Natural and Man-Made Causes of Global Warming
Global warming is the increase in the earth’s average temperature due to release of several greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by humans. Global warming is affecting many parts of the world. Due to global warming, the glaciers are melting which is causing the rise in the sea level. When the level of the sea rises, it causes danger to the people living in the low lying areas.
When the level of the sea rises, it covers the plants and causes some of them to die. When they die, animals lose their main source of food. We, human beings lose our two sources of food, plants and animals. It may also force people to lose their homes. In other words, the whole chain will get affected if nothing is done on time to stop global warming from spreading its wings.
With the global temperature increasing by 3%, many believe that global warming is on the climb. Right away, experts will say it’s time to save energy: Turn off lights not in use, or carpool with your annoying co-worker who loves knock-knock jokes. We’ve all heard the advice by scientist greatly involved in global warming, and while their argument rests firm in data and conclusive research, are we the only ones causing global warming? The answer to that is a tricky one.
The United Nations formed a group of scientists called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC to review the latest scientific findings and write a report summarizing all that is known about global warming.
More from global warming:
- Various global warming facts
- Global warming effects
- 35 easy ways to stop global warming
- Steps to reduce global warming
- 30 Myths vs. Facts on Global Warming
- Is global warming real?
- How global warming works?
Here are the top natural and man-made causes of global warming.
Top 5 Natural Causes of Global Warming
1. Forest Fires: Deforestation by nature is another leading cause of global warming. Natural forest fires are usually televised on the news, showing the devastation of mountain homes and communities. While this loss is tragic, the effects of these natural occurring forest fires pose a problem for the earth’s air. Forest fires emit carbon-filled smoke into the atmosphere, and new forests’ growth is slow and not stable enough to produce the much needed oxygen into the newly, suffocating carbon air. Natural forest fires will eventually run their course, but left in the ashes are polluting gases that get trapped in the atmosphere.
2. Permafrost: When frozen soil, constituting about 25% of the Northern Hemisphere, increases, it keeps in the carbon and methane gases. So, while you may be thinking how it can be global warming when you’re still freezing in Tibet, the permafrost is actually leaking carbon into the earth’s atmosphere. While scientists cannot stop permafrost from emitting these gases, the earth’s melting icecaps at incredibly fast rates, are cause for concern.
3. Sunspots: Definitely more contributing than your four legged friend are solar flares from the sun. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), sunspots are increasing global temperature. Sunspots restrict the passing of solar plasma, which in affect gives off radiation. You don’t have to work for NASA to know radiation is a bad thing. Sunspots and solar flares are powerful and unstoppable. They can change the energy radiating to earth’s atmosphere, and thus increase climate temperature. Solar flares, however have been a natural occurring event for millions of years. If only sunspots and solar flares were to blame, the world’s recent increased temperature would barely move.
4. Water Vapor: If you only thought NASA was busy planning moon missions and orbiting outer space, think again. According to NASA, two-thirds of the gases stuck in the thick blanket is in the form of water vapor. This hitch in tow effect means rising temperature, rising vapor. The water vapor is unable to escape, and thus results in hotter climate changes. NASA continues to work on water vapor solutions to reduce their effect on global warming.
5. Man’s Best Friend: Our friendly, furry, bizarre, and sometimes extreme pals in the animal kingdom are also to blame, sort of. While animals also breathe out carbon dioxide and methane, their small contribution is miniscule compared to humans and their consumption of non-renewable energy. Nature’s animal release of carbon dioxide, although minor, is still a natural causing factor in releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Top 7 Man-Made Causes for Global Warming
1. Man-induced Deforestation: Deforestation is the cutting down of trees and plants to make way for any development activity. Mother nature taking out an entire forest is one thing, but man doing it for the use of crop cultivation, fuel, and other consumption, is another. Each day our forests are bulldozed for the prospect of farms and factories. Fuel used for wood and charcoal only adds to the polluted gases in the atmosphere. Our consumer commodities provided by forestry includes paper and lumber. The loss of our forests results in a chain reaction where too much carbon is released into the air, with not enough oxygen to combat it.
This means that it is very important to protect our trees to stop the greenhouse effect, and also so we can breathe and live. Deforestation is blamed for rise in the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere by cutting or burning them. New development projects, requirement of land for homes and factories, requirement for wood and also soil erosion are the major factors that are causing deforestation, which in turn leading to global warming.
2. Fossil Fuels: Pollution whether it is vehicular, electrical or industrial is the main contributor to the global warming. Everyday billions of vehicles release various gases into the atmosphere. This causes earth to warm up and increase its average temperature. Electricity causes pollution in many ways. Over 75% of the electricity worldwide is produced by burning of fossil fuels. Many gases are sent into the air when fossil fuels are burnt of which main is the carbon dioxide gas.
Fossil fuel like coal is burnt to produce electricity. Coal is the major fuel that is burnt to produce power. Coal produces around 1.7 times as much carbon dioxide per unit of energy when flamed as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil.
We’re all well aware of the vast amounts of energy consumed everyday by humans everywhere since our first memories. Nearly 40% of the U.S. release of carbon dioxide is due to the burning of fossil fuels-gasoline and electricity in our homes. Finding sources for renewable energy, clean burning fuel options, and methods to cut back the amount of energy exhausted, could cut that 40% significantly.
Industries on the other hand release various gases into the water and air. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are the major greenhouse gases. Different gases have different heat trapping capabilities. Some of them trap more heat than carbon dioxide. Methane is much more effective then carbon dioxide in entrapping heat in the atmosphere. By driving cars, using electricity from coal fired plants and heating up our homes from natural gases, we release carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.
3. Landfills: When we throw garbage out of our house it goes to landfills. Landfills are those big chunks of garbage that stink and can be seen in so many places around the world. The garbage is then used by big recycling companies to make some useful products out from it.
Most of the time that garbage is burnt which releases toxic gases including methane into the atmosphere. These enormous amounts of toxic greenhouse gases when go into the atmosphere make global warming worse.
4. Overpopulation: Another cause of global warming is overpopulation. Since carbon dioxide contributes to global warming, the increase in population makes the problem worse because we breathe out more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. More people means more demand for food, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more demand for cars and more demand for homes.
More demand for food will lead to more transportation since movement of goods and services is done by transportation sector. More demand for cars means more pollution in the air and more traffic on the roads which means longer waiting time on the traffic lights and that will result in burning of more fuel. More demand for homes means cutting down of plants and trees to make way for homes, schools and colleges.
5. Mining: Oil and coal are two main culprits in producing greenhouse gases. Methane, like carbon dioxide creates a thick shield over the atmosphere trapping the sun’s rays. With the continued use of mining operations, these harmful gases will only increase.
6. Fertilizer Use: Think of the countless farmlands across the heartland of America. The unique thing about fertilizer is that it produces nitrous oxide once it absorbs the soil. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. The EPA strongly warns that the farming industry’s use of fertilizer is one of the leading causes of global warming.
7. Meat Consumption: Remember earlier when the animal world was sort of to blame for emitting carbon dioxide into the air? Well, the bigger party to blame is us. Due to our Western diet and habits, the raising, grazing, and manufacturing of animal products contributes greatly to the rise of global temperature. According to research, 51% of the greenhouse gases: methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide are caused by animal agriculture. If we would stop ordering juicy cheeseburgers, excessive amounts of carbon dioxide by animals stop emitting the atmosphere.
There are a number of natural causing factors involved in global warming. While scientists continue to observe and study sunspots, water vapor, and permafrost, there is little that can be done to penetrate such vast forces. What we can do, however, is truly evaluate and prioritize how we treat and value our planet. Global warming contributes to not only the fall of ecosystems, weather patterns, and rises in sea levels, but the overall quality of life we wish for on this planet. There are many things we can do to help reduce the amount of energy we consume. Switching to renewable energy, changing lifestyles and diets, and controlling our consumption of non-renewable products, can greatly make a huge difference. The future of the earth is in our hands. So, is global warming Nature’s fault or ours?
References: Global warming causes
Image credit: Mikko Luntiala , Billy Wilson
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