What is Global Warming? | Types, Definition, Structure, Function & Facts

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the term used to describe the increase in average temperature on Earth. It has to do with the Earth’s general climate rather than the weather on any given day.

History of Global Temperatures

The Earth has undergone temperature changes. Earth has even experienced several ice ages, when temperatures dropped dramatically and much of the world was covered by glaciers. Each time, the planet ends up heating up and melting the ice.

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Why is Global Warming Important?

Even small changes in the planet’s average temperature can have a big impact on the environment. For example, an ice age that has occurred often causes global temperatures to drop by about 5°C.

Here are some of the things that scientists believe can happen as temperatures rise. Some of them are already underway:

Glacier Melting – Many glaciers are melting and shrinking around the world. If the temperature rises, they will continue to melt.

Sea Levels Will Rise – As glaciers melt, sea levels will rise. This can cause flooding in towns near the coast.

Animal Migration – Animals migrate to cooler places when their former habitat becomes too hot. This can upset the food chain and put some species at risk of extinction.

Extreme weather: Some scientists believe that warming will cause more powerful storms as well as more droughts and floods in different parts of the world.

Ecosystem Changes: Cold weather biomes like tundra will shrink, while desserts will continue to grow.

What causes Global Warming?

Global warming is a very complex topic. Some scientists disagree about the cause of the increase in temperature that occurred in the late 20th century. Things that could impact global warming include the planet’s natural temperature fluctuations, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, volcanic eruptions and increased solar activity.

Natural Fluctuations

Earth’s average temperature has varied throughout history. This is partly due to natural temperature variations that occur over time due to a large number of variables. Even small changes in nutrient cycles such as the carbon cycle, oxygen cycle and water cycle have the potential to impact climate over time.

Some scientists believe that the current warming trend is just part of the Earth’s natural temperature change and that it will eventually start to cool again.

Greenhouse Gases

The reason the Earth isn’t a frozen ice ball is because of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases act as an insulator to keep the Earth warm. However, as more and more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere, the Earth will begin to warm up. The main greenhouse gases that keep the Earth warm are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane.
Over the past 100 years, humans have caused a significant increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide. Every time we drive a car or use electricity, more carbon dioxide is released into the air.

Sun Activity

Since all of Earth’s energy and heat comes from the sun, solar activity affects Earth’s temperature. Solar activity actually varies over time, which can change how much energy actually reaches Earth.


When volcanoes erupt, they can change the temperature of the entire Earth in a short time. Indeed, their eruptions send large amounts of ash and particles into the atmosphere. This blocks some of the sun’s rays from reaching the Earth and can cause the Earth to cool. At the same time, volcanic eruptions release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

What can we do about it?

There’s not much we can do about the earth’s natural fluctuations, volcanic eruptions or solar activity, but we can influence the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Many of our daily activities release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, including driving and using electricity. You can help by trying to reduce the amount of electricity you use and the amount of driving you (or your parents) do. Things like carpooling to events and planting trees can help.

Carbon Footprint

One way to measure how much carbon dioxide you are contributing to the atmosphere is to calculate your carbon footprint. There are many factors to consider, including your family car’s gasoline consumption and how your local power plant generates electricity.
Many of the same activities that produce carbon dioxide also pollute the air, so by reducing your carbon footprint you can help the environment in many ways.

Facts About Global Warming

It takes a lot of data and years to determine how Earth’s average temperature is changing. Even then, many scientists disagreed on how to interpret the data.

Since 1990, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by more than 20%.

The United Nations has set up a group called the International Panel on Climate Change to investigate global warming.

One way to reduce carbon dioxide is to use clean renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. These sources also produce much less pollution.