Global What?

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Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, killer storms and widespread extinction could all be caused by global warming, and it’s doing more than raising the temperature.

The way global warming works is the greenhouse effect. Air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, collect in the atmosphere and block heat from escaping, causing the earth to warm up. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that in the last decade, the average surface temperature has been rising at about 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

“I think it is actually a real problem,” sophomore Sarah Verhalen said. “Carbon dioxide is partly the reason.”

Not only does this heat force us to put on an extra layer of sunscreen in the summer, it causes many other effects, like an increased level of precipitation. The heavy amount of rain is very evident in the United States. The amount of precipitation, in Virginia, has increased by 26 percent since 1958, as found by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.

“The fact that there are so many pollutants in the atmosphere, more snow and ice clumps around those particles and then create worse storms like snow, hail and blizzards,” freshman Ethan Peek said.

Higher precipitation is caused by the higher temperature of the atmosphere around the earth, which in turn causes more moisture to be held in the air. When a storm occurs, this extra moisture is added to the precipitation to make the storm more intense.

Let’s face it, this winter has been harsh. We’ve had countless snowstorms and the temperature has been struggling to reach higher than 40 degrees. It’s hard to believe that anything called global warming could even exist. Since the air has the potential to hold more moisture, there is a higher possibility for a heavier snowfall. If global warming continues the way that it is, then the winters to come could pose more of a problem.

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