Global warming is a very important subject in the present day. This book attempts to explain how and why Earth’s climate interacts with the atmosphere.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of several hundred climate scientists from all over the world. Their job is to look at the scientific data on various aspects of climate change. In their latest report, in 2007, they concluded that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal. . . many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes. . . global greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities have grown since preindustrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004.”
Earth has experienced warming and cooling cycles in the past, and some people think that this is just another of those warming cycles, and not really a cause for concern. Most sunlight is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, while the rest is reflected back into space. Water vapor, methane and carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, are very good at absorbing infrared radiation. Some global warming is needed to keep Earth from turning into a giant ice cube. But too much of a good thing is bad. To get an idea of what happens with high levels of carbon dioxide, look at the planet Venus, with its runaway greenhouse effect.
The rapidly rising amount of burning fossil fuels leads to more carbon in the atmosphere. It has a positive feedback effect, raising the Earth's temperature. Deforestation that is happening all over the world reduces the level of photosynthesis which reduces the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere. If the forest has been burned, which is usually the case, then the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere rises, and the amount of carbon removed by photosynthesis drops.
The book also looks at the consequences of global warming; we are witnessing some of the hottest years on record; snow cover on mountain rages is decreasing; as ice melts, it raises sea levels worldwide; ocean currents could change; biodiversity and ocean currents could be affected. It also lists simple things that anyone can do to help reduce the effects of global warming.
This book is easy to read, and tries to adopt a “facts only” approach. To get away from the hype on both sides of the issue, start right here.
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