What is global warming, and how is it affecting the Earth and its inhabitants? Global warming is sometimes referred to as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the absorption of energy radiated from the Earth’s surface by carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to become warmer. The greenhouse effect is what is causing the temperature on the Earth to rise, and creating many problems that will begin to occur in the coming decades.
For the last 10,000 years, the Earth’s climate has been extraordinarily beneficial to mankind. “Humans have prospered tremendously well under a benign atmosphere,” (Bates 28). Today, however, major changes are taking place. People are conducting an inadvertent global experiment by changing the face of the entire planet. We are destroying the ozone layer, which allows life to exist on the Earth’s surface. All of these activities are unfavorably altering the composition of the biosphere and the Earth’s heat balance.
If we do not slow down our use of fossil fuels and stop destroying, the forests, the world could become hotter than it has been in the past million years. Average global temperatures have risen 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century. If carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue to spill into the atmosphere, global temperatures could rise five to 10 degrees by the middle of the next century. The warning will be the greatest at the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, with the largest temperature rises occurring in winter.
Most areas will experience summertime highs well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. New temperature records will be set each year.
Global warming is a recent spectacle that has emerged to world prominence only towards the end of 20th century. However, the pollution caused by man has prominently been known to have effects to the planet climate change system since long time ago (early 19th Century). In the year 1863, it was initially suggested that the atmospheric composition changes as a result of pollution had a high likelihood of resulting in climate change. It was 23 years later that Svate Arrheis, a Swedish scientist made initial calculation of the greenhouse warming affects that estimated the possibility of carbon dioxide resulting in doubling of the global temperature (Houghton, 1994).
As a possible prelude to global warming, the decade of the 1980’s has had the six hottest years of the century (Erandson 18-22). Atmospheric disturbances brought on by the additional warming will produce more violent storms and larger death tolls. Some areas, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, will dry out and a greater occurrence of lightning strikes will set massive forest fires. The charring of the Earth by natural and man-made forest fires will dump additional quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Changes in temperature and rainfall brought on by global warming will in turn change the composition of the forests. At the present rate of destruction, most of the rain forests will be gone by the middle of the next century. This will allow man-made deserts to encroach on once lush areas. (Bassett 1-2).
Evaporation rates will also increase and circulation patterns will change. Decreased rainfall in some areas will results in increased rainfall in others. In some regions, river flow will be reduced or stopped all together completely. Other areas will experience sudden downpours that create massive floods.
The central portions of the continents, which normally experience occasional droughts, might become permanently dry wastelands. Vast areas of once productive cropland could lose topsoil and become man-made deserts. Coastal regions, where half the human population lives, will feel the adverse effects of rising sea levels as the ice caps melt under rising ocean temperatures. If the present melting continues, the sea could rise as much as 6 feet by the middle of the next century (Bassett 1-2). Large tracks of coastal land would disappear, as would shallow barrier islands and coral reefs. Low-lying fertile deltas that support millions of people would vanish.
The sea would reclaim delicate wetlands, where many species of marine life hatch their young. Vulnerable coastal cities would have to move farther inland or build protective walls against the angry sea, where a larger number of extremely dangerous hurricanes would prowl the ocean stretches. Forests and other wildlife habitats might not have enough time to adjust to the rapidly changing climate. The warming will rearrange entire biological communities and cause many species to become extinct. Weeds and pests could overrun much of the landscape.
Since life controls the climate to some extent, it is uncertain what long-term effects a diminished biosphere will have on the world as a whole. It is becoming more apparent, however, that as man continues to squander the Earth’s resources, the climate could change in such a way that it is no longer benevolent to mankind. The greenhouse effect and global warming both correspond with each other. The green house effect is recalled as incoming solar radiation that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere but prevents much of the outgoing infrared radiation from escaping into outer space.
The global warming refers to a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth. How do they correspond with each other? Simply, because without one, the other doesn’t exist. The natural greenhouse effect has kept the Earth’s average surface temperature around 33 degrees Celsius, warmer than it would be if there were no atmospheres.
The natural gases in the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), as well as other trace gases. Life could not exist if there was no natural greenhouse effect. The reason for the natural greenhouse effect is so that all the creatures living on Earth can live and breathe. We as inhabitants of this Earth must do our part in preserving it, or there won’t be much left for our children to live on. Human activities are causing some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to build up in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases are the major causes of global warming; these gases are released due to human activities on the earth (Maslin, 2007).
Experts have observed that for the whole earth, the stability radioactive temperature at the atmospheres outside is – 18o C. Therefore if the earth atmosphere is characterized by full transparency to all the radiation wave lengths, the surface temperature would be approximated at – 18o C, a very uninhabitable level. However in the radiation last steps – as the solar energy is re-radiated by the earth back to the space in the form of wave length, this upward long wave energy is absorbed by the earth. Then, long wave radiation is emitted from the atmosphere towards all the directions. Some of this radiation will automatically return to the earth resulting in addition to the original shortwave radiation that had been received in planet (Maslin, 2007).
Each time we burn gasoline, oil, coal, or even natural gas, more carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere (Erandson 34). By cutting down the forest trees, we allow air pollution to set in. This, therefore, causes many problems in addition to many others. Now that there are no trees to help filter out pollution, we are allowing more damage to the atmosphere causing global warming. These certain gases that occur naturally in the atmosphere tend to trap the sun’s heat, which is called global warming.
Markham (2009) has underlined forest for fuel (both for charcoal and wood) as a leading deforestation cause. However in the first world, human appetite for paper products and wood – the increase in the livestock grazing in the natural forests and tropical forest lands utilization for commodities such as palm oil plantations – has resulted in global mass deforestation (Maslin, 2007). Forests have been observed to store and also remove atmospheric carbon dioxide, and this deforestation results in large carbon amounts being released together with reduction of the planet carbon capture.
In conclusion, if there were no greenhouse effect then there would be no global warming. The greenhouse effect causes the global warming to increase as well as humans and other creatures influence. There are many ways to help prevent and protect both. People should change their lives by being more careful. They should turn off things like television, computers and lights because they continuously emit greenhouse gases. Recycling of used things will reduce the amount of trash that is burned hence; reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere. If people try to help out, then it would be a longer process to keep the ozone layer healthy longer. But, nothing will be done until we as humans start helping out.
Bates, Albert K. Climate in Crisis: The greenhouse Effect and what we can do Tennessee: The Book Pub. Co. 1990.
Bassett, Tony. “A Crusade against those who see a greenhouse effect.” The Toledo Blade: December 6, 1995.
Erandson, Jon. Greenhouse Effect: Tomorrow’s Disaster Today. Pennsylvania: Tab Books. 1990.
Markham, Derek. (2009). Global Warming effects and causes: A top 10 list. Retrived from http://www.planetsave.com
Maslin, M. (2007). Global Warming: Causes, effects and future. Minessota: MBI Publishing, LLC
Houghton, J. (1994). Global Warming: The Complete briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press