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Paul J. Crutzen and Stanisław Wacławek

Abstract

Humankind actions are exerting increasing effect on the environment on all scales, in a lot of ways overcoming natural processes. During the last 100 years human population went up from little more than one to six billion and economic activity increased nearly ten times between 1950 and the present time. In the last few decades of the twentieth century, anthropogenic chlorofluorocarbon release have led to a dramatic decrease in levels of stratospheric ozone, creating ozone hole over the Antarctic, as a result UV-B radiation from the sun increased, leading for example to enhanced risk of skin cancer. Releasing more of a greenhouse gases by mankind, such as CO2, CH4, NOx to the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect. Even if emission increase has held back, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations would continue to raise and remain high for hundreds of years, thus warming Earth’s climate. Warming temperatures contribute to sea level growth by melting mountain glaciers and ice caps, because of these portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt or flow into the ocean. Ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could contribute an additional 19-58 centimeters of sea level rise, hinge on how the ice sheets react. Taking into account these and many other major and still growing footprints of human activities on earth and atmosphere without any doubt we can conclude that we are living in new geological epoch named by P. Crutzen and E. Stoermer in 2000 - “Anthropocene”. For the benefit of our children and their future, we must do more to struggle climate changes that have had occurred gradually over the last century.