Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

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Climate scientists the world over read from the same script with regards to the dangers posed by greenhouse gas emissions. As such, they have categorically stated that the main contributors of these emissions are diatomic gases formed from different atoms e.g. carbon monoxide (CO). Nevertheless, these gases are not limited to the earlier stated gases but extend to tri or more atom-forming gases, water vapor, and ozone (Tyndal 72). The lethality of these emissions stems from the fact that they can absorb as well as emit infrared radiations to the surface of the lower atmosphere hence the greenhouse effect. Consequently, the lower atmosphere warms up a few orders beyond its optimum otherwise christened global warming. To this end, the paper will try to unveil what transpires during global warming, the effects, and the efforts put in place to mitigate this trend.

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I reckon a few people comprehend the mechanism behind global warming. However, with a global campaign fronted by environmentalists advocating for safe emissions, a multitude has an overview of the imminent dangers present on the horizon if nothing is done. Basically, the Earth receives the Sun’s radiation energy via visible, ultraviolet (UV), and near-infrared radiations. Of this spectrum, the visible light takes a lion’s share because the Earth’s atmosphere is transparent. On reaching the Earth’s surface some of it is retained and the rest is reflected the outer space. On average, the Earth absorbs 50% of this radiation that is reserved as thermal energy, and the rest is reflected. Nonetheless, the ability to retain energy is dependent on the albedo of the Earth’s surface (Tyndal 74). At this juncture, since the Earth is warm, re-radiation occurs hence energy is transmitted back in form of long wavelengths, infrared radiations as opposed to the incident radiation. While the majority of the gasses in the atmosphere are less sensitive to infrared radiations courtesy of their transparent nature, greenhouse gasses have abilities to retain some of this energy (Mitchell 120). To this end, the four predominant gasses constituting the greenhouse gasses include water vapor (36-70%), carbon dioxide (9-26%), methane (4-9%), and ozone (3-7%). Basically, by retaining this energy heat transmission to outer space is delayed increasing global temperatures. Generally, with devoid of greenhouse gasses, the average global temperature would have been extremely cold i.e. -180C. Otherwise, the mean global temperature is clocking 150C, and this is projected to even go higher as greenhouse emissions increase (Kasting 239).

One can glance at human activities as a reason behind the increase in greenhouse-gas-induced global warming. Basically, before the renaissance of the industrial epoch, the carbon cycle- responsible for atmospheric gas stabilization was intact. Through biological processes of photosynthesis and respiration, CO2 gas levels are checked. However, the post-renaissance era triggered hazardous human activities that included the burning of fossil oils as a vital source of energy. This in turn interfered with the carbon cycle eventuating in an increase in CO2 gas in the atmosphere. As such the global temperatures increased. Research evidence reveals that the carbon dioxide levels have increased by 61 million parts per million since industrial rebirth. Vitally, it has been projected that by the time CO2 gas levels doubles the pre-industrial levels ten decades down the line the mean global temperatures would rise by 2-50C.

Significantly, global warming has adverse effects on the Earth’s sphere, and as such its consequences are continuously being felt while others are impending. To this end, geological evidence has revealed that the sea levels are rising significantly. This is projected to rise by three feet in the next century (Held and Soden 423). The consequences are that this would result in the loss of life and properties. Moreover, ocean-currents-induced storms would be severe further contributing to the loss of property and life. On the mainland storms would be commonplace, weather patterns would change, and hence; old agricultural practices would be rendered obsolete as novel practices emerge to counter the challenges. Notably, the productivity of the land would change as some of the initially productive lands become marginalized and vice versa. Nevertheless, with an increase in CO2 gas plants are expected to peak in growth however, with weeds’ high affinity for the same the opportunity for increased agricultural output would be seized by weeds further inflicting pain in man. Fundamentally, the entire ecosystem would be in jeopardy (Henderson-Sellers and Kendal 98).

An effort to curb this trend in totality is an illusion because carbon dioxide rise cannot be stemmed. However, CO2 production can be reduced. This can be checked by the use of fuel-efficient cars, use of energy-efficient appliances, and the use of alternative sources of energy e.g. wind and solar. To eliminate excess CO2 gas from the atmosphere more plants should be planted. Furthermore, deforestation around tropical forests needs to be discouraged otherwise planting trees would be a sham (Businger and Fleagle 23).

In a conclusion, the greenhouse effect and global warming is universal problem that all and sundry need to actively participate to contain. This is for the reason that if assumed, with erratic weather patterns, the entire ecosystem would be destroyed.

References

Businger, Alois and Fleagle Robert. An introduction to atmospheric physics. International geophysics series (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn, 1980. Print.

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Held, Isaac, and Soden Brian. “Water Vapor Feedback and Global Warming.”.Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 25.1 (2000): 441–475. Print.

Henderson-Sellers, Ann and Kendal McGuffie. A climate modelling primer (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley, 2005. Print.
Kasting, James. (1991). “Runaway and moist greenhouse atmospheres and the evolution of Earth and Venus.”

Planetary Sciences: American and Soviet Research/Proceedings from the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Workshop on Planetary Sciences 34.2 (2009): 234–245. Print.

Mitchell, John. “THE “GREENHOUSE” EFFECT AND CLIMATE CHANGE.” Reviews of Geophysics 27.1 (1989): 115–139. Print.

Tyndall, John. Heat considered as a Mode of Motion. New York: Penguin, 1963. Print.

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