In the last 100 years, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F. The rising global

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In the last 100 years, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F. The rising global temperatures have caused changes in weather and climate. Global warming refers to the ongoing rise in the average temperature near Earth’s surface. This is causing a climate change, which refers to any significant change (major change in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns) in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time (several decades or longer). Due to this, it is projected that the temperature will rise from 2 to 11.5°F in the next hundred years (US EPA, 2014). The “drivers,” which are the principal causes making this occur, are very controversial. It is debated whether a change in temperature is due to the work of…show more content…
In the summer, the amount of sunshine received in the Northern Hemisphere can control the advance and retreat of ice sheets because of changes in Earth’s orbit. This has been the cause of ice ages in the past, when Earth has experienced long periods of cold temperatures (NRC, 2010). The second main “driver” of global temperature change is reflectivity. Changes in reflectivity affect how much energy enter Earth’s system. When the sunlight reaches Earth, it can be reflected or absorbed, and that depends on the Earth’s surface and atmosphere; light colors reflect the most sunlight, while dark colors absorb more sunlight. Albedo, the amount of solar radiation reflected from an object or surface, indicates the amount of sunlight reflected as a percentage. Earth has an albedo of about 30%, which means that 70% of the sunlight is absorbed (NRC, 2010). This is important because the sunlight absorbed warms the land, water and atmosphere. In the past, this can be seen in the melting of sea ice or increases in cloud cover. Aerosols are particles in the atmosphere that affect reflectivity, which affect the amount of energy that enters Earth, ultimately affecting global temperature change. An example of this can be seen in volcanic eruptions. Volcanic particles that reach the upper atmosphere are able to reflect enough sunlight back to space, which can cool the surface of Earth by a few tenths of a degree for a few years (Hegerl, 2007). The third

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