What Are Some Natural Effects That Cause Global Warming?

What Are Some Natural Effects That Cause Global Warming? thumbnail
Volcanic eruptions are one phenomenon responsible for climate change.

The greenhouse effect causes global warming. It is brought on by increased amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. While this phenomenon tends to be associated with human activity, there are many natural sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Volcanoes, forest fires, the oceans and certain geographical areas all contribute to climate change.

  1. Volcanoes

    • Volcanic eruptions affect the climate. Individually, their impacts are fairly short-lived. If anything, it is constant volcanic activity that has helped maintain Earth's climate over time. When a volcano erupts, it fires dust and gas into the atmosphere; one of the gases emitted is carbon dioxide. In the short term, volcanic dust and gas tend to cause more global cooling than warming. However, over the course of millions of years, multiple eruptions from larger volcanoes can release enough carbon dioxide to cause global warming.

    Forest Fires

    • Forest fires occur naturally all over the world, especially during hot, dry conditions. Despite their intimidating nature, forest fires are beneficial. Their aftermath provides fertilizer for plants and trees, although it takes some time for them to grow again. The carbon dioxide emitted by the smoke has a profound global warming effect. The smoke particles can travel for thousands of miles and reach into the upper atmosphere.


    • Strangely enough, the ocean is another natural cause of global warming. The ocean's surface carries a great deal of carbon, which contributes to global warming; this pollution is completely unrelated to human activity. The surface of the ocean contains more pollutants than the atmosphere itself. A significant portion of atmospheric carbons derive from the ocean.

    The Poles

    • The permafrost at the Earth's poles contains a great deal of natural pollutants. Over time, these areas have accumulated large amounts of carbon and methane. As people begin to inhabit these areas, much of the soil is disturbed and the permafrost begins to melt in places. What happens next is a natural emission of the gases stored in the permafrost, contributing to global warming.

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