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Microwaving the World

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Microwaving The World

Think of that delicious popcorn in the microwave getting heat up. The world is very similar with only one difference; we are the popcorn. Between 1975 to 1989, there were 171 category 4 and 5 hurricanes; however, between 1990 to 2004, there were 269, a 57% increase (ProCon.org). This statistically significant change in the weather pattern is no coincidence. Global warming causes more destructive weather and storms, which explains the dramatic increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones. Humans have caused global warming, and there needs to be more of an effort to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint or at least reduce further damage.

In terms of temperature, the planet must maintain a delicate balance. Not only does the temperature need to be warm enough to support life, but it also needs to be cool enough so that the Earth does not heat up. The sun provides enough warmth so that life can be sustained. The polar caps and other light-colored surfaces reflect some of the sun’s radiation back to space, preventing the Earth’s temperature from rising excessively. However, if there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more of the sun’s energy is unable to escape the atmosphere. This causes the Earth’s temperature to increase, causing global warming.

Data supports that the Earth is in a cooling stage, but global temperatures are still increasing. How would this be classified as a “cooling stage?” In 1760, the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, producing so much pollution that white barked trees turned black; since then, the burning of fossil fuels produced roughly 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide (Pomerantz, Smyth 1). The increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere was a substantial contributor to the 1 to 1.4 °F rise in average temperature over the 20th century (ProCon.org).

Since 1880, three major global surface temperature reconstructions have accumulated data on the climate of the earth. Although each came up with slightly different numbers, all concluded that the Earth was warming. The three reconstructions are NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature (GISTEMP) analysis, the Climatic Research Unit Temperature (CRUTEM) analysis (from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit), and an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data center (NCDC) (ProCon.org). The reconstructions all show a statistically significant difference between the planet’s typical warming and cooling cycle and the recent temperature trends. In other words, the planet should be entering a cooling period based on the temperature cycle, however, temperatures are showing the exact opposite as they continue to rise. This rise is mostly due to a growth in the human population. Because of this growth, more resources are needed to sustain the population. This correlates to an increase in the use of nonrenewable fuel. The use of this kind of fuel lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions, eventually causing the Earth’s global temperatures to rise.

When fossil fuels are burned, they produce major amounts of carbon dioxide; if a single gallon of gasoline is burned, nineteen pounds of carbon dioxide are produced (Pomerantz, Smyth 1). Climate models consistently show that this warming causes an increase in the intensity of cyclones. The ozone layer is being destroyed by carbon tetrachloride which allows more radiation to pass through the atmosphere and heat up the earth. Then the ice cap melt, so the sun’s energy is not being reflected.

If left to continue, global warming will disrupt our ecosystems, affecting everything from polar bears to coral reefs, sometimes even to the point of destruction. This increase in atmospheric temperature is melting away the Arctic ice caps, creating a rise in the sea level. In addition, the resulting smaller ice caps

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