CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Earth after global warming. Computer artwork of a future Earth where the ice-caps have melted due to global warming. Greenland (green, upper left) has lost its ice-cap, and the Arctic Ocean is free of sea ice. Although global warming can be part of a natural cycle, many scientists believe that human activities have contributed to the observed global warming. Industrial pollution has increased levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. This traps the Sun's heat in the atmosphere, preventing it from being radiated back out from the ground into space. A rise in the average temperatures by a few degrees Celsius could melt the ice caps in a few hundred years, causing large rises in sea levels, plus more storms (hurricane, lower left) and increased desertification (Sahara, lower right).
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