Global warming, also known as the Greenhouse Effect, is the process where the temperature of the
earth's atmosphere is slowly rises. The Greenhouse effect has been compared to a greenhouse. A greenhouse is made of glass panels. When sunlight enters the greenhouse, the warmth heats up the plants and trees that grow there. As they do so, the soil, air and plants give off heat, but this heat has a long wave radiation as opposed to shortwave sunlight that enters the greenhouse, and the effect is a raised temperature.
The greenhouse effect is an essential element to human survival, becuase the warmth on earth that
keeps us alive comes indirectly from the sun, but directly from the earth. The Short Wave radiation
from the sun strikes the earth and some of it is reflected back off the earth, but most of it is
absorbed into the earth's atmosphere. Gaseous molecules such as carbon dioxide, methane, Nitrous
oxide and chlorofluoracarbons are all contributors to the greenhouse effect. This is because the
heat that is absorbed by the earth is actually bounced up and down between the earths surface and
those gaseous molecules, which means that the more of those gasses we emit, the more the radiation
will reflect and therefore stays in the atmosphere longer heating it up more than it should.
The Greenhouse gasses are:
|Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a gas that is the biggest cause of Global Warming. It is mosty released
into the atmosphere by the burning of coal, petrol and other forms of combustion.
|Methane (NH4) Methane gas levels have almost doubled because of farming, since
1750 to 1990
||Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) This gas also damages the ozone layer but it contributes a
a lot to Global Warming. The amount of CFCs in the air increases by 4% (delta enviro facts) every year.
Global warming has a very slow effect on the Environment. The greenhouse gasses are slowly heating
up the earth. Differences to the earth's natural climate patterns by even just a few degrees can
have rather devastating effects. The marine life is one of the many areas that will be affected quite
badly by global warming. The water is heated by the atmosphere and the amount of sunlight allowed
to reach the earth and the sea, and small animals such as the creatures that create the coral
reefs will slowly die out. Scientists have proved that the polar ice caps will melt if the global
warming situation continues. If the polar ice caps are allowed to melt, then all low-lying areas of the
world will be flooded, particularly areas of Europe and particularly Holland and the Netherlands.
There have been no major events recorded because this is an ongoing process. There was however
the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica discovered in about 1970.
There are few solutions to this problem. One is to implement agreements such as the Kyoto protocol
that says that countries need to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. Also we need to seriously
think of another major power source to replace coal or oil burning power stations. We could use wind
driven or hydroelectic power stations or even nuclear power stations. but one would have to weigh up
the pros and cons of the power sources.