In the article, “Climate change: How do we know?”, the author discusses just how prominent of the effects of global warming are today, specifically the effects that CO2 has played in getting us to where we are. The overall warming trend of the planet has been due to the result of human activity over the past years, specifically the increase in the levels of greenhouse gases being released into the environment.
Greenhouse gases are those that are released into the environment and trap the heat radiated by the sun, causing the warming effect that has led to the intense climate change we are experiencing. One of these very effective greenhouse gases is Carbon Dioxide. As shown in the chart attached to this article, CO2 levels, in units of parts per million, have reached new and astonishing levels where our planet is currently. Prior to 1950, the highest the CO2 levels ever reached was around 300 parts/million. However, today levels have reached numbers as high as 400 parts/million.
Everyday effects of global warming have been seen in the global temperature rise, of approximately 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. In addition, there is the warming oceans, the shrinking ice sheets, the glacial retreat, the decreased snow cover, the rise in sea level, and many others.
Overall, this increase in CO2 levels, along with other greenhouse gases, proves to be resulting in a number of detrimental effects to our planet.
In reading an article from the Scientific American, I have learned that for the past five years, Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased at a rate of at least 2 parts per million, which is an “all time high” according to author Scott Waldman. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been keeping a close watch on increasing Carbon Dioxide atmospheric levels due to the intense environmental threat increases in CO2 levels pose. Pieter Tans is a lead scientist at the NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, and he is especially concerned at the rate of the increases of CO2 in our atmosphere, “The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last ice age,” Tans said. “This is a real shock to the atmosphere” (Waldman 2017). Why the concern? High levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere can cause sea levels to rise, increase the existence of droughts, extreme weather including hurricanes, blizzards, and more. Outside of this article, I see my own concerns for rising CO2 levels in our atmosphere. A direct impact on all living things on this planet by the extreme weather is our ability to grow food. As the environment changes and becomes more hostile, it is also much more difficult for agricultural endeavors to thrive. This will end up causing food shortages and disastrous effects on all living creatures as well as the economy. Action must be taken to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions and Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere so that life can continue to thrive on Earth.
Link to article here.