In the early 21st century, the debate over global warming and its effects and potential outcomes continues to rage. With a wealth of strong opinions and hundreds of competing theories on the effects of global warming, intelligent people may have difficulty discerning fact from fiction. Looking at climate change evidence, statistics, and scientifically researched theories may help explain the planet's situation with some clarity.
Climate change evidence describes how the Earth's ecosystems and weather change over a period of time. By comparing climate data from times past to present day, scientists have found considerable evidence that significant changes are occurring across the globe. Since the beginning of the 21st century, many studies have clearly suggested that the Earth is increasing in overall temperature at a rate believed to have been unseen for more than a thousand years.
Since the late 20th century, considerable attention has been focused on global warming, leading to extensive studies on possible current and future events. Although not all scientists agree on the cause of events attributed to global warming, many experts agree that planetary change is occurring at a sudden and potentially devastating rate.
According to some studies, temperatures across the planet have risen nearly twice as much since 1950 as they did between 1850-1950. When ranking global average temperatures since 1850, most of the years between 1995-2006 rank within the top 12 warmest years on record. This climate change evidence is in itself alarming, leading to the shifting and often depletion of many animal and plant habitats. Yet the more worrisome data regards climate change evidence in the oceans, which cover nearly three-quarters of the surface of Earth.
As oceans warm, their habitability and nutritional makeup change, disrupting marine ecosystems and affecting millions of plant and animal species. Additionally, frequently cited climate change evidence shows that ocean levels are rising, in part due to increased glacial melt as temperatures warm. Rising sea levels pose a considerable threat to coastal regions and low-lying atolls and islands. According to a 2009 report on climate change evidence by the American governmental organization the National Science Foundation (NSF), rising ocean temperatures also are already greatly affecting moisture levels in the air and creating abnormal weather patterns, such as the El Niño weather systems in the Pacific Oceans.
The origin of global warming is often debated, but scientific climate change evidence makes what many experts consider to be a compelling case that rapid climate change is occurring on throughout the planet. How severe its effects become is unknown, but it seems fairly certain effects already exist. Although even the most brilliant scientists cannot state the future with certainty, the issue of climate change has been given serious attention throughout the world, and many organizations continue to search for answers and evidence about the emerging state of the planet.