Dashboard

United Nations – Climate Action

EPA – Understanding Global Warming

EPA – Overview of Greenhouse Gases

The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change