CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time high. In May 2013, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million. This is “approaching the halfway mark between preindustrial amounts and a doubling of those levels” (Washington Post J). This is a very large increase in the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere over a short period of time. One might ask what consequence could come of having such a large volume of CO2 floating around our atmosphere. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that CO2 is considered a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gasses are gasses that trap radiant energy in the lower atmosphere. Energy travels from the sun to Earth, which is then either absorbed by the atmosphere and ground. The energy
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In 2013, the average global temperature was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.1 F warmer than the average during the mid-20th century. The average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees F since 1880. (H) This increase in temperature may seem small in comparison to the average day-to-day fluctuations of temperatures, but this represents all temperature variations averaged together. As the average increases, so do its extremes. Recording breaking high temperatures are becoming much more frequent and it is expected to impact humanity on a global scale. Whether or not the increase in temperatures will negatively affect humanity can only be answered by examining the after effects of our changing climate.
The ocean temperatures have been recently increasing, causing the polar ice caps to melt, thus raising the seas level. Sea ice is frozen ocean water that melts each summer and freezes in the winter (G).
Since the beginning of observations in 1979, the records for lowest amount of sea ice present during the summer have all occurred within the past seven years. (G)
Rising sea levels will force major cities near sea level to migrate farther inland. Entire cities would end up underwater if this rising sea level continues at this rate. [needs evidence]
Increase in extreme weather
The hot weather has increased the length and impact of droughts in many areas, and the risk of wildfires is increasing. In 2012, the hottest on record for the