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Is global warming human induced or is it a natural phenomenon?

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Introduction

Is global warming human induced or is it a natural phenomenon? The term Global Warming refers to the observation that the atmosphere near the Earth's surface is warming. In recent times there has been a surge in the awareness about global warming. The causes of global warming are the subject of extensive research around the world and scientists have come up with a significant amount of evidence showing that the earth's temperature is rising at a constant rate. In last century alone the temperature has increased by more than 1�C. This warming has been particularly strong during the last 20 years and has brought along retreating glaciers, thinning arctic ice, rising sea levels, lengthening of growing seasons, and earlier arrival of migratory birds. The issue of global warming concerns us all and the effects of global warming can have are far too much risk to be ignored.1 Even though a lot of evidence points towards the fact that global warming is taking place, a considerable number of people still dismiss this idea. The question of whether global warming is actually taking place is another issue which comes up and I will not go into the details of this question. In this essay I will simply assume that global warming is taking place. Firstly, because all the research points towards that way and secondly, there is general view to believe it global warming is taking place. ...read more.

Middle

According to a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)10 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually circulates between the earth's ocean and the atmosphere, and another 60 billion tons exchange between the vegetation and the atmosphere. We can compare this data to the man-made emissions which added up to about 5 to 6 billion tons per year, the natural sources would then account for more than 95 percent of all atmospheric carbon dioxide11. According to professor of geography, Robert Essenhigh, "At 6 billion tons, humans are then responsible for a comparatively small amount, less than 5 percent, of atmospheric carbon dioxide," he said. "And if nature is the source of the rest of the carbon dioxide, then it is difficult to see that man-made carbon dioxide can be driving the rising temperatures. In fact, I don't believe it does." 12 Some scientists believe that the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, however small, can upset the earth's environmental balance. Essenhigh has proved that, mathematically, the hypothesis is inadequate and lacks evidence to support the theory13. Another study done by Cambridge University geology department has found that global temperature has been oscillating (going up and down) steadily, with an average rising gradually over the last one million years, long before any human industry began to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The study also showed that during the last 100,000 years, the temperature rose more significantly than it had done before. ...read more.

Conclusion

The conclusion I have come to is that both human activities and natural forces are responsible for global warming. The only question now is which of the two is more influential in bringing about global warming, that is if they are not equally responsible. Appendix Figure 1 Figure 2 Endnotes 1 EPA website, 2002 see appendix (figure 1) for graph showing the temperature 2 Encarta Encyclopedia 2002, 2001 see appendix (figure 2) for diagram explaining greenhouse effect. 3 The Natural Science Foundation is the premier science research facility in the United States. Most of the funding comes from the government. 4 Donellan, 1998 p.3 5 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the organisation in the United States which takes measurements from the oceans and atmosphere. It is funded by the government. 6 Tyler, 1999 p.27 7 Albert Kaufmann is the lead scientist in this study 8 Donellan, 1998 p. 17 9 EPA website, 2002 10 The IPCC was set by the United Nations in order to combat and reduce impact of global warming 11 Essenhigh, 2001 12 Robert Essenhigh is a professor of geography at Boston University and is an expert on global warming 13 Essenhigh, 2001 14 Tyler, 1999 15 EPA website, 2002 16 Millard is a well known expert on global warming and has written several articles on the subject 17 William grey works as a reporter for the BBC. He has published many books and in the last decade he published some of the key findings, which support global warming as being natural. ...read more.

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