Essay, Research Paper: Global Warming

Environment

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Global Warming, aside from pollution is one of scientists biggest concerns.
Global Warming is caused by the Greenhouse effect. There are 4 steps in the
Greenhouse effect. 1-Sunlight radiates from the sun, through space, to EarthÆs
atmosphere. 2- The sunlight enters the atmosphere and hits Earth. Some of it
turns into heat energy in the form of infrared light. The heat gets absorbed by
surrounding air and land, which in turn makes it warm. 3- Infrared rays, that
are remitted into the atmosphere are trapped by greenhouse gases. 4- The gas
then absorbs the light and is remitted back to the EarthÆs surface and warms it
even more. Some of the naturally occurring greenhouse gases are Methane and
carbon dioxide. This is the way the Earth keeps itself warm enough for humans to
live on it. The only problem with this is that humans enhance the process even
more. Over the past 200 years the emissions of greenhouse gases have been
increasing due to the increase in technology that humans have developed
(example, factories). These human-induced gases include carbon dioxide, methane,
nitrous oxide, and ozone depleting substances such as CFCs, also known as
Chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons. These gases are
generated a number of human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, waste
disposal in landfills, the use of a refrigerator, numerous agricultural and
industrial activities, and the cutting down of numerous forests. These human
practices have already changed the chemical make up of the atmosphere. Between
the pre-industrial times and today, we have seen the concentration of carbon
dioxide rise 30% in some regions, in particular the northern hemisphere, human
practices have increased concentrations of aerosols in atmosphere, which is a
traditional form of air pollution), which tends to cool the atmosphere. With all
these gases in the air, it is starting to change the EarthÆs climate. The
temperature of the EarthÆs surface is as warm, if not warmer than it has been
in any other century since at least 1400 AD. The temperature over the past
century has risen one degree Fahrenheit over the last century. These last few
decades have been the warmest this century. The sea level has risen 4 to 10
inches, and mountain glaciers world-wide have begun to retreat. It is important
to recognize that with the recent warming and the other climatic changes that
have been going on have not been related to one another. For example, warming
has been greatest over the mid-latitude continents in the winter and spring,
with some area of cooling, such as over the North Atlantic Ocean. Local and
regional climate variation are not inconsistent with the existence of global
warming. One recent study by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change) said that unless governments do something to restrict the emissions of
greenhouse gases to a lower level, global temperatures could rise 1.6 to 6.3
degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. This would represent the fastest rate of
global warming since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago.
With the increased warming of the Earth it could lead to catastrophic events
that could endanger living things on our planet. One event is major drought all
around the world. With the warming of the planet, the water on the ground would
quickly evaporate causing the rivers and lakes to quickly dry up. This would
lead to crops dying from lack of rain, which would lead to food prices to
skyrocket, which would lead to people dying from hunger if they do not have
enough money to pay the price for food. Another event that would occur from
global warming is the drastic rise in sea level. As the Earth warms up, the
polar ice caps will start to melt. This would put immense amounts of water into
EarthÆs oceans. All cities along the coast would be flooded from the rise in
sea level. This would cause people to move inland, and with more people inland,
it would cause a shortage of space in some areas. With the coastal cities under
water, this would cause a great economic strain on the rest of the cities
throughout the world. Global Warming would also cause extreme weather.
Thunderstorms would be more powerful than they have ever been. Tornadoes would
be stronger than they normally would. With the warming of the surface it would
also warm the ocean over time. This would cause hurricanes to be numerous and
stronger than they have ever been. There is only one way to stop global warming
before it becomes a real threat. That way is to stop emitting the greenhouse
gases that cause global warming. Only then will the problem of global warming be
solved.
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