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7/27/2014

Global Warming Statistics

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Global Warming Statistics


If you are finding it difficult to make sense of all the commotion on global warming and climate change, the
statistics provided here will be of some help for you. An eye-opener for sure, especially for those who feel
that the entire concept is hyped.
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In a Gallup poll taken in March 2013, 58 percent of


Americans said that they 'worry a great deal' or 'fair
amount' about global warming .
Global warming has left the entire world divided into two groups.
On one hand, we have the critics who think that the computer
models used to study global warming and climate change, are too
crude to be taken seriously. On the other, we have the scientists
who claim that this phenomenon is real, and further add that, we
need to find a solution for it as soon as possible. The end result is confusion all around, especially for those
who are not familiar with geographical concepts and jargon.
We humans have been fueling global warming indirectly since a long time. While that might have something
to do with our ignorance about the phenomenon, it's high time we take a note of our misdeeds and restrain
from fueling it. Without further ado, here are some numbers that are startling enough to be taken seriously.

Statistical Analysis of Global Warming


The statistical data compiled by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which monitors
global surface temperatures, has revealed that the average near-surface temperature of the Earth has
soared by 1.4F since 1880.

Even worse is the fact that the global temperature has started increasing at an alarming rate of
0.36F per decade of late. If the GISS data is to be believed, the top 10 warmest years on the planet
have all occurred between 1998 and 2012.

The first decade of this century was the warmest decade ever, with 2005 and 2010 having the
distinction of being the warmest years in the planet's history. 2012, on the other hand, was the ninth
warmest year to be recorded.

Interestingly, 2012which features at the ninth position in the list of warmest yearswas the
warmest year on record for the contiguous U.S., according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Furthermore, the data compiled by the U.S. Global Change Research Program reveals that the
temperature in the United States has increased by 2F in the last 50 years. During the same period, the
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Global Warming Statistics

country also witnessed 5 percent rise in precipitation.

Regardless of which study you take into consideration, you will find carbon dioxide concentration
topping the causes of global warming. An enormous amount of carbon dioxide is released in the
atmosphere as a result of numerous anthropogenic activities, including the use of vehicles and industrial
waste. Statistics reveal that coal alone constitutes for about 90 percent of the carbon concentration in the
Earth's atmosphere.

Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has soared from 280 parts-per-million (ppm) in 1880 to
392.6 ppm in 2012. More recentlyon May 9, 2013 to be precisethe same crossed the 400 ppm mark for
the first time. Since then, however, it has been below the said mark.

If scientists are to be believed, the levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere could reach as
high as 970 ppm at the ongoing rate, which, mind you, is just a conservative estimate.

In the United States, carbon dioxide accounted for 84 percent of greenhouse emissions from
anthropogenic activities in 2011. At 32 percent, the combustion of fossil fuels for power generation is the
largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in America.

Carbon dioxide is, however, just one of the numerous greenhouse gases which contribute to the
global warming phenomenon. Other gases include water vapor (36 - 72 percent), methane (4 - 9 percent),
ozone (3 - 7 percent) etc.

When we talk of global warming potential of greenhouse gases, methane is worse than carbon
dioxide. The atmospheric concentration of methane increased from 700 parts-per-billion (ppb) in 1750s to
1745 ppb in 1990s.

With a net lifetime of 8.5 years, methane plays a significant role in fueling the rise in the average
global temperature. If we stop all the activities which release methane in the atmosphere at this very
moment, it will take about 8.5 years to get rid of it from the Earth's atmosphere.

Glacial melting is one of the most prominent evidence of global warming. The Glacier National Park in
Montana, USA, is left with only 27 glaciers today; down from 150 in 1910. Furthermore, if the predictions
made by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are to be believed, the Glacier National Park will be devoid of
glaciers by as early as 2030.

Another example is that of the glaciers in the Himalayan mountain range. A study related to global
warming and melting glaciers by the IPCC revealed that the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035.
Glacial melting will not just affect the supply of drinking water, but also cause flash floods in this region,
thus leaving thousands of people homeless.

A similar condition is seen in the polar areas, where ice caps are melting rapidly as a result of
unusually warm climate. Scientists are of the opinion that Greenland and Antarctica are losing thrice the
amount of ice they used to in 1990s.

The Arctic Ocean will be free of summer ice by 2100. While many scientists would agree with that,
there are some who suggest that this is more likely to happen between 2060 - 2080.

Melting glaciers and polar ice caps are causing the sea level to rise. If the data compiled by the U.S.
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to be believed, a rise of 6 - 8 inches has been seen in the sea
level across the world. If the ice caps in Greenland melt, it will cause the ocean to rise by about 20 meters.

The most obvious abnormalities in weather can be seen in context of drought and precipitation
patterns. The percentage of land affected by droughts worldwide has doubled from what it was in 1970s.
In the United States, an estimated 30 - 60 percent of land is subjected to drought at any given time of
every year.

While the world has experienced a rise in the amount of precipitation by 2 percent per decade, the
same for the United States has been approximately 6 percent per decade. Similarly, the frequency of heat
waves in the United States, which had gone down in 1960s and 1970s, has suddenly shot up.

Statistics published in the environmental journal, Nature, reveal that the frequency as well as the
intensity of hurricanes has increased by a considerable extent over the last 30 years. If we go by
estimates, every 1.8F rise in the surface temperature of the ocean results in 5 percent increase in the
intensity of hurricanes.

Everybody is bearing the brunt of climate change; plant and animals are no exception. Over the last
150 years, the planet has lost around 40 percent of its forest cover, and seen a rise of 30 percent in
terms of desertification.

Around 15 - 37 percent of plant and animal species inhabiting the Earth are likely to be wiped out as a
result of global warming by 2050. A look at the list of extinct animals reveals that more than 50 species
have become extinct over the last century alone; things are just expected to get worse with time.

Amphibians are by far the worst affected by global warming, with climate change resulting in habitat
destruction for them. Around 52 percent of amphibians are believed to be vulnerable to the effects of the
phenomenon. So are 35 percent of bird species on the planet.

Even mammals are at the receiving end when we talk of global-warming casualties. In 2007, the USGS
estimated that the polar bear population would decrease by two-thirds by 2050, as a result of sea-ice
decline. The species was enlisted as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

Global warming is taking its toll on coral reefs as well. It's estimated that around 71 percent of these
reefs are vulnerable to climate change. On an average, we are losing 1 percent of coral reefs every year.
The Caribbeana coral heaven at one point of timehas lost 80 percent of its reefs over the last 30 - 40
years.
You can dismiss these stats as exaggerated numbers, but the fact remains that global warming is
happening, and that's becoming more and more obvious with every passing moment. It's high time we start
working on solutions; doomsday is just round the corner.
By Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: August 5, 2013

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