Human-produced climate change is now past scientific discussion, with confirmation given that
the amount of greenhouse gases produced by humans has increased global warming in the last 50
years. Despite international efforts to reduce the amount of C02 released into the atmosphere
7 gigatons per year are still released. Climate models indicate that by the end of the 21st century, we
can expect to have an increase in surface temperature of between 1.5 degrees Celcius and 6 degrees Celcius. This is on top of the 0.5 degree Celcius that we have already exerted upon the earth.
Theses changes will significantly change the functioning of life on earth. They will produce a drastic
impact on the marine environment, affecting the continuation of life for certain species. for
The biggest things that climate change will affect are:
- Ocean Currents and windpatterns
- Sea surface and temperature
- Death to certain species of plant and animal life
Measurements of ozone began in 1931, and studies since then have shown that the ozone content in
the atmosphere have significantly decreased in recent years. In 1974 scientists reached the
conclusion that Chloroflourocarbons (C.F.C's) are the biggest source of ozone depletion. The CFC's
are found mainly in Aerosol Cans, certain airconditioning systems, plastic foams, but the biggest
source of CFC's are vehicles.
A CFC molecule can be around for about 40-150 years (a long time to do a lot of Environmental damage).
They get broken down in the upper atmosphere when the molecules come into contact with direct ultra-violet rays from the sun. They release the chlorine into the air, and the chlorine reacts with the ozone particles breaking them down into their basic compunds (ie: three separate oxygen particles)
The most problematic aspect of this is the hole in the ozone above Antarctic continent. The hole
appears in September and then disappears in October. The ozone in this area only replenishes itself when ozone from other parts of the world flow over and add ozone.
Ultraviolet light and Skin Cancer
A reduction in ozone around the globe means that more ultraviolet rays will reach the earth.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays results in prematurely aged skin, and skin cancer from a weakened immune
system. The most lethal form of skin cancer is melanoma. It is almost always fatal if it spreads
to other parts of the body.
Possible Solutions to the Ozone Crisis
Concern over the result of CFC'S has led to the banning of these compounds as aerosol propellants
and as coolants in air-conditioning systems. This was put into place under the Montreal protocol of 1987. Nations
agreeing to the protocol agreed to decrease their CFC emissions by 50% of the 1986 rates
(deat, 1998) This was a good idea in the right direction, but unfortunately, studies say that a reduction
of 85% is needed to stabilize the chemicals in the atmosphere.
These are only a few of the problems that we face in South Africa and around the world. There are many
Click below to read more on the various kinds of atmospheric problems we face.
Some areas of Environmental Concern
|Causes of the pollution
made up of tiny airborne
particles of dust/residue
spread by wind and erosion
vehicles of transport
processes in power plants eg: coal burning
steel makers, cement-makers
petroleum refineries, tar manufactures
|The smaller the particles, the more dangerous they are because
they can penetrate deeper into the lungs when
They affect the breathing and respiratory systems,
cause Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema
and allow cancers to develop.
A gas comming
from the burning of coal &
oil (Which contain sulphur)
|Industry processes involving heat, and
electric power-generating stations
Sulphuric acid plants
Acid rain literally kills lakes and
rivers, decreases crop production and damages buildings
Causes asthma attacks even when resting
Ground level ozone
|Nitrogen Oxides & Ground level Ozone
Ozone at this level is harmful,
whilst ozone in the upper atmosphere
protects the earth from the ultra violet
radiation, breathing it is not healthy.
|Ozone is created when nitrogen
oxide, nitrogen dioxide, "volatile
organic compounds" (VOC's) and sunlight
all interact in the atmosphere.
Nitrogen oxide is created by burning
the fossil fuels in vehicle engines and
other combustion sources
The burning of fossil fuels emits VOC's
The highest ozone levels occur when
sunlight and warmth are abundant.
Smog, which irritates lungs, is a cause of pneumonia
and bronchitis and also decreases resistance to
Ozone burns holes through the lung's cell walls
Adults breath 10 times more air and than children and
therefore breath in more polution
Nose and eye problems
Is a cause of asthma problems
Clothing fades and loses strength
Metal surfaces corrode
||All kinds and forms of Combustion
||Global warming which affects climate and
A colourless & odourless
gas released into the
atmosphere when fuel containing
carbon is not completely burned.
||Motor vehicle exhaust
Industrial processes (e.g: Industrial
||Ozone "clouds" result from high concentrations
and visibly surrounds a city
Ingested as poison when inhaled
Deprives body tissues of oxygen when in
Decreases visual perceptions
Inhibits learning ability and motor skills
Execessive levels in bloodstream can be fatal.