Global Warming Opinion


Mehak Mehmi, Reporter

I think global warming is bad because glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is suffering to keep pace. It’s becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.

We call the result global warming, but it is causing a set of changes to the Earth’s climate, or long-term weather patterns, that change from place to place. As the Earth spins each day, the new heat comes in with it, picking up moisture over the oceans, rising here, settling there. It’s changing the patterns of climate that all living things have come to depend on.

The “greenhouse effect” is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap heat. These gases let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse. First, sunlight shines onto the Earth’s surface, where it is absorbed and then bounces back into the atmosphere as heat. In the atmosphere, “greenhouse” gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.

Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824 when Joseph Fourier(a scientist) calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. This greenhouse effect is what keeps the Earth’s climate livable. Without it, the Earth’s surface would be an average of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.

Levels of Greenhouse gases (GHGs) have gone up and down over the Earth’s history, but they have been fairly the same for the past few thousand years. Global average temperatures have stayed fairly same over that time as well, until recently. Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG release, humans are increasing the greenhouse effect and warming Earth.

Scientists often use the term “climate change” instead of global warming. This is because as the Earth’s average temperature increases, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling. As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas.

The average global temperature and application of carbon dioxide (one of the major greenhouse gases) have differed on a cycle of hundreds of thousands of years as the Earth’s position relative to the sun has changed. As a result, ice ages have come and gone.

However, for thousands of years now, the release of GHGs to the atmosphere have been balanced out by GHGs that are naturally absorbed. As a result, GHG application and temperature have been fairly stable. This stability has allowed human civilization to develop within a regular climate.

Occasionally, other factors temporarily influence global temperatures. Volcanic eruptions, for example, discharge particles that temporarily cool the Earth’s surface. But these have no lasting effect beyond a few years.

Now, humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the industrial revolution. Changes this large have historically taken thousands of years, but are now happening over the time of decads.

“Global warming is a terrible thing because it ruins arctic places and causes glaciers to melt. This is also very bad for the animals that live there. It makes a lot of places warmer. ” — Hannah McDonough (7)

“I don’t think its good. Basically, it makes the earth unhealthy and is ruining the environment.”  — Yoojoo Oh (7)

“I think That Global Warming is horrible and it is all our fault.” — June Jung (7)