Global Warming For Kids
Have you heard about Global Warming and Climate Change? Well our planet is changing as a result of global warming, and we’re going to give you all the facts as to why!
Everybody is seeing changes all over the world, from glaciers that are melting, temperatures that are rising, storms and floods are more vicious and extreme, causing loads of damage.
It’s even affecting our wildlife as insects are coming out earlier, and flowers are blooming earlier too.
In some places bears have even stopped hibernating and birds are laying eggs way before they’re meant to. Those are some serious changes that we’re seeing.
These changes are due to Global Warming, otherwise known as Climate Change. Let’s take a look at what it’s all about.
The Earth – A Natural Greenhouse
Right now, Earth is the only planet that can support life. The reason Earth is different from other planets is because of a number of things; for example we get the right amount of energy from the sun.
If we were closer we’d all probably burn up and if we were further it would be rather chilly!
The atmosphere is all around us and it’s made up of a layer of gases that surrounds the Earth.
Sunlight comes shining in through the atmosphere as it passes through a blanket of greenhouse gases.
It then touches down on the Earth’s surface, and the land and water absorb the energy from the sun.
Now that it has been absorbed it goes all the way back up to the atmosphere and causes infra-red rays.
Some of the energy goes back into space, but most of it is trapped in the atmosphere by those greenhouse gases. This is what causes the Earth to warm up. And this warming is called Global Warming.
Why is the Greenhouse Effect Important?
Well without the Greenhouse Effect, we wouldn’t be able to live on Earth as it would be way too cold for us.
But, if it becomes stronger, the Earth will be warmer that it normally is. Even just a slight warming can cause problems for all of us.
Why Do We Have Greenhouse Gases?
A good way to think about it is all the gadgets and things that we use in everyday life. Many years ago we didn’t have cars, planes, microwaves, lightbulbs, cell phones and lots of other modern appliances.
As we’ve now got all these gadgets that keep us happy and comfortable at home, so there are more factories, and there are also cars and planes happily driving around and flying through the sky.
A lot of stuff lands up in waste dumps as a result of making these things. We are generating far more waste than we ever used to make.
All of these things give off more smoke, fumes and water vapor.
The things we love are creating greenhouse gases that are going straight up into the atmosphere. They are trapped and make our planet warmer. There it is…Global Warming.
Pretty much everything we use needs power to work and this power comes from burning fossil fuels and other natural gases.
The more that we burn the more carbon dioxide (CO²) goes into the atmosphere which is not a good thing. So each time you use power, or get in the car, you’re adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A bit frightening isn’t it?
But there’s something else…forests have been cut down to make way for big factories, roads or for farming. Trees normally absorb CO², but as there are less of them, that’s also why more CO² is charging up into the atmosphere.
What Does Climate Change Cause?
Global Warming expands land and water; it also makes ice sheets melt in really cold places around the world.
These large amounts of melted ice turn into water and the flow into streams, rivers, lakes and seas. This means that our water levels are rising and this causes major floods.
If it continues the way it is, we could see more droughts and more violent storms and even heavier rains, which can also cause damage.
Natural habitats where animals live can change, like penguins and polar bears. How would they survive in a place that no longer has no ice? The same goes for animals and plants that live in hotter places.
Interesting Facts about Global Warming
There is more CO² in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 800,000 years.
In total, the U.S. gives off about 6 billion tons of CO² every single year. 40% of that comes from power plants alone.
Since 1870, global sea levels have risen by about 8 inches (just over 20cm). That’s actually a lot, even though it doesn’t sound like much.
Words You Need to Know
Atmosphere – is a mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth.
Greenhouse gases – a greenhouse gas is any gas in the atmosphere that can absorb infra-red rays. It traps and holds heat in the atmosphere.
Infra-red rays – a ray that produces a thermal effect, which makes things hotter.
Fossil fuels – a fuel that comes from petroleum, coal or natural gas, which comes from living matter.
Water vapor – water which has turned into a state of gas.
Earth Science facts.