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Climate change, currently a highly debated topic in society, has been claimed by many scientists to have detrimental effects for the future of life on Earth. As of today, climate change is seen as being the main cause of warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreased snow cover, rises in sea levels, declines in arctic sea ice, and ocean acidification.
According to many scientists, climate change is due to human expansion on the “greenhouse effect.” The greenhouse effect, otherwise known as the entrapment of heat by the atmosphere, is believed to have had the largest impact on the diverse change in temperatures being seen globally today. While some scientists argue that some of these climate changes can be attributed to small variations in Earth’s orbit, changing the amount of solar energy Earth receives, the effects of solar radiation aren’t nearly high enough to account for such a large increase in global temperature and decrease in land ice.
Since the 19th century, Earth’s surface temperature has increased about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, majority of the warming has occurred over the past 35 years, especially within the most recent 17 years. As a result, scientists across the world, highly support the belief that changes in climate have largely been driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human -made emissions into the atmosphere.
Apart from direct measurements of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a number of scientists have found evidence of climate change through other forms. One example of this is through the analysis of ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers. Research conducted by OSU’s very own Dr. Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Dr. Lonnie Thompson, combined with research found from other global scientists has shown that these ice cores display the Earth’s climate response to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Other scientists have also used ancient evidence through the analysis and sampling of tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks.
Even though scientists and different government organizations are looking into various ways to decrease human gas emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that without increased efforts, over the next century we will see an additional increase of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. NASA. 2017. Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet [internet]. Available from https://climate.nasa.gov/.