Global warming occurs when an increase in global temperatures takes place as a result of climate change (Joos and Spahni, 2008). Global temperatures normally increase when there is a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Both natural and anthropogenic factors contribute to global warming. The natural forces that cause an increase in global temperatures include changes in the earth’s orbit and solar variations. These two natural factors determine the amount of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface. Since industrial revolution, increase in global temperatures has been linked with human activities. For instance, fossil fuel power plants release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other human activities that contribute to an increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere include gasoline combustion for transportation, methane emissions from agricultural activities, and deforestation of farmland and tropical forests. The seriousness of global warming calls for the great need of implementing mitigation strategies (Joos and Spahni, 2008).
Global warming has caused a significant increase in the Earth’s temperatures, which has resulted into variations in precipitation patterns, weather variations, changes in patterns of agriculture, and rising incidences of tropical diseases (Wang and Chameides, 2005). For instance, due to global warming, northern countries are becoming extremely warm causing disease causing insects to migrate to relatively cooler parts of the world where they cause serious diseases. Additionally, global warming is increasingly strengthening heat waves, making countries located next to the oceans to experience hurricanes (Shaftel, 2015). As global temperatures continue to rise, the trees and forests continue to dry up, increasing wildfire incidents. Eventually, desertification will take place, volcanic activities will increase, animal species will become extinct, food and water supplies will be diminished, and human beings will die (Wang and Chameides, 2005).
According to Shaftel (2015), global warming causes a decline in the arctic sea ice. The thicker multiyear ice that characterized the Arctic Ocean in the past has now been replaced by thinner, first-year ice. This the arctic ice now forms during winter, it is likely to melt the following summer, leading to the occurrence of chilly springs. Furthermore, global warming is causing a rise in sea level which causes floods in countries bordering large water bodies. According to Shaftel (2015), in the last century, the global sea level rose about 17 centimeters which is nearly double that of the other centuries. This is a clear sign that global warming is taking place and more severe impacts are yet to be felt.
The serious effects of global warming can be mitigated by reducing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. This can be achieved either by trapping the gases that have already been released into the atmosphere or by preventing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. The most convenient method of trapping carbon dioxide that has already been released into the atmosphere is reforestation. Reforestation refers to the process of replanting trees as a way of restoring woodlands and forests. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for use in photosynthesis and they can really help in reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that reforestation will eliminate between 10 and 20 percent of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050. It is therefore anticipated that reforestation will greatly reduce the impacts of global warming that the world is currently facing (Reyer, Guericke and Ibisch, 2009).
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