The storms keep coming and scorching temperatures are still rising leaving most Americans scratching their heads questioning whether or not all the talk about global warming just might be true. There are more Americans today that believe global warming exists and is causing the recent extreme weather, increased number of deadly illnesses, and rising sea levels.
One recent study conducted by Rasmussen Reports shows most voters (59 percent) now believe in the term “global warming” and that it is a serious problem.
The report comes as the earth continues to sizzle with soaring temperatures and unprecedented drought plaguing most of the nation.
Global warming is one of the most debated issues of modern times, but there are still 37 percent of Americans that still do not think climate change is a serious issue. The scientific community hopes to quickly change their minds.
The findings in the Rasmussen Reports are in stark contrast to Gallup's annual update on Americans' attitudes toward the environment reported in 2010.
Gallup’s poll last year showed that the public was less worried about the threat of global warming, less convinced that its effects are already happening, and more likely to believe that scientists themselves are uncertain about its occurrence.
About 48 percent of Americans last year believed that the seriousness of global warming has been generally exaggerated.
Although a majority of voters now acknowledge climate change as a serious problem, most of the American public expressed substantial doubt that humans can cause changes in the climate.
However, at the end of last year, a host of reports littered the Internet claiming 2010 was the warmest year ever recorded in history and that 2011 could surpass those temperatures.
Many global warming activists also started using film, photos, and live images showing melting ice caps and glaciers to drive home the point that global warming is already having alarming effects on the earth.
Some of the shifts in Americans' views today reflect real-world events, including the publicity in a recent report conducted by the National Academy of Sciences that revealed 97 out of 100 scientists now believe in man-made climate change.
Many scientists are stepping up the pace to argue that global warming is real and is the ultimate cause of the wretched weather Americans are experiencing today.
These opinions are trickling down to the general public resulting in a drastic shift in global warming opinions.
The public is warned on a daily basis that weather will be worse under global warming: not just warmer, but more severe weather and more extreme weather.
Recent studies also show that global warming will significantly increase the spread of diseases including E.coli, malaria, salmonella, and other serious illnesses.
The Pew Research Center updated its yearly poll on priorities for the president and Congress earlier this year and 26 percent of Americans said global warming should be a top priority.
What has all the research told us?
Through the years, climate experts predicted droughts, storms, rising sea levels, and other disasters claiming global warming as the culprit.
It is an epic story. Scientists and environmental activists have long tried to convince the public that global warming is real and human activity could change the local climate.
Most will agree that scientific skepticism is healthy because it keeps the public asking questions and thinking.
Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist who chairs a group assessing global warming called "the Berkeley Earth Project," said at a recent conference that publishing an independent record of global warming will address some valid points raised by skeptics and even end the war between them and climate scientists.
The vast majority of climate scientists at Berkeley agree that global warming is happening and that human activity plays a significant role in rising temperatures.
"Our research shows a rolling record of the earth's mean surface temperature," he said at the conference.
"The warming figures reveal a common trend. Since pre-industrial times, all point to a warming of the earth to around 0.75 degrees."
During the last few years, curiosity about the climate turned to anxious concern as politicians began ushering in the topic of global warming for campaign platforms.
“Not only this, but taken together, the world appears to have been warmer when compared to preindustrial temperatures,” said Dr. Chris Turney from the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter.
“Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 meters higher with a rate of rise of between 6 to 9 centimeters per decade. This is more than double that recently observed.”
Nobel Prize-winning former vice president Al Gore became a self-proclaimed “planetary climate czar” in the late 1970s.
When he was a freshman congressman, he held the first congressional hearings on the climate change, and co-sponsored hearings on toxic waste and global warming.
He said he still believes a rise in global temperatures is creating “all sorts of havoc,” from hotter dry spells to colder winters and ever more violent storms
“This is even endangering certain species of animals and leading to forest fires and floods,” he said in a recent interview.
“The contretemps over global warming and weather, and the bickering among scientists about man's effect on the climate has had a profound impact on public opinion around the globe.”
Yet another study shows that scientists at the University of Exeter say they have simple proof that climate change seems to be worse for our planet as we've been led to believe.
Findings from their study released this week show the loss of animal and plant species that have already happened match previous predictions.
The team of scientists made a frightening forecast saying one in 10 species will be extinct by 2100 if climate change continues affecting the world the way it is now.
“Our study is a wake-up call for action,” lead author Ilya Maclean said in a statement.
“The many species that are already declining could become extinct if things continue as they are. It is time to stop using the uncertainties as an excuse for not acting.”
Another study released recently from the National Wildlife Federation confirms that global warming is no longer something only facing future generations.
“Changes to our climate are being documented all across the planet today. People, animals, and plants are already feeling the heat,” according to the NWF study.
Climate experts said the most striking evidence of global warming is closely scrutinized data that show a relatively rapid and widespread increase in temperature during the past century.
Most of the warming in the last 50 years is attributed to human activities, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
What about the rising sea levels?
Other than the extreme weather, scientists say what should convince the American public that global warming is a "here and now problem" is that the sea level across the world has increased by roughly 8 inches over the past century, and the rate of increase is quickly accelerating.
Observations regarding melting glaciers, ice caps, and polar pack ice are cited as evidence of significant warming.
If recent projections are accurate, just another two to three degrees warming could bring about 3 feet of global sea-level rise by 2100, displacing approximately 56 million people in 84 developing countries around the world, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
"In recent days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometers of sea a day," said Mark Serreze, director of the satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
He said sea ice, is widely considered to be one of the “canaries in the mine” for climate change, because the poles are heating up faster than anywhere else on earth.
“Global warming has been melting Arctic sea ice for the past 30 years at a rate of about 3 percent per decade on average,” according to a recent report by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
“But the two new data sets suggest that, if current trends continue, a largely ice-free Arctic in summer months is likely within 30 years," Serreze said.
“Here in the United States, we are already seeing some important trends in precipitation,” according to the NWF report.
Researchers also say the Southwest appears to be shifting to a more arid climate, which dust bowl conditions will become the new norm.
Data shows that rain totals in the Northeast, Midwest, and Plains have increased by 5 to 20 percent during the last 50 years while the southeastern United States is having both more drought and more floods.
If global warming skeptics need convincing – scientists say new data is available most every day – from tree rings to deep sea samples, ice cores, glacial changes and climatological models.
Meanwhile, scientists across the globe are working to better understand climate change and its impact on life on earth.
It is interesting to note that recent media reports show that during the past few years there has been a concerted effort by global warming advocates and other environmentalists to create a core group of global warming skeptics made up of evangelical Christians.
These activists have a goal to spread information about human-induced global warming and that it is one of the deadly events warned about in the Bible found in the book of Revelation.
The data tracking the extreme weather, hosts of illnesses, drought, floods, and other issues plaguing the world are commonly referred to as "signs of the times" by the Christian population.
Did you know?
The build- up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere during the last century has resulted from the growing use of energy and expansion of the global economy. Over the century, industrial activity grew 40 times faster than the previous century. The emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide grew ten times faster.