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The Disastrous Effects of Global Warming Essay

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Twenty thousand years ago, during the height of the most recent glacial period, ice sheets stretched from New York state across the Great Lakes to Wisconsin northward through most of Canada (Schneider 39). Mile-high domes of ice tied up so much fresh water that the oceans were some 100 meters lower than today. On a global basis, the world warmed up some five degrees Celsius from the beginning of the ice age’s rapid retreat over 15,000 years ago (39). The large and rapid climatic change affected the atmosphere, temperature, and water cycles. Research shows that planet Earth is in fact still warming. Senator Al Gore says this about global warming:
“You see that pale, blue dot? That’s us. Everything that has ever happened in all of human history, has happened on that pixel. All the triumphs and all the tragedies, all the wars, all the famines, all the major advances…it’s our home. And that is what is at stake, our ability to live on planet Earth, to have a future as a civilization. I believe this is a moral issue. It is your time to seize this issue. It is our time to rise again to secure our future” (An Inconvenient Truth).
Climatologists have discovered that global warming has occurred since the late 1800’s (Mastrandrea 232). Global warming is an average increase in temperatures near Earth’s surface, including the lowest layer of the atmosphere (“Back to Basics” 3). The terms “global warming” and “climate change” are used interchangeably. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “the phrase ‘climate change’ is growing in preferred use to ‘global warming’ because it helps convey that there are [other] changes in addition to rising temperatures.” These other changes include ozone depletion, land usage, and the global environm...


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...he sea, and rising sea levels (“Fight Global Warming” 2). Most scientists think that a warming climate will alter the frequency and severity of extreme temperature events (“Back to Basics” 5).
In the United States, warming is expected to cause a northward shift in storm tracks, resulting in decreases in precipitation in areas such as the Southwest U.S. but increases in many areas to the north and east (“Back to Basics” 5). Because warm sea surface temperature energizes hurricanes, a warming climate is likely to make hurricanes more intense. Future hurricanes will probably have stronger peak winds and increased rainfall (5). There could be wetter subtropical monsoonal rain belts as well (Schneider 107). Rising temperatures will intensify Earth’s water cycle (“Back to Basics” 5). In general, scientists expect increases in heat waves and decreases in cold spells (5).


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