Natural Causes of Global Warming That Should Concern Us
Global temperatures have been rising steadily in recent decades, almost certainly due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. But natural factors — including volcanoes, changes in the Earth’s reflectivity or its orbits around the sun — could also be to blame for some or perhaps all of the warming. Regional climate changes that affect rainfall and ocean circulation can also contribute.
1. There Are Many Natural Causes of Global Warming
2. Volcanic Eruptions on Land and In the Oceans
3. The Earths Orbital Changes Affect Global Warming
4. The Sun’s Output and Solar Activity
5. Sandstorms Carry Much More Than Just Sand
6. Natural Processes That Generate Carbon Dioxide
7. Methane Gas Emissions Have Increased
8. Water Vapour Is an Influential Greenhouse Gas
There Are Many Natural Causes of Global Warming
Yes, the earth has warmed over the last two decades and yes, human activity is responsible for making global warming worse. But according to several climate scientists, many of the problems which people blame on global warming are caused by other factors.
The debate over natural causes of global warming has been raging ever since the world started getting warmer. As it gets hotter and hotter, people are beginning to realise that there are other natural causes of global warming besides carbon emissions.
There is no doubt that carbon emissions have helped to cause many environmental problems, but they are not the direct cause of global warming.
The earth’s temperature rises and falls because of several different factors which include:
Volcanic eruptions – Volcanoes erupt when molten rock reaches the earth’s surface through a volcanic vent. When this happens hot lava flows out, along with clouds of gas and ash particles.
These eruptions can be so powerful that they cause tidal waves and tsunamis, but they also release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
Carbon cycle – The carbon cycle is another natural cause of global warming which occurs when carbon compounds break down into their constituent elements and then recombine in different ways.
It is a well-known fact that global warming exists, and as humans, we are contributing to it. However, there has also been an increase in environmental problems that have not been caused by human activity.
Volcanic Eruptions on Land and In the Oceans
Science has proven that global warming is caused by carbon emissions from human activity and there are various causes of global warming.
Volcanoes have left their mark on natural resources, the environment and the climate system for millions of years. Volcanic eruptions are one of the natural causes of global warming.
Eruptions of volcanoes on land and in the oceans are a natural cause of global warming. Volcanoes pump out carbon dioxide and particulate matter into the atmosphere.
The amount of carbon dioxide released by volcanoes each year is lower than that released by humans through burning fossil fuels. However, volcanoes still have a significant impact on global warming.
Volcanic eruptions release a wide range of substances into the atmosphere including water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen fluoride (HF) and hydrogen chloride (HCl).
As these gases react with water vapour in the atmosphere a range of acid rain can form that may fall many hundreds of miles from the volcano.
Volcanic eruptions can also emit aerosols into the atmosphere – tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the air. These particulates reflect incoming sunlight back into space, causing a temporary reduction in global temperatures known as volcanic winter.
The Earths Orbital Changes Affect Global Warming
Global warming has been a big issue in recent years, and it’s important to know that global warming is not only caused by humans. It is caused by the earth’s orbit changing.
Everyone knows the earth has been getting warmer since the beginning of time. But what a lot of people don’t know is that it’s not the only warming that goes on.
Earth’s distance from the sun changes as well. When it gets colder, our planet is moving further away from the sun, and when it gets hotter, our planet moves closer to the sun. This is a direct correlation to global warming.
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The reason why this happens is because of two main reasons. 1) The tilt of the earth’s axis compared to its orbit around the sun is variable and can change over time. 2) The shape of the earth’s orbit changes from being nearly circular to more elliptical.
This causes the earth to move in an ellipse around our sun instead of travelling on a perfect circle. Because of this, at certain points during each year (usually winter), the earth would be further away from the sun than at other times (usually summer).
Over long periods, these variations in distance can have significant effects on global temperature averages as well as weather patterns.
If you consider these two factors, then yes there is good evidence that climate change happens naturally every few thousand years or so without any help from humans.
The Sun’s Output and Solar Activity
There is little argument that man contributes to global warming by the release of greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere. The lion’s share of this blame falls squarely on human fossil fuel consumption and the carbon dioxide it produces when burned.
In the last century, there has been a sharp increase in the earth’s mean global temperature. This increase is widely believed to be caused by human release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Yet, it’s important to note that this increase in temperature is not constant over time. In fact, there are patterns of warming and cooling that occur regularly.
There is evidence that these natural cycles may be driven by sunspot activity on the surface of the sun. Sunspots are areas of extremely high magnetic field strength on the star’s surface; they appear dark due to their lower temperature compared to their surroundings.
How Has Global Warming Affected Your Life?
Global warming, in one form or another, touches all of us. While there is disagreement as to what we should do about the problem, there should be no disagreement that the effect is real. In addition, it won’t go away on its own. It’s real and it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. That’s why we’ll have to find a way to live with it, work around it and thrive despite our changing world.
The number of sunspots visible at any given time changes dramatically over an 11-year cycle – very few sunspots can be seen most of the time, but every 11 years or so there are many more visible at once
Sunspots have been seen for hundreds of years, and some studies have used data from as early as 1610 to investigate solar activity’s effect on climate change.
This research suggests that increased sunspot activity correlates strongly with short term (20 year) periods of global warming, while decreased sunspot activity correlates with short term periods of global cooling.
However, the sun is a dynamic and ever-changing star. Not only does our star undergo cycles of varying solar activity, but its output itself is also gradually increasing.
Sandstorms Carry Much More Than Just Sand
Sandstorms are on the rise globally. The scientific community can’t agree on their origin. Even though global warming is to be blamed for much of them it is not the only cause.
A one-way street, that’s what sandstorms are. They start in the deserts and then travel all over the world with the wind. Many are caused by human activity and are accelerated by climate change.
Sandstorms are not only a source of dust in the atmosphere but also a major source of air pollution which contributes to health problems. The economic impact is also significant for countries affected by the storms.
In some areas, dust storms have become so frequent that people can no longer live there. The people from these regions must migrate elsewhere.
This causes an increase in population density in areas where there is already overpopulation, which puts more pressure on natural resources like water and arable land, causing further desertification.
One of the biggest problems with these storms is their unpredictability. They can strike at any time without warning, leaving people unprepared for them or even catching them by surprise while they’re sleeping!
Sandstorms play an important role in our climate system by reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space and cooling the atmosphere (as well as increasing atmospheric turbidity and affecting human health).
But when it comes to warming from greenhouse gases like CO2, sandstorms take things in a different direction. It absorbs heat from sunlight and warms up, which could amplify rising temperatures from carbon emissions.
Natural Processes That Generate Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is one of the major greenhouse gases that has been at the centre of attention in the global warming debate. The natural processes that generate carbon dioxide are usually offset by other activities that absorb carbon dioxide.
However, human activity results in more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere than can be absorbed.
Earth’s climate has always been changing. The difference today is that human activities have contributed to a large increase in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases compared to pre-industrial times.
Some natural processes, including the respiration of plants and animals, release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This includes humans, as well as other animals.
Carbon dioxide is also produced by the decay of dead organisms. Plants capture a part of this gas during photosynthesis, but some of it still escapes into the atmosphere.
In addition to these biological sources, carbon dioxide is also released through natural geological processes. Volcanic eruptions produce large amounts of carbon dioxide through magma degassing — the release of gases from magma when it cools and crystallises.
The ocean can also be a source of carbon dioxide, releasing large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide into the atmosphere after it’s been taken up from surface waters.
Humans produce CO2 in many ways, with increased use of fossil fuels being one major way that our species has increased its production and release of this greenhouse gas.
Methane Gas Emissions Have Increased
According to scientists, methane gas emissions have increased dramatically since the Industrial Revolution.
Scientists believe this increase is occurring at such a pace and is so dramatic that it cannot be solely explained by natural causes of global warming.
Methane gas is around 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted from human activities.
The sources of methane gas include natural sources, such as wetlands and geologic seeps, and manmade sources, such as agriculture and fossil fuel production.
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The natural sources of methane gas are wetlands, geologic seeps, and methane hydrates. Wetland environments, wherever water covers the soil or is at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods during the year, such as during the wet season.
Wetlands include swamps, marshes and bogs. Geologic seeps are leaks that occur naturally in geological formations that have oil and/or natural gas deposits.
These leaks allow methane to escape from below ground into the atmosphere above ground.
Methane hydrates are ice-like solids that form when large amounts of methane gas are trapped under pressure within sediments beneath oceans or permafrost.
Water Vapour Is an Influential Greenhouse Gas
As surprising as it might seem, water vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. It accounts for around 60% of the greenhouse effect.
However, when we think of water vapour, we don’t see it as a gas since it is always around us in liquid form. But the truth is, whether you’re taking a shower or going for a swim, you’re surrounded by gaseous water vapour that comes out of your body every time you exhale.
Although carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main culprit behind global warming, it still doesn’t make water vapour less important.
In fact, CO2 only accounts for about 20% of the greenhouse effect. At this point, you might be wondering what’s so special about water vapour that makes it responsible for more than half of the greenhouse effect.
The answer is simple – without water vapour on earth, we wouldn’t be able to live here. Water vapour retains heat and protects our planet from extremely cold temperatures that are not suitable for life to exist in the first place.
But since there are two sides to every story, too much water vapour can lead to global warming and cause all sorts of environmental problems such as drought and floods.
The debate on global warming is a mystery to many, but it’s one of the simplest scientific theories. Human activity has and will continue to alter this planet on a scale we have never seen before, and in ways that we cannot even predict.
The more we understand global warming and its implications, the better we can prepare for the future.
There are natural causes of global warming, but climate change is also from human activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.