by Cristian Avila-Velazquez, age 14
Since the 1800’s, temperatures have increased in abnormal ways, thus spurring global warming.
“Global warming” refers to the heating up of the Earth’s surface that most scientists concur is taking place. Researchers first began to study global warming in the late 1800’s, and recent studies suggest that in the last century, average temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius. The same studies indicate that temperatures are estimated to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius in the next century.
While these few degrees may not seem like much, many scientists and climate specialists suggest otherwise.
“While four degrees doesn’t seem like much on land, that is a massive temperature change in these environments. It is the equivalent of having summer for the first time in thousands of years,” said ecologist Andrew Thurber, for example.
So, what has caused this worldwide shift in temperatures? Simply put, global warming is caused by too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere, which results in increased warming. These greenhouse gases trap the warmth of the sun. The more gases that are put into the atmosphere, the warmer the Earth becomes.
Though global warming is global--as the name suggests--some places are feeling its effects more than others. For example, in Montana’s Glacier National Park, where there were once 150 glaciers, only 25 remain.
Because of global warming, oceanographers around the world believe that the Earth’s largest ecosystem, its oceans, are in danger. Recently, 20 oceanographers used 31 Earth models to predict global temperature, oxygen levels, and the likely food supply that will exist until the 2100’s. They concluded that the abyssal zone which are 3,000 to 6,000 meters deep on the seafloor, will increase by 0.5 to one degrees Celsius in the North Atlantic and Southern Artic oceans. They also believe that the bathyal zones, 200 to 3,000 meters deep, will increase by four degrees Celsius in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Artic oceans.
This global warming is causing water in the Earth’s oceans to become more acidic, thus leading to lower oxygen levels. This in turn hurts all life in the bathyal and the abyssal zones. In fact, scientists predict that in abyssal zones, which already lack foods, the food supply will be halved. Smaller organisms will therefore die and larger organisms will either flee or perish along with them. Ultimately, this will cause some parts of the world to have an excess amount of one type of animal species.
Global warming has been a notable problem since the early nineteenth century. It has already caused irreversible consequences, and similar damage will continue until the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, ones produced by human activity, are slowed or stopped altogether.
Published with the permission of the Simpson Street Free Press [Sources: ScienceDaily.com; livescience.com]