Is Global Warming Real?

Is Global Warming Real? Proponents and Skeptics Discuss

Changes in climatic pattern are becoming more and more evident with each passing day and yet, many people are far from convinced that global warming is real. The Buzzle article puts forth the views of scientists and skeptics in order to answer some FAQs about this phenomenon.
Retreating glaciers, rising sea levels, extinction of species, extreme weather conditions ... evidence of global warming exists in plenty. However, not all the people out there are convinced that these trends are any indicators of this environmental issue. Even eminent scientists and researchers are divided over this issue. All the evidence provided by researchers who feel that the planet is heading for a disastrous climate change, is dismissed by skeptics as mere exaggerations. Amidst all this confusion, the layman is left wondering whether the phenomenon is really happening, or is it just another hoax triggered for the personal gains of a few people sitting at the crux.
Global Warming - Reality or Hoax?
When researchers talk about the rising temperature, they refer to the average global temperature, and not that of a particular region or a country. On an average, the global temperature has increased by 1°F over the last century. In some regions, the temperature rise is less than the global average, while in some, it is even more. The temperature in Arctic region, for instance, has increased twice the global average in the same period.
Proofs to Substantiate its Occurrence
There are quite a few measures by which temperature trends can be studied. The simplest measure is to refer to the climatic data compiled over the past few years. The fact that 8 years (2001 - 2008) of the 21st century feature in the list of 20 warmest years since 1901, is a clear indicator that the Earth is getting warmer. These studies about the rising temperature trends are not just restricted to written records. Some scientific methods, like measuring the temperature of air bubbles caught in polar ice sheets and studying the rings of trees living for thousands of years, also help in studying climate change. As far as future predictions are concerned, scientists are left with no other option, but to depend on the probability and computerized models―something which skeptics of global warming disapprove of.
Skeptic's Take
Scientists also highlight the minor alterations the planet has witnessed over the last decade or two, which are expected to worsen with time. These include extreme temperatures (scorching summers and chilled winters), unnatural precipitation pattern causing floods and droughts, melting glaciers and polar ice caps, rising sea levels threatening to submerge low-lying areas, etc. However, all these examples have failed to impress the skeptics, who believe that the data used to predict the warming trend is insufficient and hence, untrustworthy. They further add that the scientists who are raising alarm are interpreting the data incorrectly and coming up with false conclusions. In their arguments against this phenomenon, they state that the changes observed over the last few years are part of natural climate shift, and all the lifeforms on the planet will adapt to these changes with time.
Although ignorance about global warming has made this concept even more difficult to resolve, it would be foolish to throw caution to the winds and continue fueling the disaster. It's needless to come up with foolish arguments like 'our generation will not face these problems'. It's the time to open our eyes and do a reality check so as to figure out whether we are really heading for disaster. If yes, which seems to be the case, we need to come up with some concrete solutions and implement them at the earliest.
One ought to understand that the effects of global warming on the Earth are not going to crop up overnight; they will start surfacing gradually over the years and various lifeforms will find it difficult to adjust to the changing environment. Some of these effects have already started to surface, but we have been deliberately turning a blind eye to them. If we continue to do so, very soon we will realize that the time to 'act' is long gone.