Essay on The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
1837 Words8 Pages
The greenhouse effect is an important phenomenon and is currently holding national and international attention. Why is there an interest in the effect? Why are people willing to invest so much time and effort investigating its consequences and willing to suffer by them? What is the basis for believing the effect is real?
The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process, which is initiated by the sun. It is a result of the fact that there are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere which contain the properties to absorb longwave radiation. What this means is that gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane(CH4) and Water (H2O) act as a blocker to the returning beam of the sun. We will see what a significant effect this has in a…show more content…
On average, about 51% of the radiation reaches the surface. (http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7h.html).
This radiation warms the surface of the earth and heat rises from the surface (the percentage of solar energy reflected back by a surface is known as the albedo). This is where the greenhouse gases come into play. As the heat rises to the atmosphere, it gets trapped by the gases, and around 90% of this heat is again sent back towards the surface of the earth. (http://www.physicalgeography.net). As we can see this causes a spiral effect, known as positive feedback.
Although many gases contribute to the greenhouse effect, Carbon Dioxide and water vapour are the most prominent, and receives the most attention in relation to global warming. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now approaching 360 parts per million. Prior to 1700, levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 parts per million (physicsforum.net). The main cause of this significant increase is the Industrial revolution. Fossil fuel combustion for industry, transportation, space heating, electricity generation and cooking are just some of the major sources of the gas, and explain why it has increased so rapidly in recent times. (physicalgeography.net).
There has been a huge surge of attention towards global warming within the last 20 years. The reason for this interest is because it affects all of us directly. It is
Essay on Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases
1265 Words6 Pages
Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases
The concentration of the atmosphere's main greenhouse gases specifically, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, have increased significantly during the industrial age. These high concentrations are predicted to continue in the atmosphere for thousands of years to come. This increase in specially carbon dioxide, increases the infrared energy taken in by the atmosphere, and warming the earth's surface. The Global mean temperature over the past 150 years has risen between 0.3 degrees C and 0.6 degrees C. Climate changes that have been predicted are based on the continual rise in
Green House Gases. These changes include changes in: increase in mean surface air
temperature,…show more content…
This extra energy absorbed although thought to only warm the earth also has a cooling tendency on the stratosphere (Peixoto and Oort). The affect the radiation has by this increase of Green House Gases concentration is also known as "Infrared Flux" at the tropopause (Wang). The models used to predict this information can also closely mimic the other layers of the atmosphere as well as the surface. Worldwide temperature measurements are carefully taken with many variables in mind. Such variables would be urbanization of a region, aerosols, precipitation, and changes in temperature and clouds (Hansen). Usually the temperature is the first variable that is considered when assessments of the world climate change are taken, it is also very important to consider other data that is part of the climate system along the line of time and space. Some other sources of information are: tree rings, bore hole temperature measurements in the soil, permafrost, and ice sheets, and measurements of the mass of valley glaciers and ice caps. By looking at this material for the past 600 years it has been determined that the warming in the twentieth century is greater over this time period (Briffa).
From paleoclimate studies it has been concluded that the Earth's climate has been altered by more than just Green House Gases, but Inorder to find the effects of the Green
House Gases specifically, a study of records from the periods when the