Home » Atmosphere » The Greenhouse Effect

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is an increase in the atmospheric temperature caused by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases. These gases act as a heat blanket insulating the Earth’s surface absorbing and trapping heat radiation which normally escapes from the earth. They include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC’s, and other halocarbons. The earth’s atmosphere goes through two processes constantly. Global cooling is the first process. This process uses the clouds which cover 60% of the earth’s surface to reflect 30% of the solar radiation.

It also uses a sulfate haze, which is formed by sulfur ioxide from industrial sources that enter the atmosphere and react with compounds to form a high-level aerosol. These cool the atmosphere by blocking us from direct contact with the sun. The reflection of the sunlight is referred to as planetary albedo and contributes to the overall cooling. The second is the warming process. This is when light energy comes through the atmosphere and is absorbed by Earth and transformed to heat energy at the planet’s surface.

The infrared heat energy then radiates upward into space. There the greenhouse gases found naturally in the troposphere absorb some of the infrared radiation. The ases insulate the Earth, but do eventually allow the heat to escape. Without these greenhouse gases the earth would be would 33 C colder. Global temperature is a balance of the effects of the factors leading to global cooling, and warming. Unfortunately, increased emissions of greenhouse gases increase the warming process.

For example, every kilogram of fossil fuels burned equals 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide ( the mass triples because each carbon atom in fuel bond to two oxygen atoms, in the course of burning, and forms C02. ) 6 billion tons of fossil fuel carbon are burned each year adding 18 billion tons of C02 to he atmosphere. This has increase the carbon dioxide concentrations by 25% and has cause temperatures to increase more than 0. 7 C over the last hundred years. We hope that the forests will act as a sink for carbon dioxide but instead they are a net source.

This is because the forests are being cut and burned adding 1 to 2 billion tons annually to the 6 billion tons of carbon already from industrial processes. Fortunately, the top 300 meters of oceans absorb most of the carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels. Other factors are known to increase the greenhouse effect. These factor are water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC’s and other halocarbons. Water vapor is also a major factor in what has been called the “supergreenhouse effect” in the tropical Pacific ocean.

Water vapor traps energy that has been radiated back to the atmosphere. The high concentration of H2O vapor contributes significantly to the heating of the ocean surface and lower atmosphere in the tropical Pacific. Methane (CH4) is a product of microbial fermentative reactions and is also emitted from coal mines, gas pipelines, and oil wells. Methane is gradually destroyed, but it is dded to the atmosphere faster than it can be broken down. Nitrous oxide (N2O) can be found in biomass burning, chemical fertilizers, and fossil fuel burning.

Nitrous oxide is more dangerous than some of the others because of its long residence time of 170 years. CFC’s and other halocarbons are found in refrigerants, solvents, and fire retardants. Halocarbons have a greater capacity, 10 000 times, for absorbing infrared radiation, which is about 60% more, than CO2. Although there is increase in the application of some of these gases, they will decrease in importance in the future leaving carbon dioxide as he primary dilemma.

In 1981, James Hansen of NASA invented a model with an ability to track known temperature changes and link them to past and future carbon dioxide levels as well as global temperature changes. The model suggested the combination of CO2 and volcanic emissions was responsible for most of the observed changes in temperature during the 1980’s. A trend of warming of more than 0. 7 C coincides with an increase of 25% in carbon dioxide. Two major impacts of greenhouse effect are regional climatic changes and a rise in sea levels. A climactic change will lead to variations in temperature.

Scientists expect more precipitation which may prove to be disastrous for North America by flooding rivers and lakes. A rise in the sea levels is anticipated because of an increase in thermal expansion and the melting of ice caps and ice fields. Like extensive rainfalls, a rise in the ocean will flood lakes and rivers covering land and may someday bury continents. In order to control the effects of global warming we must first admit that it’s occurring, then take steps to end it. We must stop burning the trees and not replacing them. Most importantly, we must stop polluting the air.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Home » Atmosphere » The Greenhouse Effect

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect occurs when gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and CFCs trap heat in the atmosphere by acting as a pane of glass in a car. The glass lets the sun light in to make heat but when the heat tries to get out the gases absorb the heat. Holding this heat in causes heat waves, droughts and climate changes which could alter our way of living. The main gases that cause the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane which comes mainly from animal manure.

Other gases like nitrogen oxide and man made gases called hloroflurocarbons get caught in the atmosphere as well. The decay of animals and respiration are two main but natural sources of carbon dioxide. In my opinion we people of the whole world should try and slow down the emmission of greenhouse gases and/or find ways to balance the gases so the climate doesn’t change so rapidly. If it did we would be forced to adapt to the new climate that we brought upon our selves.

If we had a international cooperation to put a damper on the production of chloroflurocarbons and slowed down the use of fossil fuels it would dramatically slow down the process of “global warming. ” Over the last 100 years the global temperatures have been increasing slowly but steadily. Since 1980 the temperature has risen 0. 2 degrees C (0. 4 degrees F ) each decade. Scientists predict that if we continue putting the same amount of gas into the atmosphere by the year 2030 the temperature will be rising as much as 0. 5 degrees C (0. 9 degrees F ) or more per decade.

Over all the global temperature could rise anywhere from 5 to 9 degrees over the next fifty years. If the temperatures do rise as predicted several things could happen. The increases of temperature could alter the growth of crops in areas near the quator due to insufficient rain and heat. This could really hurt countries that rely on imported food. With the high temperatures the polar ice caps could melt and cause the sea water level to go up 1 to 3 feet. This increase could take out small islands, coastal cities and some shallow rivers.

The Everglades in Florida would be almost if not totally wiped right off the map. The Everglades is the home for many animals and plant life. If it did get flooded, they would all have to move northward across very dry land which they will not be able to endure for very long. When the hot emperatures do spread southward and northward, tropical disease will spread with it. Disease that were down in Mexico will maybe occur in The Carolinas or eventually Vermont. These new diseases will be hard to deal with causing many more deaths and illnesses than before.

The financial problem with this is, that the flooding will cause dams to be built and cities to be reconstructed. The shortage of food will cause the price of the food to go up and with all the diseases we will need more medical supplies and workers. All of this combined could and will cost a lot of money if we don’t do something about it now. The computer models can? t predict exactly what the climate is going to be in the future, but they can come close to what it will be like down the road. Scientists proved this by predicting with computers what the climate was in the past.

Then by looking back in records, they found that the predictions were close to being right. The “Topex” (Topographic Experiment) satellite has been collecting information on the changes of the sea level, and temperatures across the globe and the amount of gases emitted into the atmosphere. Each day the satellite makes 500,000 measurements, each at a different place on the earth. Measurements are all made between 66 degrees north and south latitudes. 1 The Cretaceous occurred over 100 million years ago. It was the warmest period we have knowledge of yet.

There was so much carbon dioxide in the air that the oceans rose many meters. North America was flooded and split apart into two pieces. The temperature then was more than fifteen degrees greater than the average temperature today. Scientists believe that the tilt of the earth’s axis changes to tilt the opposite way every 10,000 years like a cycle. While going through this cycle it will change the climate of areas. Right now it is moving so that North America is going to be close to the sun in the winter. Seasons become more extreme when the opposite happens.

This controls the cycle of ice ages. Volcanoes when they erupt, send clouds of dust into the air blocking sunlight. This would cool the earth off more. Oceans are known to absorb CO2 because of the ocean currents and the action of plankton. There is some evidence that there is naturally rapid climate change between each Ice Age, which confuses the whole global warming and idea. I think every human being should take part in the fight to stop global warming. The government is the key to this and they better do something soon or it will be too late.

First, the American government should sponsor a meeting between the nations of this world. They should establish a committee for handling the money, politics, and scientific research in order to help cut back the emission of gases into the atmosphere. Every country will contribute by donating money. Each country would be required to give 0. 01 of their GNP to this committee. If they refuse they will be boycotted and nothing will be sold to them by the participating countries. Global warming is a big threat to our nation and the world. If we do not act now, it may be too late.

Of course, there is no sure way of telling if there actually is a greenhouse effect, but let? s not take any chances. Look at what is happening to this world, and you will see that there is a pollution problem. There are steps being taken at this moment to reduce the gases put into the air but it still isn’t enough. We need to cut back more by taking a few easy steps. Plant a tree, or take a bus to work instead of driving your own car. Those things may not seem like a lot, but if more and more people do it, it will make a difference.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment