Global Warming

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and the oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation. Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005.   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the twentieth century, and natural phenomena such as solar variation and volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

Climate model projections summarized in the latest IPCC report indicate that global surface temperature will likely rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century. The uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing climate sensitivity, and the use of differing estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions. Some other uncertainties include how warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming is expected to continue beyond 2100, even if emissions have stopped, because of the large heat capacity of the oceans and the lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Increasing global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, likely including an expanse of the subtropical desert regions. Other likely effects include Arctic shrinkage and resulting Arctic methane release, shrinkage of the Amazon rainforest (already very damaged by deforestation from logging and farming), increases in the intensity of extreme weather events, changes in agricultural yields, modifications of trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions and changes in the ranges of disease vectors.

Political and public debate continues regarding the appropriate response to global warming. The available options are mitigation to reduce further emissions; adaptation to reduce the damage caused by warming; and, more speculatively, geoengineering to reverse global warming. Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions

 This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the article in Wikipedia on Global Warming


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