The term ‘Global Warming’ has definitely shaken the globe by now. World over, governments, researchers and science institutes are being plagued by this alarming phenomenon and trying to address the issue. Global warming is basically the increase in the average temperature of air near the earth’s surface. In the last 100 years, this temperature has risen by about 0.74 degree Celsius. Although this value appears quite small, it is enough to make the ice caps melt and sink the world in a deluge of floods in the coming future.
This increase in the air’s average temperature has been brought about by the enhanced emissions of the Greenhouse gases namely carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and water vapour. The Greenhouse effect is the process by which the absorption and emission of infrared radiation by the greenhouse gases takes place. Although the greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon which is required to make the earth warm enough to have habitable conditions, an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases spells danger.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the world, the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have increased by 31% and 149% respectively, leading to an increase in the global temperatures. This disquieting trend has been spurred by the callous human attitude towards earth. From burning of fossil fuels for meeting the burgeoning fuel needs to clearing of land due to urbanization and industrialization, all these acts have led to the enhanced greenhouse effect. CFC’s or chlorofluorocarbons which are used in refrigeration, air conditioning and even your favourite deodorants deplete the stratospheric ozone layer.
Global warming can have disastrous effects on the climate. Heating up of the globe will lead to melting of ice on the poles and glaciers, something that has already started in Greenland. In fact, the ocean levels have already increased by about 15-20 cm in the last century. Closer home, the Gangotri glacier has retreated from its source as a result of global warming. Also, the All-India average air temperature has increased by 0.6 degree Celsius. Besides Arctic shrinkage and altering agricultural patterns, an outbreak of tropical diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and Cholera etc will further aggravate the situation. Erratic weather and rainfall patterns and disturbed ocean currents leading will have severe economic ramifications.
Although efforts have been made to fight global warming in the form of the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing green house emissions and many other environmental panels IPCC (Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change), the situation is still worrying. To change the upsetting conditions, initiatives need to be made at the grassroots level.
All of us in our little ways can make a significant contribution in cooling our planet. Some simple solutions to reduce the greenhouse emissions include using energy saving CFL bulbs, using programmable thermostats with air conditioners (it also lowers your electricity bills!), not leaving television on standby mode, employing renewable sources of energy and following the 3R spell of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Infact institutes like the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, US have also suggested that painting the world white may help in alleviating global warming. The study suggests that painting roads and rooftops with white paint will help in reflecting of infrared rays which are currently being bounced back. This would result in a cooling effect and lead to energy saving in cities, as it will discourage the use of air conditioners in summers.
So whatever method you choose, the aim should be to prevent our homes from getting charred and create a greener and cooler tomorrow. So what do you say? Lets do something cool today!