The Chautauqua County Water Network
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Evaluating the water quantity in southwest NY...

Global Warming?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, it has been found that the temperature of the surface of the Earth in the last 100 years has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Human activities are being blamed.

It is well known that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and warm the planet through a natural process called the greenhouse effect. It is generally accepted, then, that by adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, more heat will be trapped consequently leading to a warmer planet.

Furthermore, scientists have found that levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have undeniably increased since pre-industrial times. This suggests that the activities performed by humans during these industrial times have altered the composition of the atmosphere, created more greenhouse gases and for that reason directly contributed an increase in the warming of the planet. This theory is called Global Warming. Evidence of Global Warming includes the melting of glaciers, decreased snow cover throughout the planet, as well as an increase in the temperature of some bodies of water.

However, the extent to which humans have affected the greenhouse effect is arguable and a cause for skepticism of the theory of Global Warming. Other factors can contribute to the changes in the Earth's temperature, such as natural climatic variations and changes in the sun's energy. Regardless of the cause, the Earth's temperature is rising and to what effect is unknown. The following graph depicts the snowfall received at the Fredonia climate station for almost the past 80 years.

Graph showing Fredonia snowfall from 1926 - 2004
Note: A black line was added to best fit the trend of the data points.

Global Warming or Natural Trend?

Page modified 12/7/15