Increased global warming will lead to climate change – changes in the average weather experienced over 30 years or more. Climate change may make it impossible to grow certain food crops in some regions. Melting polar ice, and the thermal expansion of sea water, could cause rising sea levels and the flooding of low-lying land.
There is a good agreement between scientists about how the greenhouse effect works. However, there is less agreement about the extent to which human activities are causing an increased greenhouse effect, and so global warming with its associated climate change. The balance of scientific opinion is that human activities are to blame.
It is not just the release of carbon dioxide and methane that can contribute to global warming. Dust produced from factories goes into the atmosphere that reflects radiation back to the Earth and causing warming too.
However, it is not just human activities that can affect weather patterns and climate. Ash and gases released by volcanic eruptions also go into the atmosphere. They reflect radiation from the Sun back into space, causing cooling. This, and other effects, can make it difficult for scientists who study the atmosphere and global warming.
You may wish to view this BBC News item (2006) about air pollution controls.
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