Faster Melting of Arctic

During the last couple of years, the melting of ice in the Arctic region has rapidly accelerated—a warning sign that scientists say could mean that global warming has already passed a tipping point. In 2006, for example, scientists found that Arctic sea ice was melting so fast that it would disappear completely by 2040. In 2007, however, satellite data showed that Arctic ice melt had speeded up so much that the Arctic Ocean might be ice-free in just five years, by 2012. This melting of Arctic ice is expected to affect the whole world.

Two major effects of faster melting are that sea levels will rise more rapidly and that winter weather will weaken sooner. In the United States, for example, a weakening cold Arctic flow of air colliding with moist warm air from Mexico will probably result in less rain and snow in many areas, including the already-dry Southwest. The new data caused many commentators and policy makers to urge that governments take quick action to limit greenhouse emissions before global warming spins out of control.

The Arctic region has experienced an increase in the melting of ice in the last several years.

The Arctic region has experienced an increase in the melting of ice in the last several years.

Sun Reflects Melts

scientists believe that this data suggests that the sun has a considerable effect on our temperatures. Around 1975, however, solar activity diminished while temperatures continued to rise, confirming to some researchers the existence of a human-produced greenhouse effect.

Danish climate physicist Henrik Svensmark, meanwhile, proposed in 2007 that climate changes such as global warming may be primarily caused by cosmic rays—that is, ionizing radiation from space. According to Svensmark, fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere affect the number of clouds covering the Earth, and recent years have seen a decreased cloud cover, which reflects less of the sun's energy back into space and causes the planet to warm. If this theory proves true, human activity may have less impact on global warming than many scientists now think, and there may be more time for humans to reduce their carbon emissions. As Svensmark explains: "It was long thought that clouds were caused by climate change, but now we see that climate change is driven by clouds. . . . We may see CO2 is responsible for much less warming than we thought and if this is the case the predictions of warming due to human activity will need to be adjusted." 20

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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