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What are the factors contributing to the rise in the global warming?

Global warming is the current rise in the average temperature of Earth's oceans and atmosphere. The scientific consensus is that global warming is occurring and was initiated by human activities, especially those that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels.[2][3]

During the 20th century, global surface temperature increased by about 0.74 °C (1.33 °F)[7][A] Using computer models of the climate system based on six greenhouse-gas emission scenarios, the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that global surface temperature is likely to rise 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) by 2100.[7][8]

An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts.[9] Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events including heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall events, species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes, and changes in agricultural yields. The Kyoto Protocol is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentration to prevent a "dangerous anthropogenic interference".[12] As of May 2010, 192 states had ratified the protocol.[13] The only members of the UNFCCC that were asked to sign the treaty but have not yet ratified it are the USA and Afghanistan. Proposed responses to global warming include mitigation to reduce emissions, adaptation to the effects of global warming, and geoengineering to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or reflect incoming solar radiation back to space. According to a recent Gallup poll, people in most countries are more likely to attribute global warming to human activities than to natural causes. The major exception is the U.S., where nearly half the US population attributes global warming to natural causes despite overwhelming scientific opinion to the contrary.[14]

Evidence for warming of the climate system includes observed increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.[15][16][17][18] The most common measure of global warming is the trend in globally averaged temperature near the Earth's surface. Expressed as a linear trend, this temperature rose by 0.74 ± 0.18 °C over the period 1906–2005. The rate of warming over the last half of that period was almost double that for the period as a whole (0.13 ± 0.03 °C per decade, versus 0.07 °C ± 0.02 °C per decade). The urban heat island effect is estimated to account for about 0.002 °C of warming per decade since 1900.[19] Temperatures in the lower troposphere have increased between 0.13 and 0.22 °C (0.22 and 0.4 °F) per decade since 1979, according to satellite temperature measurements. Temperature is believed to have been relatively stable over the one or two thousand years before 1850, with regionally varying fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.[20]

Recent estimates by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Climatic Data Center show that 2005 and 2010 tied for the planet's warmest year since reliable, widespread instrumental measurements became available in the late 19th century, exceeding 1998 by a few hundredths of a degree.[21][22][23] Current estimates by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) show 2005 as the second warmest year, behind 1998 with 2003 and 2010 tied for third warmest year, however, “the error estimate for individual years … is at least ten times larger than the differences between these three years.”[24] The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) statement on the status of the global climate in 2010 explains that, “The 2010 nominal value of +0.53°C ranks just ahead of those of 2005 (+0.52°C) and 1998 (+0.51°C), although the differences between the three years are not statistically significant…”[25]

Temperature changes vary over the globe. Since 1979, land temperatures have increased about twice as fast as ocean temperatures (0.25 °C per decade against 0.13 °C per decade).[29] Ocean temperatures increase more slowly than land temperatures because of the larger effective heat capacity of the oceans and because the ocean loses more heat by evaporation.[30] The Northern Hemisphere warms faster than the Southern Hemisphere because it has more land and because it has extensive areas of seasonal snow and sea-ice cover subject to ice-albedo feedback. Although more greenhouse gases are emitted in the Northern than Southern Hemisphere this does not contribute to the difference in warming because the major greenhouse gases persist long enough to mix between hemispheres.[31]

 

Global warming has a variety of causes.  One of the largest factors contributing to global warming is the general problem of overpopulation and its many effects.

The greater number of people consume more items which take more energy to make, they drive more cars, and create larger amounts of garbage.  These factors all increase the global warming problem.

Many different gases can increase the planet's temperature.  The number of different products and human activities that contribute to global warming are so numerous that finding solutions to the problem is very difficult.

  1. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). This releases carbon dioxide that had been stored underground for millions of years. This extra CO2 is causing the enhanced greenhouse effect.
  2. Cutting down the earth's forests without replanting. Deforestation removes trees and vegetation that absorb and store carbon. Half a tree's weight is carbon, but when trees die they release their carbon and absorb no more.
  3. Releasing other greenhouse gases. Methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more powerful than CO2, is belched by cattle. The world's demand for red meat means more and more cattle, and sometimes forests cut down for pasture. As frozen lands warm, from global warming, more methane is released.
  4. The world's growing demand for electricity. 500 million homes in India, for example, have no electricity. As the world's population grows, the demand for power grows too. At present most of the world's electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels.     


More details:

Global warming is a rise in average global temperature. It is part of natural heating and cooling global cycles which take place over thousands of years and cause rises and falls of sea level and encroachment and retreat of glaciers and the ice caps. These temperature variations are dominantly driven by energy from the sun with distance from the sun and the sun's current energy output being the main contributers, and the angle of the earth to the sun being next in importance. This is the energy basis for the changes in seasons and average global variations in temperature. The timing and extent of these global cycles can be roughly predicted using Milankovich Cycles, which identify our planet's position, orientation, and movement relative to the sun. A great deal of interest and concern has been raised in recent years over the impact on global temperatures by man. While these may be minor temperature perturbations relative to those caused by the sun, they may result in changes to living conditions which could greatly effect the human population. However, today's climate change is happening far too fast to be the same as other climate swings.

.

Coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil. Natural gas gives off 50% of the carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, released by coal and 25% less carbon dioxide than oil, for the same amount of energy produced. Coal contains about 80 percent more carbon per unit of energy than gas does, and oil contains about 40 percent more. For the typical U.S. household, a metric ton of carbon equals about 10,000 miles of driving at 25 miles per gallon of gasoline or about one year of home heating using a natural gas-fired furnace or about four months of electricity from coal-fired generation.

Carbon Dioxide Emitted from Cars
About 20% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions comes from the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engines of cars and light trucks (minivans, sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, jeeps).

The United States is the largest consumer of oil.
Senator Joseph Lieberman says, "If we can get 3 miles more per gallon from our cars, we'll save 1 million barrels of oil a day, which is exactly what the (Arctic National Wildlife) Refuge at its best in Alaska would produce."

The gas mileage of 2000 model vehicles averaged 28.1 miles per gallon, worst fuel economy since 1980. The main reason for the decline in gas mileage was the popularity of the SUV, garnering about 50% of car sales in 2000. If car manufacturers were to increase their fleets' average gas mileage about 3 miles per gallon, this country could save a million barrels of oil every day, while US drivers would save $25 billion in fuel costs annually.

Carbon Dioxide from Trucks
About another 13% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions comes from trucks used mostly for commercial purposes.

Carbon Dioxide from Airplanes
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that aviation causes 3.5 percent of global warming, and that the figure could rise to 15 percent by 2050.

Carbon Dioxide from Buildings
Buildings structure account for about 12% of carbon dioxide emissions.


Deforestation
After carbon emissions caused by humans, deforestation is the second principle cause of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Deforestation is responsible for 25% of all carbon emissions entering the atmosphere, by the burning and cutting of about 34 million acres of trees each year.

We are losing millions of acres of rain forests each year, the equivalent in area to the size of Italy. [22]

The destroying of tropical forests alone is throwing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. We are also losing temperate forests. The temperate forests of the world account for an absorption rate of 2 billion tons of carbon annually. In the temperate forests of Siberia alone, the earth is losing 10 million acres per year.

City Gridlock:
Cities are tolerating gridlock. In 1996 according to an annual study by traffic engineers [as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle December 10, 1996] from Texas A and M University, it was found that drivers in Los Angeles and New York City alone wasted 600 million gallons of gas annually while just sitting in traffic. The 600 million gallons of gas translates to about 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide in just those two cities.

Carbon in Atmosphere and Ocean:
The atmosphere contains about 750 billion tons of carbon, while 800 billion tons are dissolved in the surface layers of the world's oceans.

The Earth tilts ever so slightly every year, causing the sun to be at a different angle than normal.    

A:

The temperature of any planet is the result of the (radiant) energy that comes from the sun MINUS the amount of energy that the planet radiates into space.

Therefore anything that changes the amount of energy that reaches the planet (clouds, dust) or anything that blocks heat from escaping is a factor that contributes to global warming. This last is where "green house gases" come in; they (partially) block the heat that radiates from the planet.

Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas. At normal concentrations, it, along with other greenhouse gases, helps maintain global temperatures at a level that is comfortable for humans and other animals that have adapted to the present climate. This is the natural part of global warming.

By adding new carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which we do by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, and by cement manufacture, we interfere with the natural process and create enhanced global warming. Throughout human history until the Industrial Age, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were in the range 260-280 parts per million (ppm) and never higher than this. The increase in concentrations of carbon dioxide to the present level of 380 ppm is accepted by research scientists as principally the result of human activity and so the resultant enhanced global warming is anthropogenic.

 

 

Suggest preventive measures that may stop the rise in global warming?

                   Whenever you save energy--or use it more efficiently--you reduce the demand for gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas. Less burning of these fossil fuels means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. Right now the U.S. releases about 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person each year. If we can reduce energy use enough to lower greenhouse gas emissions by about 2% a year, in ten years we will "lose" about 7000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per person.

HOME APPLIANCES

2.Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (for two loads a week): up to 500 pounds a year.

3.Turn down your water heater thermostat; 120 degrees is usually hot enough.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (for each 10- degree adjustment): 500 pounds a year.
 
 

HOME HEATING AND COOLING

 4.Don't overheat or overcool rooms. Adjust your thermostat (lower in winter, higher in summer).
            Carbon dioxide reduction (for each 2-degree adjustment): about 500 pounds a year.

5.Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5% of the energy used.
            Carbon dioxide reduction: About 175 pounds a year.
 
 

SMALL INVESTMENTS THAT PAY OFF

6.Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used lights.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (by replacing one frequently used bulb): about 500 pounds a year.

7.Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket (but only if the water heater is over 5 years old and has no internal insulation).
            Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 1000 pounds a year.

8.Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water.
            Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 300 pounds a year.

 

GETTING AROUND

11.Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (for every gallon of gasoline you save): 20 pounds.

12.When you buy a car, choose one that gets good gas mileage.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (if your new car gets 10 mpg more than
                        your old one): about 2500 pounds a year.
 
 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

13.Reduce waste: Buy minimally packaged goods; choose reusable products over disposable ones; recycle.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (if you cut down your garbage by 25%): 1000 pounds a year.

14.If your car has an air conditioner, make sure its coolant is recycled whenever you have it serviced.
            Equivalent carbon dioxide reduction: Thousands of pounds.
 
 

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

 15.Insulate your walls and ceilings; this can save about 25% of home heating bills.
            Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 2000 pounds a year.

16.If you need to replace your windows, install the best energy-saving models.
            Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 10,000 pounds a year.

17.Plant trees next to your home and paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color in a cold climate.
            Carbon dioxide reduction: About 5000 pounds a year.

18.As you replace home appliances, select the most energy-efficient  models.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (if you replace your old refrigerator
                        with an efficient model): 3000 pounds a year.
 
 

SCHOOLS, BUSINESS, AND COMMUNITIES

19.Reduce waste and promote energy-efficient measures at your school or workplace. Work in your community to set up recycling programs.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (for every pound of office paper recycled): 4 pounds.

20.Be informed about environmental issues. Keep track of candidates' voting records and write or call to express concerns.
            Carbon dioxide reduction (if we vote to raise U.S. auto fuel efficiency): Billions of pounds.

LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING POLLUTION

Raise your voice. Congress needs to enact new laws that cap carbon emissions and require polluters pay for the global warming gases that they produce. Send a message to your elected officials, letting them know that you will hold them accountable for what they do -- or fail to do -- about global warming. Take action here.

GREEN JOBS AND CLEAN ENERGY

Choose renewable energy. Pick a Green-e-certified energy supplier that generates at least half of its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources. If you don't have that option, look at your current electricity bill to see if you are able to support renewable energy in another way. For details, see NRDC's guide to buying clean energy.

Offset your carbon footprint. You can make up for your remaining carbon output by  purchasing carbon offsets. Offsets represent clean power that you can add to the nation's energy grid in place of power from fossil fuels. Not all offset companies are alike. See our guide to carbon offsets for tips on how to choose an offset supplier.

DRIVE SMARTER CARS

Choose an efficient vehicle: High-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids use less gas and save money. Over its lifetime, a 40-mpg car will save roughly $3,000 in fuel costs compared with a 20-mpg car. Compare fuel economy performance before you buy.

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