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Mongabay.com is considered a leading source of information on tropical forests by some of the world's top ecologists and conservationists. TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Disappearing Opportunities

Questions Over Global Warming



Until recently there was serious debate among scientists, policians, and industry leaders whether the Earth is warming. Now the balance of evidence does indeed suggest global temperatures are increasing, though we are not certain whether this is a temporary fluctuation or an extended trend.

Now the focus of the debate has turned to whether global warming is anthropogenic in nature. That is, are humans responsible for most of the recent increase in global mean temperatures or is warming occurring naturally due to a number influences ranging from the solar output of the sun to changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis. There is plenty of evidence supporting both positions on the issue and substantially more research is required before. Until then, it is probably best to play it safe and moderate greenhouse gas emissions.

There are also many questions on how climate increases will develop. Today it is believed that Earth's climate may be relatively "tippy," capable of changing rapidly once a certain threshhold is met. There is also some uncertainty of the feedback systems that may be triggered as warming progresses. For example, as polar ice melts and raises ocean levels, will it increase evaporation and precipitation resulting in glacier growth canceling out polar ice loss? Or will increased forest soil respiration rates increase with carbon dioxide levels and stimulate further warming and forest die-off?


Continued: Extinction


Other pages in this section:

Consequences of Deforestation
Erosion
Loss of Renewable Resources
Atmospheric Role
- - - - -
References
References
References
References
References
Local Climate Regulation
Loss of Species, Disease
Climactic Role
Extinction
- - - - -
Kids version of this section
- Why are rainforests important?
- Climate
- Home to wildlife
- Water cycle
- Erosion control
- Extinction


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Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2015

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from mongabay.com operations (server, data transfer, travel) are mitigated through an association with Anthrotect,
an organization working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia's Darien region.
Anthrotect is protecting the habitat of mongabay's mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.

"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site. "Jungle" is generally not used.