Homeglobal warmingGlobal warming: what is it, causes and effects

Global warming: what is it, causes and effects

Global warming is the phenomenon of the Earth’s temperature increase, which is caused by excess emission of greenhouse gases. 

Climate change can cause desertification, sea level rise and extinction of many species.

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Before you understand the details better, you need to know this story: the planet’s temperature oscillation is a geological process that has occurred naturally for thousands of years. 

However, due to human actions since the period of the Industrial Revolution, in the century. XVII, this course was changed and accelerated.

This natural oscillation has been used by climate deniers since the 1990s, when the discussion began to be put on the agenda by NGOs, activists and government institutions. However, the most recent report by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) confirms that 95% to 100% of this warming is caused by human action.

What are the causes of global warming?

To understand how humans altered the course of Earth’s temperature, it’s necessary to understand how the Earth’s dynamics happen.

You may have heard about the ozone layer (O3). What is known is that it appeared about 400 million years ago and it is the result of the interaction of oxygen (O2) present in the atmosphere with the radiation emitted by the Sun.

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To make a long story short: the interaction of O2 with ultraviolet rays broke these molecules, which reassembled back into the form of O3. This constant interaction created a kind of protective layer for planet Earth’s atmosphere.

The sun releases three types of radiation:

  • UVA rays 
  • UVB rays
  • UVC rays

All these rays are harmful to life, causing burns, cancer and other consequences. It was only with the protection created by the ozone layer that life was possible on the planet, but not only for that reason.

The ozone layer was also largely responsible for the greenhouse effect, which was a good thing — and we can prove it.

Global warming and the greenhouse effect

There is a lot of confusion between global warming and the greenhouse effect, but these phenomena are not the same thing. 

As is known, the sun emits heat to the Earth. The greenhouse effect ensures that part of this heat is trapped in the atmosphere, ensuring a necessary environment for life to happen.

The greenhouse gases are:

– the methane gas
– carbon dioxide
– nitrous oxide
– Fluoride gases

The existence of these gases is something natural, however, their excess prevents the heat that must return to space from escaping.

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Allied to this, since the period of the Industrial Revolution, humanity has released an enormous amount of CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons, gases found in aerosols such as insecticides, refrigerators, air conditioners and more. These gases react with ozone, breaking these molecules down and turning them into other gases, making them thinner and more fragile.

It was with this explosive junction that global warming took its cue. The depletion of the ozone layer brings more solar radiation to the planet as a whole, and greenhouse gases prevent this heat from escaping, causing disastrous results that we are yet to suffer.

What are the consequences of global warming?

The effects of this unnatural phenomenon that is climate change are already manifesting themselves and are likely to worsen by the end of the century.

Some of these effects are more focused on some parts of the world, but as we are part of a large system, all of these have catastrophic effects wherever you are on the globe.

Sea level rise

Far beyond the sad scenes of skinny polar bears and the disaster for biodiversity in Antarctica, the melting of the polar ice caps is already causing sea level rise, which is already predicted to be at least 1 meter by the end of the century. 

Does it seem like little? It’s enough to displace 760 million people living on the coasts and simply banish entire islands from the map, that’s not counting the people who won’t survive this disaster, which is hard to estimate.

The Permafrost

Simply put, Permafrost is an ice sheet that covers 20% of the Earth’s surface. By definition, it’s something that stays below 0° for at least 2 years in a row, but some of these are hundreds of years old.

Mixed with ice, there is earth, vegetables and other traces of the past. With the melting, this organic matter that is already melting will release the equivalent of 4 or 6 years of greenhouse gas emissions, considerably reducing our short time to solve the problem of global warming.

Furthermore, scientists point out that bringing this organic matter to light should also release bringing back the agents causing the lethal infections that nearly decimated our species in the 18th and 19th centuries. easy to spread a vector like this worldwide.

By 2100, about 74% of the Earth’s population will suffer from deadly heatwaves, like the one in 2003, which killed approximately 70,000 people, but in global proportions.

Deadly Heatwaves

In this case, there will be more than 20 days a year in which the air temperature and humidity conditions will simply become deadly. This is a process that has happened a few times in the last few centuries and should affect the whole world, with a focus, above all, on the countries on the Equator and that are in the tropics, as you can see in this map below.


The desertification process is a factor that deserves a lot of attention. This phenomenon happens because of an entire cycle of aggressions.

Deforestation modifies the rain cycle, leaving the soil drier. Mass extraction of vegetation removes essential nutrients from the soil, preventing the growth of new plants. Dryer weather also favors fires, which intensify this process. 
Finally, the use of pesticides blocks the production capacity of the soil.
With this, the land that was previously formed by vegetation is transformed into desert, without the possibility of recovery.

This problem has alarming consequences, as without adequate soil there is no food, aggravating even more the problem of hunger in the world. Rural communities, which work with the countryside, are forced to move to urban centers, without jobs, aggravating the mega population density of cities and bringing even more inequality.

The water cycle 

Deforestation and global warming bring radical changes in rainfall patterns. 

In countries like Brazil, the north and northeast regions, closer to the Equator, offer a worrying drought trend, with a temperature increase of up to 4 degrees for the region’s average temperature. 

In regions to the south of the mainland country, the rains can be much more frequent and aggressive, causing large floods and displacement of populations living in these regions.

In addition, territories that depend on hydroelectric plants for energy generation must suffer constant blackouts due to rainfall instability, which will not only generate major impacts on quality of life or economic productivity, but also have serious impacts on the conservation of refrigerated food and hospital operations.

How to fight global warming

You have to be realistic. Some of these consequences already happen, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the region of the planet where you are. 

According to the IPCC report, the best scenario for the Earth is a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

This scenario, however, depends on a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 

We have less than a decade to revolutionize our lifestyle on a global scale, bring new solutions that involve all social layers and find possible innovations to reverse the damage that has already been announced.

There are a few ways a general population can help. In addition to the obvious changes, such as using fewer cars and correctly applying selective collection, it is necessary to ally with those who have great powers in this battle.

There are institutions where you can offset carbon footprint, planting, monitoring and conserving new forests to reverse existing damage. You don’t need to choose among them. You can be part of a lot of NGOs and support projects such as the Hourglass website.

There are also several associations that promote the protection of species such as bees, which are crucial in the vegetation growth process. You can support any of the existing shrines.

In short, it doesn’t matter if you want to join those who protect marine life, organic foods, defending indigenous communities, endangered species sanctuaries or mass reforestation. 

The important thing is that we do what we can to overcome the greatest threat of generalized extinction since the meteor crash that extinguished the dinosaurs.

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