Hi there, fellow human! Welcome to my website. My name is Jonah, and I'm a climate scientist studying global warming. Here's the quick story on global warming, at least as I've been able to learn about:
When you and I digest food, we release some of the energy stored in that food, making carbon dioxide in the process, that we breathe out. We've made machines - cars and power plants and boilers and factories - that do this too, consuming carbon-based matter to release its energy; but the machines can do this many times more quickly than us, releasing many times more energy, and releasing many times as much carbon dioxide in the process.
We've made so many billions of machines that the carbon dioxide they produce is changing the amount of it in the Earth's atmosphere. This new carbon dioxide is absorbing some of the energy that the Earth would otherwise shed to space. Some of that energy is instead sticking around and warming the surface of the planet. Even though the every-day temperature can flicker around like the flames of a fire, unexpectedly getting colder or warmer, this additional energy is like an extra log added to the fire, a persistant additional source that makes the fire warmer on average.
This extra warmth is melting ice sheets, the Arctic ice cap, sea ice, glaciers, and snow; it is bringing more intense heat waves and hurricanes; it is making the sea level rise, changing the Earth's coastlines and bringing worse storm surges; it is shifting the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean and the water cycle, bringing floods to some regions, droughts to others; it is changing the onset and length of the seasons. Also, the carbon dioxide itself is making the ocean more acidic. These changes are altering the conditions that pretty much every living thing on this planet exists in, affecting the web of life in ways that we're still just discovering.
Although we've already altered the climate, we are projected to alter it far more in the coming century, especially as more humans get the benefit of access, or need of use, of these machines that were used by relatively few in the past. Luckily, we have room to be more careful with how we use these machines now, and ways to use them less; and we have new machines that can get energy from other means, like from the wind and the sun, and machines that can store energy; and we have ways of communicating and cooperating as humans, to do whatever we want.
So... what will we do?