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Global warming

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For 2.5 million years the earth´s climate has fluctuated cycling from ice ages to warmer periods. But in the last century, the planet´s temperature has risen unusually fast: about 1.2-1.4 degrees Farenheit. Scientists believe it is human activity that is driving the temperatures up; a process known as global warming. Ever since the Industrial Revolution began factories, power plants and eventually cars have burnt fossil fuels such as oil and coal, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap heat near the earth through a naturally occurring proccess called greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect begins with the sun and the energy it radiates to the earth. The earth and the atmosphere absorb part of this energy while the rest is radiated back into space. Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere trap some of this energy and reflect it back, warming the earth. Scientists now believe that the greenhouse effect is being intensified by the extra greenhouse gases that humans have released. Evidence for global warming includes a recent string of very warm years. Scientists report that 1998 was the warmest year in measured history with 2005 coming in second. Meanwhile, readings taken from ice cores show that the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane have hit their highest levels in the past 420.000 years. Artic Sea ice is also shinking. According to NASA studies, the extent of Artic Sea ice has declined about 10% in the last 30 years. As long as industrialized nations continue to consume energy and developing countries increase their fossil fuel consumption, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to rise. Researchers predict that temperatures will increase about 2 to 10 degrees Farenheit by the end of the century. What is less certain is what rising temperatures mean for the planet. Some climate models predict subtle changes. Others forecast rising sea levels which could flood coastal areas around the world. Weather patterns could change making hurricanes more frequent Severe droughts could become more common in warm areas Species unable to adapt to the changing conditions would face extinction. Although much remains to be learned about global warming, many organisations advocate cutting greenhouse gas emission to reduce the impact of global warming. Consumers can help by saving energy around the house, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and driving fewer miles in the car each week. These simple changes may help keep the earth cooler in the future.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Views: 137
Posted by: ibilbazu on Feb 27, 2011

Calentamiento global

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