15 Important Global Warming Facts

February 19, 2013

I am so tired of the “global warming is a hoax” argument that many try to pass off as an educated opinion.

Somehow, a handful of companies making solar panels and wind turbines have convinced over 90 percent of scientists – along with the majority of humans – that our climate is changing, all in an effort to make money. Right. Boy, that’s some control they have over the climate if they can make it change so much! It would be amazing if anyone that that kind of control.

They don’t. So let’s stop even considering that they do.

Sometimes, rhetoric gets in the way of facts and that is often the case when discussing climate change. Instead of looking at scientific research papers, historic climate data, and any drastic effects that the changes are already having on our planet, deniers make up stories and “facts” to try to match their own misguided theories. But there are plenty of FACTS out there that are easy to understand that back up legitimate information about climate change and global warming. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggies:

There is scientific consensus on the basic global warming facts.

The major scientific agencies of the United States — including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are contributing to it.

Human activities, such as burning coal and oil in power plants and cars, have poured excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the natural world just can’t absorb it all.

The main gases contributing towards global warming are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, migrating north to escape rising temperatures.

The frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over most land areas – consistent with warming and increases of atmospheric water vapour.

Global Warming Facts

The area covered by Arctic sea ice in winter has shrunk about 2.7% each decade since 1978, with even greater summertime reductions.

Measurements of the concentration of carbon dioxide since 1959 (316 ppm) have revealed an increase to 387 ppm in 2009, or at an average 1.42 ppm per year.

The global average surface temperature fluctuates over time, but recently it has increased dramatically. From 1920 to the present, the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by around 1.4 °F. The current warming trend is proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the past 1,300 years.

A study released by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2010 said, “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems.”

Recent disease outbreaks are consistent with model projections that warmer, wetter conditions will lead to greater transmission potential at higher altitudes and elevations.

Human activity is causing the Earth to get warmer.

Sea levels have risen approximately 1 inch. At the current rate, scientists predict that it will have devastating effects by the year 2100.

Since 1990, yearly emissions of carbon dioxide have gone up by about 6 billion metric tons worldwide, which is more than a 20% increase. Almost all of that increase is due to human activities.

In the past few decades, temperatures in the Arctic have risen at nearly twice the rate as in the rest of the world, disrupting the region and its people in many ways.

And, because they can do a much better job of explaining the difference between “climate” and “weather”, from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Climate is a good indicator of what to expect in general, such as cold days in February in New England. Weather, on the other hand, is what we actually experience, like a blustery, snowy day with temperatures in the low 20s. In other words, climate describes phenomena observed over long time periods, such as decades and centuries, while weather is observed over short time periods, such as days and weeks.

It is clear that the Earth’s climate is changing, largely due to human activity. Over the last 25 years, Earth’s global average temperature has been increasing at more than twice the rate of the last century. In fact, nine of the warmest years on record have occurred in just the last 10 years.[1], [2] This warming has been accompanied by a decrease in very cold days and nights and an increase in extremely hot days and warm nights. Additionally, the oceans reached their highest recorded temperature in the summer of 2009. Oceans have absorbed much more heat from global warming than the air at the Earth’s surface because water is much better at retaining heat.

There is no real debate about climate change. It’s happening, period. When 90+ percent of scientists tell us other facts, we would believe them. Why would one choose not to believe them about the climate? Because the small handful of deniers don’t want any regulations – such as those designed to reduce pollution and emissions, for example – to impede on all the profits they make at the expense of our environment (and us). To them, we should say too bad. This is our planet and we want it to be a healthy place for us – and future generations – to live on comfortably.

Profits at the expense of our only planetary home? No thanks.

Memorize the facts and use them whenever climate change deniers try to take over a conversation. Use them to your advantage to debunk outrageous claims with actual numbers and scientific references. Don’t let anyone continue to spread falsehoods that will impact every future generation on Earth. Want to make change? Then know exactly what you are talking about and have the facts handy for backup. That’s a solid way to make change.

And if all else fails, ask them this: Even if climate change is a myth, isn’t cleaning up our act is the right thing to do?

Global warming image from BigStock.

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Comments (1)

  1. Brenna says:

    These are some great facts and the bottom line really is simple. Who wouldn’t want a better world now and for the future even if climate change was some grand hoax, which as we all know it isn’t?