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GLOBAL WARMING

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Question: What Causes Global Warming?

Answer: Scientists have determined that a number of human activities are contributing to global warming by adding excessive amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide accummulate in the atmosphere and trap heat that normally would exit into outer space.

Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming
While many greenhouse gases occur naturally and are needed to create the greenhouse effect that keeps the Earth warm enough to support life, human use of fossil fuels is the main source of excess greenhouse gases. By driving cars, using electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heating our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation is another significant source of greenhouse gases, because fewer trees means less carbon dioxide conversion to oxygen.

During the 150 years of the industrial age, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31 percent. Over the same period, the level of atmospheric methane has risen by 151 percent, mostly from agricultural activities such as raising cattle and growing rice.

The Consequences of Global Warming
As the concentration of greenhouse gases grows, more heat is trapped in the atmosphere and less escapes back into space. This increase in trapped heat changes the climate and alters weather patterns, which may hasten species extinction, influence the length of seasons, cause coastal flooding, and lead to more frequent and severe storms.




Human Activities and Greenhouse Gases
Human activities also add significantly to the level of naturally occurring greenhouse gases:

  • Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by the burning of solid waste, wood and wood products, and fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal).
  • Nitrous oxide emissions occur during various agricultural and industrial processes, and when solid waste or fossil fuels are burned.
  • Methane is emitted when organic waste decomposes, whether in landfills or in connection with livestock farming. Methane emissions also occur during the production and transport of fossil fuels.

How Do Humans Contribute to the Greenhouse Effect?
While the greenhouse effect is an essential environmental prerequisite for life on Earth, there really can be too much of a good thing.

The problems begin when human activities distort and accelerate the natural process by creating more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than are necessary to warm the planet to an ideal temperature.

  • Burning natural gas, coal and oil —including gasoline for automobile engines—raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Some farming practices and land-use changes increase the levels of methane and nitrous oxide.
  • Many factories produce long-lasting industrial gases that do not occur naturally, yet contribute significantly to the enhanced greenhouse effect and “global warming” that is currently under way.
  • Deforestation also contributes to global warming. Trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in its place, which helps to create the optimal balance of gases in the atmosphere. As more forests are logged for timber or cut down to make way for farming, however, there are fewer trees to perform this critical function.
  • Population growth is another factor in global warming, because as more people use fossil fuels for heat, transportation and manufacturing the level of greenhouse gases continues to increase. As more farming occurs to feed millions of new people, more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere.

Ultimately, more greenhouse gases means more infrared radiation trapped and held, which gradually increases the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the air in the lower atmosphere.

2 comments:

sravanmuthu August 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM  

good work...
v have to implement this things that make our Earth In a Safe position for our next generation.
Jai Hind

hope - for needy August 4, 2008 at 10:07 AM  

thanku

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