When Did the Temperature Start Rising on Planet Earth?
The temperature on Planet Earth has been rising for about 150 years or so. This isn’t just because it’s getting hotter in the summertime—it’s also because we’re adding greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) into our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Scientists have known this for decades but since then have had to look for ways to understand what temperatures have been like in the past. Now they’ve found evidence that shows when and how the climate started warming up on our planet.
Human Activity Is Changing Planet Earth’s Climate
The evidence is becoming increasingly clear: we’re changing the climate, making it warmer. Our actions are directly contributing to the greenhouse effect and causing global temperatures to rise.
Climate change is caused by a variety of factors, including natural processes and human activities. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities are causing the planet to warm.
In fact, human activity accounts for about one-third of all earth-warming gases released into the atmosphere by sources such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and certain industrial activities.
Scientists have measured this effect in the atmosphere for decades. They measure these emissions by analysing air samples taken from around the world every year.
The increases in carbon dioxide levels are especially pronounced over the last century. Carbon dioxide is just one type of greenhouse gas — but it’s one whose concentration has increased dramatically due to human activity.
All this extra carbon dioxide in the air is contributing to climate change. As it accumulates in our atmosphere, it traps heat that would otherwise escape into space.
The result? Hotter summers and colder winters, more intense storms and droughts, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers — all of which threaten human life on Planet Earth in some way or another.
There Are Two Types of Global Temperature Data Sets
The land temperature record is only about 150 years old, but it’s the best source for understanding temperature changes over longer timescales.
That’s because land temperatures are relatively well-monitored by local weather stations and national meteorological agencies.
The sea surface temperature record is just over 100 years old. But it provides the most comprehensive view of how much heat is absorbed by oceans. And therefore how much of that heat is being released into the atmosphere.
Both records are important—but they have different strengths and weaknesses. They’re also not compatible with each other: you can’t add together monthly land and sea surface temperature data sets to get annual global averages (or vice versa).
This means that understanding how Planet Earth’s climate works requires taking an approach that blends both types of data sets together whenever possible.
Weather balloon data is also useful for estimating temperatures in regions where there are few thermometers or for comparing temperatures between different parts of the world where there are few thermometer stations.
Weather balloon data is also useful for making short-term forecasts of changing weather conditions such as hurricanes and typhoons.
Relatively new is satellite data which is collected by instruments aboard orbiting satellites. Satellites can provide high-quality information about global climate conditions.
This is because they don’t have to contend with clouds or other weather phenomena that might interfere with measurements made on Planet Earth’s surface by instruments such as thermometers or weather balloons.
Ice, Trees and Corals Are Among the Natural Sources of Information
Scientists use several sources to understand past climate change. Ice cores, tree rings and coral reefs are among the natural sources that can help us understand Planet Earth’s temperature in the past.
Ice cores are long cylinders of ice drilled from glaciers or ice sheets, such as Greenland and Antarctica.
Measurements taken from these cylinders can provide information about past climate conditions including temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because gases trapped in tiny bubbles in the ice provide evidence of past concentrations of greenhouse gases.
The widths of tree rings can tell scientists about past climate conditions on Planet Earth.
The narrower the ring, the warmer it was that year; wider rings indicate cooler conditions. Tree rings also indicate how wet or dry an area has been over time. This can help scientists determine whether droughts have occurred in certain areas of the world in the past and how severe these droughts were.
Coral reefs grow at a relatively slow rate — less than half an inch per year — so they don’t change much over short periods. However, their growth patterns can tell scientists about past changes in ocean temperatures over thousands of years by looking at samples collected from different depths.
Coral reefs are made up of tiny animals called polyps that live inside calcium carbonate skeletons they build on the sea floor. The coral builds its skeleton by secreting calcium carbonate and other minerals from its body. When the coral dies, its skeleton remains intact, creating a reef structure that’s built one rock at a time.
The corals’ growth rates vary depending on the species and environmental conditions. Some corals grow faster than others, which means their skeletons can be used as indicators of past temperatures in the area where they live.
Human Activities Have Increased the Concentration of Greenhouse Gases
Human actions are responsible for raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in Planet Earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases absorb and radiate heat, trapping it inside the atmosphere.
The accumulation of man-made greenhouse gases has dangerously increased the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Greenhouse gases are those that absorb infrared radiation (heat) emitted by Planet Earth, thereby preventing it from escaping into space. This causes an increase in the average global temperature.
There are several different types of greenhouse gases including water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons.
- Water vapour is one of the most plentiful of greenhouse gas in Planet Earth’s atmosphere and is responsible for about 75% of the greenhouse effect. Water vapour is not emitted by human activities, but it does contribute to climate change through the evaporation of water into the air.
- Carbon dioxide is also a greenhouse gas that comes from natural sources such as volcanoes and burning plant matter. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels increase its concentration in the atmosphere.
- Nitrous oxide is emitted by all living things as part of their metabolism; however, human activities such as agriculture and fossil fuel combustion have increased its concentration in the atmosphere by over 300%.
- Methane is emitted by animals such as cows and other ruminants and by landfills.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are synthetic chemicals used in refrigeration systems, air conditioning units, aerosol sprays, foams, and solvents. They are also released into the atmosphere during industrial processes such as aluminium production or chlorine production for use in bleaching paper pulp or making rayon fibre for clothing manufacture.
Planet Earth’s Temperature Is Rising and We Need to Do Something About It
The world has been heating up for the last few decades. The warming of our planet is no longer a debate — there’s irrefutable evidence of global temperature rise over the past 100 years.
Climate change, caused by human actions and commonly referred to as global warming, is happening. And if we don’t do something about it, the hard-hitting consequences will be felt in our lifetimes and beyond.
The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world in the form of heat waves, droughts, and devastating floods. We are also seeing sea level rise and extreme weather events becoming more common.
Climate change has been linked to global warming, which is when temperatures increase due to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
These gases trap extra heat from the sun, leading to higher temperatures on Planet Earth’s surface and lower temperatures in its atmosphere.
It’s important to note that there is no single cause for climate change — rather, it is caused by a few different factors working together or separately over time to influence global temperatures.
Some human activities — such as emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air through burning fossil fuels or cutting down forests — have been shown to contribute significantly to these changes.
But natural processes also play an important role in how much greenhouse gas is released into our planet’s atmosphere.
We Need to Focus on Curbing Our Use of Fossil Fuels Today!
Since Planet Earth was first formed, the climate has been changing. However, over the last few decades, it has changed at a more rapid pace. The rising global temperature is caused by human activity, most notably burning fossil fuels for transportation, electricity production and industrial processes.
The effects of climate change are far-reaching and damaging to the planet’s ecosystems.
They include the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels and increased frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heat waves. These changes will disrupt food supplies worldwide and cause widespread economic damage, particularly in developing nations where poverty is already pervasive.
In addition to these effects on Planet Earth’s environment, climate change also poses a serious threat to our water supply. As temperatures rise due to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, so does evaporation from oceans and lakes — which means less water available for drinking or irrigating crops.
Furthermore, when warmer air combines with colder water it results in more intense rainstorms that can cause flooding. That’s something that coastal communities are already struggling with as sea levels continue to rise.
We need to remember, that the most important thing is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Climate change means different things for different people, depending on where they live, and what resources they have.
Information about climate change can help us understand what we should be prepared for and how we can mitigate its effects.
Our world has seen an increase in global temperature over the past century which is undeniable. Whether this is due to human activity or natural forces is still being debated.
But there is no denying that our world has become increasingly hot and inhospitable to certain lifeforms. That includes the humans that inhabit it.
We have seen several extreme weather events in recent years, from floods and droughts to heat waves, wildfires and hurricanes. These are part of a new normal for our planet, as we become more aware of how our actions affect the environment around us.
It is estimated that we will see an additional 3°C increase in global temperatures by 2100 if we continue our current path — one that does not consider the effects of climate change mitigation efforts or greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The effects of these rising temperatures include an increased risk of wildfires, drought and water scarcity. Increased risk of diseases like malaria. Increased risk of heat-related deaths. Loss of biodiversity.
We could have economic losses due to agriculture failures like droughts. Food security issues as crops fail. A loss of livelihoods for people who rely on agriculture or fishing industries. And even increased conflict over scarce resources like water or food supplies.
Although climate change has been around for many years, the controversy and debate over its existence have not. It’s been shown that despite what some people and individuals might think, global warming will lead to future changes in rainfall patterns, sea levels and the severity of storms.
Whether you believe we cause climate change or we do not, we must know how it impacts us and our daily lives today.
We all know there has been a gradual and steady temperature increase over the last century, but only recently have scientists been able to measure the change.
The planet is warming up because humans burn fossil fuels, which produce carbon dioxide gas. For tens of thousands of years, it was mostly natural changes in Planet Earth’s orbit that caused fluctuations in global temperature.
Given the current state of the planet and its ecosystems coupled with the very real possibility of urgency, it’s hard to believe that a single decade has seen such a dramatic rise in both temperature and global threat.
The world has taken notice, at least to a degree, but it all seems just a little too late. And while no one wants to see an end to the human race, if we continue on this path, we may have no choice.