The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming Recently, global warming has moved to a serious scientific issue. Because sunlight is constantly falling on the earth, the law of physics say that the planet has to radiate the same amount of energy back into space. Infrared radiation is sent out by the earth through the atmosphere, where molecules (carbon dioxide) hold outgoing radiation for a while, warming the surface. L The molecules are kind of like glass in a greenhouse which is why this process of warming is called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect as been operating since the beginning of time.
Without the effect, the surface Of the earth would be -20 degrees Celsius, oceans would have frozen, and there would be no life on earth. The Washington Post has reported that the earth is warmer than it has been in 1,200 years. 2 Recently, the summer of 1 999 set records for heat in much of the Lignite States. The average world temperature has increased one degree Fahrenheit over the last 1 20 years, making the world hotter than it has been in 1 years. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased by 30%, concentrations of methane have doubled, and nitrous oxide has risen by 15%.
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The increases of these chemicals have enhanced the heat trapping capability of the atmosphere of the earth. Sulfate aerosols, cool the atmosphere because they reflect light back into space, but sulfates do not live long in the atmosphere. Scientists still do not know what exactly is heating up the earth. Some say the earth is going through a natural cycle because the earth has gone through cold periods as well as hot periods. Mounting evidence is saying that humans are to blame for the rise in enraptures over the past 120 years.
When we burn fossil fuel, oil, gasoline, and natural gas to run power plants, cars, and heat homes, we produce carbon dioxide. An increase in carbon dioxide magnifies the greenhouse effect. All this energy accounts for 80% of society’s carbon dioxide emissions, 25% of methane emissions, and 20% of nitrous oxide emissions. In 1 994, the U. S. Emitted one fifth of all the greenhouse gases in the earth. Carbon dioxide amounts are now 360 parts per million today, verses 315 per million parts in 1 958, when modern technology started, and 270 per million arts in pre-industrial times.
Scientists cannot actually predict what the climate will be like in the future, though. James E. Hansen, a director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says that scientists know too little about the climate to make accurate predictions. “The forcing that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change,” Hansen wrote in a journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many people believe that carbon dioxide is nothing to worry about. And many scientists are turning away from the abate about whether human-induced global warming is taking place.
It is true that Earth’s ocean, plants, soil, and animals naturally release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And other gases such as methane and water vapor trap solar radiation like the way a greenhouse traps the warmth. Human activities are adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than are being naturally recycled. This is what scientist believe is causing global warming. And what are the effects of global warming? Rising temperatures are expected to raise the sea level and change local climate conditions. By changing these conditions, the climate could alter forests, water supplies, and crop yields.
This could also threaten human health, and harm many ecosystems of animals. Deserts could expand into range lands and many National Parks could be altered. And many of the most important impacts depend upon whether rainfall will increase or decrease. The rate of climate change is also much more important than how much the change will be because the rate will determine whether humans and ecosystems can adapt to survive. A decreased day and night temperature and night warming may happen when an increase Of atmospheric greenhouse gases takes place. Emissions are a major problem contributing to the greenhouse effect.
These gases are called volatile organic compounds (VOCE̵ T,s) and consist mostly of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. These gases react in sunlight with nitrogen oxides to form photochemical smog. A lab experiment was done to simulate typical outside conditions. Stems of fescue grass and white clover were cut and tested for VOCE content and researchers found that emissions of certain VOCE’s spiked immediately after cutting, while others continued at a high rate for the next two days. Uncut grass also gives focus’s and cutting grass makes it worse.
In a city like Los Angels, mowing accounts for 10% of the in the atmosphere, say researchers. President Bill Clinton and Vice President AY Gore have different stands on the global warming Issue. AY Gore is pushing for a radical stand and wants to cut back on emissions to ten percent below the levels of 1990 and this would require a 20% cut in the fossil fuel usage. AY Gore even called for a White House conference with weather forecasters saying that the IS S. Should fund more abortions in order to cut down on the number of people populating our world.
Gore believes that Americans will be thankful in the long run for him saving the world from ecological disaster. Many others believe that Americans will be mad at Gore if Clinton takes Gore’s stand on the issue because energy costs will rise and the economy will slump. Not many people seem to be in favor off rise in taxes on energy so we can cut usage and stop the warming trend. Steve Forbes is also speaking out on the global warming issue. Forbes believes that practically all Of the global warming that has occurred in the past one hundred years took place before green house gas emissions took off.
During the 1990’s, many people thought that there was a connection between economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions because emissions have risen and fallen with the nation’s economic output. 3 Ever since 1 991 , emissions have grown nearly 2% each year because the economy demanded a greater use of fossil fuels. But now research shows that there is not a link between the economy and emissions. Changes in economy such as the growth of the Internet are allowing economic growth without fuel consumption. And the Energy Information Administration says that the institution of coal, oil, and natural gas went down last year.
Now environmentalists have recommended emissions be cut to prevent the effects of a temperature rise. But many industry advocates disagree because they are afraid that doing so will lessen their economic growth. One problem in global warming is that in August, Vice President AY Gore released photos of the Arctic ice sheet taken by satellites. These photos show that the ice is melting at a very rapid pace. 4 Researchers from the University of Colorado and the British Antarctic Survey reported that 1, DID square miles of ice off Antarctica had broken off in the last year.
The researchers say that the ice shelves “are in full retreat. ” Last year a giant iceberg the size Of Rhode Island broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica and poses a great danger to ships traveling through the South Atlantic Ocean. If the polar ice caps continue to melt for the next 100 years at the rate they are melting at now, all the world’s coastal cities could possibly be submerged in the sea before the end of the 21st century. And even before that happens, the temperature rise would disrupt the Earth’s CLC mate. Scientists have observed other warning signals about the greenhouse effect. 998 was the warmest year recorded in history in the northeast IS. S. Scientists from the University of Munich reported that spring has started to arrive earlier in Europe and autumn has arrived later. The highest temperatures ever recorded in the pacific caused the largest die-off Of corals in history. This warm weather destroyed up to 70 % of the corals. 5 A Hemisphere-wide climate cycle called “Arctic oscillation” is stuck in one of its alternating phasing, which is causing surface winds to sweep larger quantities of ocean IR across the northern continents.
Many scientists until now even believed in the “Medieval Warm Period” where temperatures supposedly rose through Europe and sea ice retreated in the Northern Atlantic ocean, which allowed Vikings to colonize England. 6 Global warming skeptics cite the area where this happened very frequently as an example of climate variation. These skeptics say that the climate changes without the aid of people and they believe that warming would be beneficial. But now new research says that the “Medieval Warm Period” never even happened.