Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?


Rachael Snyder, Writer

Global warming is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants. It occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2), other air pollutants and greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere, absorb sunlight and solar radiation that has bounced off the Earth’s surface. Usually, this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants which can last years, even centuries, in the atmosphere, trap heat and cause the planet to get hotter. The effects of global warming are melting glaciers, early snowmelt, severe drought, increase in wildfires, rising sea levels, heat waves, heavy downpours, increased flooding, disruption of habitats, an increase in pollen producing ragweed which increases allergies, and an increase of pests such as bugs.

The question is: does global warming exist? Yes, according to science.The current warming trend is most likely to be a result of human activity since the mid 20th century and is proceeding at an alarming rate. The easiest way to tell that the temperature is rising through is the thermometer records kept over the past century and a half. The Earth’s average temperature has risen 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the last century and about twice that in part of the Arctic. Temperatures have also fluctuated among regions of the globe, between seasons or time of day; if you average out the temperatures all over the world for a year you would see that the temperatures have been crawling upwards.

There are other ways to tell that the temperatures have been rising; for example, trees can store information about the climate of the place where they live. Each year trees grow and form new rings. In warmer years the rings grow thicker. The proof is also buried in lakes and oceans; pollen, creatures, and particles fall into the bottoms of oceans and lakes each year which form sediments. Sediments preserve all these bits and pieces which contain information about what was in the air and water when they fell. Scientists reveal this record by inserting hollow tubes into the mud to collect sediment layers going back millions of years. But for a direct look into the climate, scientists drill into the polar ice sheets, bubbles trapped in the ice are pieces of the Earth’s past atmosphere.

Computers can help scientists understand the Earth’s climate or long-term weather patterns. Models also allow scientists to make predictions about the future climate. simulating how the atmosphere and oceans absorb energy from the sun and transport it around the world. Factors that affect the amount of the Sun’s energy reaching the Earth’s surface are greenhouse gases, particles in the atmosphere and changes in energy coming the Sun itself. In conclusion, global warming does, in fact, exist as shown the amount of overwhelming evidence supporting the existence and the effects it has on the environment.