Do you know the answers to the following questions? What is known as Greenhouse Effect? What are the greenhouse gases? How these greenhouse gases cause the earth’s temperature to rise, resulting in a phenomenon called Global Warming? What are the effects of Global Warming? What can be done to reduce Global Warming? Read on to get a clear picture of what Global Warming is. This is the first part of a series of articles on global warming.
Over the years, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere has increased considerably. This process of the heating up of the earth is known as Global Warming. It is believed that if the temperature of the earth is to go up at the current rate, life in this planet will become miserable one day and that day is not very far away.
Greenhouse Effect and Greenhouse Gases
What causes Global warming? Water vapour and gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorinated gases are present in the earth’s atmosphere. They are known as green house gases. These greenhouse gases trap the heat of the sun that enters the earth’s atmosphere and do not allow it to spread back into the space. Thus the temperature of the earth goes up resulting in what is called global warming.
The gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, fluorinated gases like hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons and sulfur hexa fluoride and water vapour present in the earth’s atmosphere form a canopy over the earth. The sun’s light and heat will enter the atmosphere through this canopy but the heat will be trapped inside and it will not be allowed to spread back into the space. The heat thus trapped in the atmosphere of the earth increases the earth’s temperature. Since it is just like what happens in a greenhouse (used for controlled cultivation of plants), it is called greenhouse effect and the gases responsible, the greenhouse gases.
The Reason for Increased Production of Greenhouse Gases
The main reason for the increased production of greenhouse gases is the rapid rate of industrialization. Industrialization increases the burning of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum products. When fossil fuels, wood, bio-mass etc. are burned, greenhouse gases are produced in plenty. The increasing number of factories and automobiles is the main reason for this. The level of carbon dioxide in the air was about 275 ppm (parts per million) before the Industrial revolution. Ever since, the proportion of this gas has been increasing in the atmospheric air.
The climate and regional temperature have a very wide variation around the world. So, to measure the atmospheric temperature as a whole, scientists use an average temperature. It is seen that the average temperature is rising over the years. In the Ice Ages it was 11 degree Celsius and now, it has risen to 15 degree Celsius.
Why the Rising Temperature is a Cause of Concern
The earth is warming faster than it has ever been. The climate change due to global warming has a damaging effect and it effects long term changes in the environment. The ice in the Arctic Sea is melting. The ice that covers mountains is melting. Due to the melting of ice like this, the sea level is rising. If it goes on unchecked at this rate, some of the low lying islands will be submerged in the not too far away future.
Apart from that, the rising atmospheric temperature will soon make this planet not suitable for human inhabitation. Also it will result in the extinction of all forms of life on the earth.
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