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Minggu, 14 Agustus 2011

Global Warming and Water Cycle

Water Cycle

The issue of global warming has been characterized by heated debate between environmentalists and anti-green lobby. Activists have maintained that the issue of climate change has been overlooked by every government as it will take a lot of sacrifices, both economical and political to create effective policies to counter this threat. The anti-green lobby on the other hand has certain arguements against global warming and believes that activists should focus their attention and efforts on more immediate issues rather than concentrating solely on global warming. They are of the view that global warming is a natural process and no amount of legislation or policies would be able to counter it.

The debate has been around for a long time now, but the failure of talks between world leaders in Copenhagen was a serious blow to the efforts of environmentalists. Environmental activists have always taken the help of research that is being conducted on the effects of human activities on the environment. Scientists have found that the earth's temperature has increased by 1 F in the last hundred years, and it will increase by 1 F - 3 F in the next hundred years. This can cause ecological imbalance, apart from seriously putting the life of future generations at risk. Numerous studies carried out over the years have revealed one more potential problem. According to researchers, global warming is interfering with the water cycle, altering the distribution of available water. The increase in the earth's temperature causes an acceleration of the water cycle, that is, some places would experience more frequent storms and floods, and some would have long periods of droughts. Let us try and know how exactly is global warming interfering with the water cycle.

How does Global Warming Affect the Water Cycle?
To know the impact of global warning on water cycle, it is important to understand the functioning of the water cycle. The water cycle is made up of four stages: evaporation, transportation, condensation, and precipitation. All of these stages are important for maintaining the water cycle. In evaporation, sun rays heat the water in oceans, rivers, seas, and then water rises up in the atmosphere in the form of vapors. Transportation is similar to evaporation except that water from trees and plants rises up in the atmosphere. Condensation cools the hot vapors leading to the formation of clouds. Water from clouds comes down to oceans and rivers in the form of rain and snow, and this process is known as precipitation. An increase in the temperature causes more water to be evaporated from oceans, and makes the atmosphere to hold on to the water vapors for a longer duration. This makes more vapor to be converted into clouds, which in turn causes higher precipitation. It has been predicted that if the global warming increases by 7.2 F, there would be an increase of around 10% in the global precipitation levels.
Anti-green lobby has long accused the researchers of being proficient in theory but they claim that there are no noticeable events that prove that global warming has indeed made changes to the water cycle. Environmental activists, on the other side claim that the increase in the daily temperatures, increased cloudiness and humidity at night, and the increase in the average atmospheric water-vapor concentration are clear indicators of the effect of global warming on the environment. Researchers are of the view that the precipitation levels have increased by 10% in the 20th century, and at the current rate of climate change, the precipitation levels would increase in near future as well. Polar regions would be the hardest hit as global warming has had the maximum impact in these regions, and sea ice which is crucial for the maintenance of water cycle, would keep on melting, resulting into more precipitation.

Global warming is a real threat concerning all of us but lack of government policies has made it look like an issue that is just limited to the environmental activists. Civil society also has shown little interest in this issue in the last few years which has also contributed to the denial on climate change. It is high time that we all put in an effort to fight the menace of global warming, otherwise our future generations would have to pay for our follies.

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