of the Earth
In the summer of 2005, a deadly disaster known as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, leaving the country in a state of devastation, filling our hearts with sorrow. For the first time, current events caught my attention, not because many died, but because many more could die. Katrina was ranked one of the five deadliest and most destructive hurricanes in the United States (Hurricane Katrina). Scientists noticed that the power and destruction of hurricanes has increased more than 50% in the last 50 years, around the time of industrialization, therefore concluding that the force behind their strength was caused by the heat buildup of Global Warming (Global Warming is a Serious Threat). If global warming is the power house of these fatal natural disasters and is still increasing in power everyday with its intake on greenhouse gasses and its magnification of the sun, then the earth will eventually wither away and die. I believe that Global Warming is caused by humans, and that will end up harming themselves, the earth’s natural cycle, and lead to many destructive natural disasters.
Global Warming is caused by the excessive ejection of carbon dioxide revolving around the earth’s atmosphere. The pollution mainly comes from cars, factories, and even the carbon dioxide that humans release from their bodies when they breathe. With all the uncontrollable overpopulation that the human race is encountering today, humans would barely have enough land to live on, and the fact that their carbon dioxide level has also increased massively, the earth would eventually suffocate and wither away. When the infrared radiation of the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere, it is held there by what is known as the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse effect is caused by burning of fossil fuels and other gases released into the atmosphere, which traps the heat from escaping from Earth’s surface resulting in temperature increase. This is an important process manufactured by the earth’s natural boundaries in order to keep the earth at warm temperatures for life to exist and flourish (Climate Change Kid Site). The greenhouse effect is necessary to sustain life on earth but a concentrated amount of these gases will cause excessive trappings of heat and deplete the protective ozone that guards humans from harmful radiation. Consequently more harmful radiation will penetrate into the earth’s surface and cause health risks such as skin cancers and sun exposure related illnesses. With all the pollution and carbon dioxide released, all the earth is capable of doing is to store all of the carbon dioxide, causing an unnatural greenhouse side-effect. As with plants in a green house, the earth takes in the sun and holds in the heat, but instead of being a beneficiary, global warming will be the cause of its destruction.
The ice covered part of the Arctic Ocean, surrounded by land, is known as the Arctic, with temperature’s averaging around 23-36 degrees Fahrenheit on a daily basis (Goudarzi, Sara). In the last couple of decades, the Arctic’s land mass is constricting, or melting away, about 9% each decade and could possibly be completely depleted by the end of this century. The sun’s magnification on the Arctic regions has increased causing temperatures to rise two times faster as any other location on this earth. In 2000 the largest ice cap started to crack and is now being broken into pieces (Artic Sea Ice Melting as Temperature Climbs). Scientists predicted that this was all due to the excessive amounts of gas trapping the sun’s heat and magnifying its rays, causing the Global Warming epidemic. The wildlife has no choice but alter their living habits to fit into their new habitat . Those organisms that are unable to change, with their new climate, are going to die off and become extinct just as the dodo birds and the dinosaurs. The melting of the Arctic is not only effecting life on its own region, but affecting the entire earth and its habitants. The death of a single species may cause another species to lose a vital source of food or important component necessary to sustain life. If one organisms were to die off due to global warming, it's predator would also die off, from starvation. This, in turn will have a domino effect on other organisms, offsetting the food chain balance. Further more, human’s exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources consequently leads to the extinction of numerous species of animals, fungi, and microorganisms, not only around the Artic but all around the world. The loss of these species, (such as polar bears, penguins, and walruses) causes an imbalance among the ecosystem in which one species is dependent upon another in one way or another whether by indirect or direct association
With the massive polar ice caps melting and breaking off into the ocean, the sea level will rise as a result of the added pressure. Imagine a person adding ice into a full cup of water causing the cup to eventually overflow. That cup of water is a metaphor of what is happening to the earth but in a larger perspective. Scientists recorded and reported that the ice caps that break off in one day are about the amount of water used in New York in one entire year. Melting ice caps are “reportedly releasing about 20 million tons of frozen water” into the ocean everyday, and are the cause of the tremendous increase in the sea levels (Gaffin). Australia, a continent that is surrounded entirely by water, has reported that their sea level has increased over the last 50 years, which they fear will slowly engulf their country. The rise in temperature is just the initiation of many other natural disasters to come. Gaffin believes that floods, hurricanes, and numerous deaths will occur due to the effects of Global Warming.
El Nino is a reoccurring phenomenon resulting from the changes in temperature, which takes place on the Eastern Pacific Ocean every three to eight years. As time progresses, the fluctuations in temperature seem to be getting stronger resulting in devastating disasters along the coastlines. In 1998 the phenomenon came, yet once again on schedule, but this time it left devastation throughout the states and countries around the Pacific Ocean causing an unforgettable catastrophe. This misfortune left California with massive mudslides, Mexico with major hurricanes, floods in many South American countries, drought and fires in Indonesia (Barbour). The rise in temperatures, caused by Global Warming, will not only cause sea levels to rise and disasters such as El Nino from reoccurring.
With the intensification of the sun warming up the ocean, and the rise in sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps, the winds would pick up the heat and the water, empowering little storms along the coastline to erupt into a full blown hurricane. In the 2005 Katrina tragedy, the storm actually accumulated on the bays of the Bahamas surging to the coast of Florida. From the Bahamas traveling through the Gulf of Mexico, it picked up speed with the help of the strong heat concentration, intensified by global warming, and came to be known as one of the strongest hurricanes while at sea (Hurricane Katrina). During that year’s hurricane season, people were frightened by the horror of what has occurred and were afraid of what was to come. Approximately a month later, it was told that another hurricane was to come and hit Texas directly from the side. It was said by the media that this hurricane, Hurricane Rita, would be even stronger than Katrina and would do far worse in damages. Rita and Katrina were merely just two of the hurricanes that have caused destruction to the United States or in the world, but will not be the last especially with the building power of global warming.
As noted by the Bureau of Air Quality in the state of Main, there is a connection between the rise in temperature and global warming. In 1998, the US temperature hit a record high unseen for over 140 years. The rise in temperature caused a great numbers of elderly to be stricken with heat strokes and heat related illnesses, and caused the water level of the Mississippi river to drop to a point where thousands of barges were stranded. The imbalance of chemical compounds, such as chlorofluoro-carbon (CFCs), carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and methane, released into the atmosphere by human activities continues to deplete the protective stratospheric ozone layers that repel and protect us from harmful sun radiations (Raven). These chemical compounds are transparent to the short electromagnetic wavelength discharged by the sun at high energy but once the radiation hits the earth’s surface, it spreads and loses energy and is thus absorbed by the compounds. This in turn traps the heat and raises the earth’s surface temperature leading to other changes in global climates (Patz). Based on TAR data, the IPCC reported that “the temperatures that increased [globally] since mid twentieth century is very likely due to the observation in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentration” (Patz). The glaciers and ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctica are melting due to the increase in temperatures as a result of warming effects. Patz, an environmentalist and renowned author of Environmental Health states that this reduces the area in which diatoms can live. In the case of the reduction of glacier habitat, the diatoms, a “silica-encased algae” which grows beneath the ice (a type of Eukaryotic algae), are reduced in number and its reductions will causes a shortage in food supply for crustaceans and worms, which then is a primary source of food for other marine animals (Patz). These algae become a source of food for crustaceans and worms when it dies and fall to the bottom of the sea. If they are extinct, what will happen to the crabs, lobsters, and worms that whales and other sea creatures feed on?
It is said that “since 1850, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has climbed from about 270 parts per million (ppm) to about 360 ppm today, owing mainly to our use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, to our plowing of the soil, and to our destruction and burning of forests, particularly in the tropics” (Raven, 136). The wealthy nation’s need for industrialization is the cause of the depletion of our earth. While the wealthy nations such as the United States and China flourish in their economy it’s the poor nations that would truly suffer. Third world countries, with their lack of money and development, are helpless against their fight against disease and famine brought upon by global warming. With the increase in pollution, caused by the need for industrialization, of constant emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels in factories and cars, it will cause the negative reaction of the greenhouse effect to occur. This will affect the rise in temperature and the sea level causing floods that could bring in famine and disease with a side of destruction. This would cause malnutrition and the spread of illness (Patz).
In my opinion, human’s need for industrialization is the cause of the unusually strong natural disasters destroying the earth, inflicting the earth with floods, droughts, famine and disease. If we were simply to ignore the warning signs and allow the process of global warming to occur, we might as well sit back and watch our children and future generations die from harmful radiation and health risks associated with it. If we fail to prevent the continuation of global warming, we are heading towards an unhealthy environment for humans, plants, and animal alike, as well as destruction of natural land masses.
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