Global Warming and the United States

The idea of global warming has inspired books, movies, and lots of controversy. Some say it’s just a phase, some say it’s a repercussion of years of fossil fuel usage, unknowingly harming the ozone layer, and cutting down trees.

My personal view is that, yes, global warming is a naturally occuring part of a cycle. However, humankind has accelerated the heating through the use of automobiles and through the horrifically rapid destruction of rain forests, diminishing the carbon dioxide handling capabilities that, for a while, prevented global warming from advancing to its current rate. In the 20th century, the Earth’s average near-surface atmospheric temperature rose .4 degrees Fahrenheit.

.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure doesn’t seem like a whole lot, does it?

Perhaps you’ve noted the increasingly violent hurricanes bombarding the coastal United States. I certainly have. I live there. In the past, when my parents were my age, there were very, very few hurricanes that strengthened past category two. But last year, records were broken; Rita, Katrina, and Wilma wrought devastation with high winds and rain, as did the several hurricanes before them that struck Florida.

Hurricanes that hit the gulf coast get their strength from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, the waters were a little warmer than usual. Look what happened. We had a major problem. And the temperature was only slightly higher. This change has occured only within the past half-century or so, what with the rapidly advancing fuel consumption of the world and the continual destruction of forests.

Some scientists estimate that at the current rate of heating, within the next 100 years, the world’s sea levels will rise three feet. Three feet is higher than knee-level on a lot of people. Beaches will be swallowed by the sea, and the overall dry landmass of the world will decline as the ocean slowly reclaims it.What about in two hundred years? Three hundred? What will be left? Human evolution has stopped for the most part; we aren’t growing gills anytime soon.

Already, we can see other effects. Venice has sunk as much as 10 centimeters, though, luckily, this has been stopped or greatly slowed. The waters are slowly creeping up on the city, and flood gates are now being considered sole salvation. Seasonal high waters flood the lower parts of the city, eating away at the foundations of various buildings.St. Mark’s Square, one of the oldest points in Venice, housing historical treasures such as St. Mark’s Basilica and Doges’ Palace, flooded less than ten times a year in the first ten years of the 20th century. Now, it floods around sixty times a year.

There are record-high temperatures in some areas of the United States right now.
There is speculation that, eventually, we will become like our sister planet, Venus. Acid rain, poison atmosphere, and raging hot temperatures.

Consider the following: acid rain is caused by waste, which has been burned, polluting the air with sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide reacts with atmospheric moisture and precipitation to form acid rain. Acid rain is essentially a weak sulfuric acid. Sulfuric is the same stuff that runs in some car batteries, is used to unclog drains, and is used for various industrial purposes.

This is not something you want all around you, even diluted.If we continue polluting the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide will increase, resulting in more acid rain. Eventually, the sulfur dioxide present will come to produce more acidic acid rain, growing ever-closer to the likeness of true sulfuric acid.
Something reminescent of Venus.

Toxic atmosphere could result from any number of things. Excessive pollution, perhaps.
The high temperatures characteristic of Venus, possibly, could eventually become characteristic of Earth as well. We’re well on our way, that’s for sure. If things continue as they are, it’s a real possibility that we could become a violent, swirling sphere, devoid of any trace of life.Interesting, and somehow poetic, how abuse of the environment could eventually lead to extinction of the abuser – mankind.

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