Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. The global average surface temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.1 to 1.6° F) between 1906 and 2005, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Temperature are certain to go up further.
Over the last three decades of the 20th century, gross domestic product per capita and population growth were the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions.CO2 emissions are continuing to rise due to the burning of fossil fuels and land-use change.Emissions can be attributed to different regions. The two figures opposite show annual greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2005, including land-use change. Attribution of emissions due to land-use change is a controversial issue.
Emissions scenarios, estimates of changes in future emission levels of greenhouse gases, have been projected that depend upon uncertain economic, sociological, technological, and natural developments. In most scenarios, emissions continue to rise over the century, while in a few, emissions are reduced.. Fossil fuel reserves are abundant, and will not limit carbon emissions in the 21st century.Emission scenarios, combined with modelling of the carbon cycle, have been used to produce estimates of how atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases might change in the future. Using the six IPCC SRES "marker" scenarios, models suggest that by the year 2100, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 could range between 541 and 970 ppm. This is an increase of 90–250% above the concentration in the year 1750.The popular media and the public often confuse global warming with ozone depletion, i.e., the destruction of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons. Although there are a few areas of linkage, the relationship between the two is not strong. Reduced stratospheric ozone has had a slight cooling influence on surface temperatures, while increased tropospheric ozonehas had a somewhat larger warming effect.