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Global warming: definition, causes and consequences

Global warming and climate change are commonly confused concepts, since although global warming is only one of the aspects collected by climate change, it is also used to refer to the evolution of the climate trend throughout the world. geological history. At AgroCorrn we delve into this great environmental problem that affects us today throughout the world, and it seems that it will continue to do so for many years to come. In this article we tell you all about global warming, its definition, causes and consequences .

You may also be interested in: How to avoid global warming

What is global warming – definition

Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the oceans and the earth’s atmosphere , and it has currently been alarming worldwide in recent decades. As we said, it is often confused with climate change because they are terms that roughly could be said to go hand in hand because their causes and consequences coincide for the most part. But it is very important to differentiate them, so below we explain more details about global warming.

Causes of global warming

Global warming and climate change coincide in their main causes, the massive emission of different greenhouse gases or GHGs that retain heat within the atmosphere and on the earth’s surface through the so-called greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect is a natural process by which the retention of heat from the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere occurs thanks to the GHG layer found in it. These gases in normal quantities keep the planet’s temperature approximately 33ºC above what it could have if they did not exist, so the planet would be too cold for life to develop on it. However, currently the greenhouse effect is becoming so intense due to our emissions that it begins to have serious repercussions on the environment.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of 2013 that human influence had been the dominant cause of this warming produced since the middle of the 20th century through the emission of GHGs. , which is growing evidence. Among the main gases emitted are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone.

There are various human activities linked to these greenhouse gas emissions that have increased in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. The first of them is an unsustainable lifestyle due to the great exploitation suffered by nature as it is considered a mere raw material. Highly polluting energy sources are used due to the great requirements of the great demographic and economic growth that occurred.

The great emission of gases that occurs through the burning of fossil fuels is also notorious . It is estimated that three quarters of the increase in CO2 due to human action is associated with this activity, with the rest of those responsible for changes in the use of soils and deforestation. The latter is more relevant than it seems, since through vegetation the imbalance caused by these gas emissions could be balanced in a natural way.

Consequences of global warming

Among the multiple consequences of global warming and climate change , those linked to rising temperatures stand out . Today there is numerous scientific evidence that our planet is warming, showing unprecedented changes in climate records.

In the first place, since it seems an obvious consequence, climatic changes include an increase in the frequency with which extreme weather events such as severe droughts, heat waves or torrential rains occur .

Throughout the 20th century there has been an increase in temperature of 0.6ºC. For the researchers, this is the cause that the temperature of the oceans rose, causing its expansion and the rise in sea level of 10 to 12 centimeters.

Although the impacts that can be associated with global warming and climate change are different depending on the terrestrial regions, the clearest sign is the melting of ice or the melting of the polar ice caps , especially in the Arctic, which contributes to this increase. sea ​​level and loss of habitat for many species, such as the polar bear . From this it is concluded that global warming therefore also has serious consequences on species of fauna and flora that are not capable of adapting to new climatic conditions or that see the ecosystems where they inhabit eliminated, which causes an acceleration of some of the extinctions of species .

Other effects of global warming are the drying out of forests due to variations in rainfall patterns and an increase in the range of arid areas, such as subtropical deserts.

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