The world is getting hotter, and humans are responsible. When people say global warming, they’re typically referring to the rise in average temperature of the Earth’s climate system since the late 19th century.Temperatures over land and ocean have gone up 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit), on average, in that span: NASA)' data-upload-width="658" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/RKUz W2Et Vw0nt Rn Yx Bhc PT03z CQ=/0x8x474/1200x0/filters:focal(0x8x474):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3686804/Fig.
Carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere.
Plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis, the process they use to make their own food.climate The weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period.deforest The act of removing most or all of the trees lands that used to hold forests.fossil fuels Any fuel (such as coal, oil or natural gas) that has developed in the Earth over millions of years from the decayed remains of bacteria, plant or animals.global warming The gradual increase in the overall temperature of Earth’s atmosphere due to the greenhouse effect.
That rise in carbon dioxide “is essentially entirely due to the burning of fuels,” Susan Solomon says.
She’s a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Boulder, Colo., and studies factors that affect climate.
Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat at the Earth’s surface, preventing that heat from escaping back out into space too quickly.
So when we burn coal or oil for energy or cut down forests and add even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the planet warms up.
As the sun’s rays enter our atmosphere, most continue right down to the planet’s surface.
As they hit the soil and surface waters, those rays release much of their energy as heat.
These gases are nicknamed “greenhouse gases” because of their heat-trapping effect.
Without the “greenhouse effect,” Earth would be too cold to support most forms of life. Carbon dioxide is released when we use fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.