What are the effects of global warming?  

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth's temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees F. It is projected to continue to do so. Although this increase doesn't seem to be large, it is enough to affect many habitats on Earth. For example, the Polar Ice caps have been melting and glaciers are disappearing on Earth. This changes the habitat for organisms adapted to living and hunting on the glaciers. Meltwater is raising the sea level and this will have the potential to wipe out coastal communities in the future. It is generally accepted that this is due to the combustion of fossil fuels--coal, oil and gas. The waste gas carbon dioxide, which enters the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect. The sun's rays can enter the Earth's atmosphere, and when some of the light energy changes to heat energy, this heat cannot radiate back into space easily due to the excess carbon dioxide. This is how the Earth's temperature has been increasing at a rapid pace.The patterns of preciptation will change and possibly, more desert and tropical areas will replace cooler temperate biomes in the future. This will expand the territory of some organisms, such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes and may wipe out the habitat of other organisms, leading to their demise. Predictions using climate models in computers have shown scenarios such as these. However, our supplies of fossil fuels are going to run out at the end of this century. Perhaps, with the development of new technologies like solar, wind, hydrogen fuel, etc., maybe the predictions will be wrong. If less carbon dioxide is released, perhaps the path we are currently on, can be avoided.

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