What Is Global Warming?

What is global warming? What is its scientific definition? What are the causes of global warming and its consequences?

Definitions of global warming

A simple definition of global warming

Global warming is a global phenomenon of climate transformation characterized by a general increase in average temperatures (especially related to human activities), which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems sustainably.

When we talk about global warming today, it is the phenomenon of temperature increase that has been occurring on Earth for 100 to 150 years. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, average temperatures on earth have increased more or less regularly. In 2016, the average temperature on the planet earth was about 1 to 1.5 degrees above the average temperatures of the pre-industrial era (before 1850).

The scientific definition of global warming
More precisely, when we talk about global warming, we are talking about the increase in temperatures linked to industrial activity and in particular to the greenhouse effect: we therefore sometimes speak of global warming known as “anthropogenic (Of human origin). It is, therefore, a form of global warming whose causes are not natural but economic and industrial.

Many scientists are studying this phenomenon and trying to understand how the activities of human societies cause this warming. These scientists are grouped together in the IPCC (International Group of Experts on Climate), and they regularly publish reports studying the evolution of global warming (see below).

History of the science of global warming
First discoveries of the greenhouse effect and definition of global warming
The first assumptions about the greenhouse effect are made by scientist Jacques Fourier in 1824. Several scientists after him will study and try to quantify the phenomenon, as Claude Pouillet and John Tyndall. But the first experiment of precise validation and quantification of the greenhouse effect is done by the scientist Svante Arrhenius at the end of the 19th century. In the 1890s, he discovered that an air rich in carbon dioxide retains more heat from solar radiation, which leads to an increase in air temperature. He concludes that if large quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere (because of industrial activities that burn coal), the air will be charged with CO2 and retain more heat. The first estimates of temperature increases made by Arrhenius or other scientists of the time, such as geologist Thomas Chamberlin, are as follows: if we double the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the temperature average will increase by 5 degrees. In 1901, Gustaf Ekholm used the term “greenhouse effect” for the first time to describe the phenomenon.

For decades, these discoveries have not been taken seriously in the scientific community. At the time, many experts believe that nature could self-regulate and that the impact of man was minimal. Notably, many scientists thought that the excess CO2 would be absorbed by the ocean anyway, which is true, but not totally. However, the thesis of the possibility of global warming linked to greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) was finally validated in the 1940s by Gilbert Plass. Using modern technologies, it provides definitive evidence that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere affects the ability of the air to retain infrared radiation and heat. These are the first definitions of global warming.

Awareness of global warming
In the 1960s, several scientists will show that the presumptions about the greenhouse effect are actually real. Charles David Keeling proves, for example, that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is gradually increasing thanks to its measurements near Hawaii. Roger Revelle proved that the carbon released by burning fossil fuels was not immediately absorbed by the ocean. Scientists are beginning to worry more and more about global warming, and as a result, the political society will begin to take this problem into account.

In 1971 the first Earth Summit evokes for the first time in a major international conference the definition of global warming and its consequences. In 1972, John Sawyer published a scientific report highlighting more and more clearly the links between global warming and the greenhouse effect. For more than a decade, evidence of global warming has accumulated in the scientific community to the point that in the mid-1980s, the world’s 7 largest economic powers (the G7) called on the UN to create a group expert to study the issue. This is the first time that there is a real consideration and a true definition of global warming as a public problem by international institutions.

The first IPCC reports on global warming
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was created in 1988 with the aim of studying the evolution of the phenomenon of global warming and its consequences. It brings together hundreds of scientists, climatologists, geologists, oceanographers, biologists, but also economists, sociologists, engineers and other specialists in various fields to have a global vision of this phenomenon.

The IPCC is structured in three working groups:

the first to study climate change as a phenomenon: the process, its magnitude;
the second specialized on the consequences of global warming, the vulnerability of ecosystems and societies and adaptation to global warming;
finally, the last group is charged with studying the question of the fight against global warming.
The IPCC makes its first report in 1990, and several more periodically until its last report in 2014. In these reports, the IPCC scientific community analyzes the causes of global warming, and its impact on the ecosystem and on society, by developing predictive models. Using these models and forecasts, governments and businesses can put in place strategies to combat global warming or adapt to it.

The consequences of global warming
Thanks to the work of the IPCC and other scientists working on the definition of global warming, we now better understand the consequences of this phenomenon on our lives. In the minds of many, global warming is a relatively distant problem that simply implies that it will get hotter. But in fact, the consequences are much deeper.

Consequences of global warming on the ecosystem and the planet
First, an increase in temperatures due to global warming affects the entire global ecosystem and not just the heat that is felt. The weather is disrupted, with an increase in extreme weather events, changes in the usual weather patterns. That means more storms, more floods, more cyclones and droughts.

To know more :

The ecological consequences of global warming on the planet, ecosystems and weather?
Floods and global warming: what links?
The regulating capacity of the oceans is also affected by an increase in temperatures. If global temperatures increase dramatically, ocean levels will increase, but so will oceanic acidification and deoxygenation. But it can also affect forest areas and fragile ecosystems (coral reef, Amazon rainforest) as well as biodiversity (corals, some insects and even mammals may not survive).

The consequences of global warming on the oceans
Consequences of global warming on society and the economy
On society and the economy, global warming can potentially have several consequences: the ability of societies to adapt to a new climate, to adapt their infrastructures, especially medical ones, but also their buildings. Global warming will also have consequences for public health, the food capacity of countries …

For more information

The consequences of global warming on society
The economic risks of global warming
Consequences of global warming on businesses
Finally, businesses are also likely to be affected by change and global warming. Indeed, in a context where the climate is changing, it is more difficult to adapt its activities.

To know more :

The consequences of global warming on businesses
How to fight against global warming
To fight against global warming, we must first reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. For this, the first way is to turn to renewable energy and avoid fossil fuels. But we must also reduce our energy consumption, avoid food waste, eat better by avoiding products that have a large carbon footprint, optimize the use of resources … In short, we must adapt our lifestyle to the concept of resilience and sustainable development.

For more information :

10 actions to put in place in companies to fight against global warming
How to fight against food waste?
How to fight against global warming concretely?
Global warming: myth or reality?
Like many social and scientific problems, global warming has been controversial from the start. Some scientists and commentators have questioned global warming. They are called climate-skeptics. Several arguments are invoked, for example:

“Global warming does not exist, it’s a lie”
This argument, often used by skeptics, would make global warming a lie , invented by states, or world elites and the media. No evidence or explanation could be provided to support this argument.

Is global warming a lie?
“Global warming is natural, it does not matter”
This argument is often put forward by climate-skeptical scientists to question the media attention that global warming enjoys. Their idea is that climate change is a natural phenomenon, normal and cyclical, and there is no need to worry about it. The work of Keeling or Revelle, then the work of the IPCC and hundreds of newer independent works have proved that this argument was false, and that global warming was indeed a phenomenon of human origin and that it was dangerous on the plan of ecosystems and societies.

Is global warming real?
The consequences of global warming on the planet and the weather
The social consequences of global warming
Global warming could lead to global economic crisis
“The human origin of global warming: greenhouse gases”
Some scientists also question the human origin of global warming, explaining that CO2 released into the atmosphere by human activities does not really affect the climate and the ecosystem. They argue that these gases are either regulated by ecosystems, or that they are not released in sufficient quantities to have an impact, or that other gases (such as water vapor) have a greater impact on ecosystems. global warming than industrial CO2. Although all these positions are partly true, they do not call into question the human origin of global warming. Thus, CO2 is well absorbed in part by the ocean and by plants, but not fast enough to be regulated, for example, .

Mr. Kenneth Lucianin is a government and community affairs professional with twenty years of diversified experience in community outreach programs, and municipal and state-level legislation. He is a United States Navy veteran stationed at the Pentagon. Preceding his time in the military Lucianin attended Bergen Community College and Rutgers University and pursued a degree in Public Affairs. Mr. Lucianin brings government and infrastructure experience in both the private and public sectors to Matrix.