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The Earth is kept warm by its atmosphere, which acts rather like a woolly coat - without it, the average surface temperature would be about -18 degrees Centigrade. Heat from the sun passes through the atmosphere, warming it up, and most of it warms the surface of the planet. As the Earth warms up, it emits heat in the form of infra-red radiation - much like a hot pan emits heat even after it's taken away from the cooker. Some of this heat is trapped by the atmosphere, but the rest escapes into space. The so-called "greenhouse gases" make the atmosphere trap more of this radiation, so it gradually warms up more than it should, like a greenhouse (although a greenhouse actually does this by stopping warm air rising and escaping from it).
The Earth is heating up! Climate models show that atmospheric temperatures will increase by between 1.5 and 4.5 C by the year 2100 if a "wait and see and do nothing" approach is adopted. The global temperature increase since the last ice age (10,000 years ago) has been about 5 C. Temperature and precipitation patterns in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, which appear to be becoming "more tropical." There is less of a difference between daytime and
night time temperatures, and rainfall tends to more often come in intense bursts.
The major effects of global warming are listed as follows,
Effect on Oceans & Sea Levels:
The first concern of global warming is that it is causing the rise of sea levels.
“The greenhouse effect and sea level rise threaten the very idea of our existence - B.Paeniu, PM of Tuvalu at the World Climate
Conference, Nov. 1990
Oceans absorb more heat than land areas. The best-guess forecast of the IPCC for sea level rise is a global average of 3-10 millimeters per year. As more than 70 per cent of the world's population lives on coastal plains, the potential for massive personal, economic and physical dislocation becomes clear. Part of this comes...
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