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The Effect Of Humans And Industry On Climate Change

1307 words - 6 pages

With an extraordinarily cold winter on the entire east coast of the United States this year, it is easy to assume that climate change is a hoax. Despite denial and deliberate avoidance of the "global warming" issue, humans have made a significant impact on the world's climate. For thousands of years humans have been negatively impacting the earth with agriculture and the cutting and burning of forests. The negative effects on temperature, ice caps, and sea level are especially pronounced from the 18th century to today. Since the Industrial Revolution, the mass production and consumption of goods and fuel has caused a sharp increase in greenhouse gasses causing detrimental effects on our ...view middle of the document...

The Industrial Revolution marked an increase in emissions, and an exponential jump in fossil fuel usage which has accelerated the speed of atmospheric changes. This rise is likely due to excessive use of natural oil, which totaled 24 billion barrels worldwide in 1995. Oil, coal, and natural gas are used every day for luxuries like automobiles, heating and cooling, lights, factories, and many other basic “necessities” in the West. In 2005 alone, the burning of fossil fuels worldwide released more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air. By 2010, the levels had increased to 390 parts per million (compared to 280 parts per billion in the 18th century), which is a total increase of almost 40%. The current carbon dioxide level is higher than it has been in at least 800,000 years, as determined from the geologic record. In addition, methane levels are two and a half times those of the pre-industrial era. These gasses, among others, are collectively referred to as “greenhouse gasses” and are increasing at an alarming rate that is too rapid to be considered a natural cycle of the Earth and correlate perfectly with our use of technological advances stemming from the industrial revolution.
The Earth’s temperature is always slightly changing regardless of the activities of the human species, but the rate of change has increased significantly since the mid-19th century as a result of the changes in the atmosphere. The global temperature has climbed .6 degrees Celsius since 1850. This temperature shift does not yet reflect our current level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere because there is a delay between gas concentrations and surface temperature . From the time that weather records started being recorded in 1880 to 2006 there was 1705 record breaking high temperatures, compared to only 1346 record lows . This shows that temperatures are trending in an upward pattern, even though the actual number of degrees do not seem that large. There has also been an increase in natural disasters and odd weather events and are expected to continue becoming more common. Moreover, farmland still covers approximately one third of the world’s land surface, and still plays a large role in the many ways that humans are altering the planet. The rise in temperature correlates with the increase of industry and is in addition to massive agricultural areas that continually create emissions.
As a result of the higher water temperature, sea ice and sea level have undergone significant physical changes. Since 1979, Ice in the Polar Sea has contracted by at least 20%, while an astonishing 90% of Canada’s ice shelves have disappeared over the last century. The Greenland Ice Sheet and the Arctic ice cap shrank by a record-breaking 400,000 miles in the summer of 2002, and the Columbia Glacier in Alaska has retreated 7 miles over the last 20 years....

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