What is Global Warming?
Updated: Nov 30th, 2022
Based upon measurements that scientists have taken and recorded since the 1880’s, the facts seem to indicate that our world is slowly getting warmer. And time is running out for us to do something about it!..
The artic polar bear has become the poster-child of the climate change movement, because of the melting polar ice and destruction of its habitat!… Photo Credit: Getty Images
Global warming is defined as the gradually increasing trend in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. There is evidence to suggest it is occurring as a result of human-produced pollution in our atmosphere. NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), both tell us that our world is getting warmer, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change informs us it is ‘extremely likely’ that human activity is the predominant cause.
What started global warming?
There are natural contributors to global warming, (more on that later!), but the human-produced contribution to global warming can be traced back to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, around the mid to late 1700’s. That is the time when humanity first began using fossil fuels on a large-scale basis!
The background story is that, as historians inform us, the main features of the Industrial Revolution involved the use of new materials, (such as iron and steel), coupled with the first large-scale use of new energy sources, (including coal, petroleum, and most importantly, the internal-combustion engine!)
These new energy sources, coupled with a new form of organization we know today as the ‘factory system’, enabled a whole new world of specialization and increased mass production,- which were all important components of the aforementioned industrial revolution.
Ever since then, the human race has been burning fossil-fuels non-stop, world-wide, for twenty-four hours-a-day, 365 days a year.
Think about it. That’s a long time for smoke to be literally pouring out of our factories and automobiles. All day, every single day..
When did atmospheric scientists begin warning us about the potential dangers of fossil fuels?
I feel that us folks here in modern times tend to think of the scientific debate regarding global warming as being something unique to our day and age, and in other words, something completely new. For example, I don’t think I personally heard anything about it until I was a young adult, around about maybe the early 2000’s sometime. But you may be surprised to learn this debate is actually not new at all! The fact is, even as far back as in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, some of the world’s top scientists had already started talking about it, and started speculating about what kinds of dangerous impacts the use of fossil fuels might have!
A very notable example,- according to wikipedia, in the early 1900’s, the award-winning swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius became amongst the first to use principles of physical chemistry to estimate the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide could be responsible for the Earth’s gradually increasing surface temperature. His work played an important role in the emergence of modern climate science. Unfortunately, as we now know, the actual impact may even be worse than his models predicted.
What are the numbers we have available today?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as stated in the administrations 2020 Annual Climate Report, the earth’s combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.08 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1880. In addition, the average rate of increase after 1981 has more than doubled to 0.32°F (0.18°C ) per decade.
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