- The Earth is getting warmer and warmer
- This warming is primarily caused by human activity
- The results of global warming are potentially disastrous if we don't change the way we do things now.
Notice how this is slightly different than the politically motivated 4 points that Gore makes (See A Convenient Lie Part 1). Politics aside, these are the arguments that the scientists who believe in global warming are making.
Of course, arguments 2 and 3 are meaningless unless you can demonstrate merit in argument number 1.
Above is the now famous "hockey stick" graph that indicates the correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature levels. The basic idea is: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas (a gas that traps heat). Human-caused pollutants since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have been adding to the CO2 levels of the atmosphere. As a result of more of this heat-trapping gas, the Earth's climate has been getting warmer.
Most major cities have been keeping daily temperature since the 1880's, some have records as far back as the 1860's. It is generally agreed that the United States and Europe have seen an increase in average temperature over this time by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. This can be significant enough to melt ice in northern regions or at high elevations up to a month early. Indeed, it is now believed that the glaciers in the lower 48 states (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and California all have glaciers) will be completely gone before the end of the 21'st century, possibly by 2050.
In addition, the increase in large hurricanes has been attributed to the global warming effect. As ice melts into the oceans, the salinity goes down and cools the water. This cooler, less salty, ocean water will evaporate quicker and cause larger storms.
The aforementioned increase in large storms is one of many potential disasters increased global warming will cause. Additionally, we will have to concern ourselves with:
- More disease as bacteria and insects that bear dangerous contagions tend to thrive in warmer weather.
- Increased ocean levels that can potentially flood coastal cities.
- Droughts will occur in certain areas, flooding in others as storms will tend to be fewer, but larger.
- More wildfires due to dry lightning and drought.
- Children and the elderly will have problems dealing with the hotter weather.
I want to note that I have read many articles on this subject. Some from other bloggers, others from scientific organizations. Here are some.