The greenhouse effect and global warming are issues that are talked about by geologists all the time. Lately, scientists have predicted that at current rates, the Earth will be 2 Centigrade above preindustrial levels some time between 2026 and 2060. “Temperatures in the Arctic could rise by three times,” reads a paper by an eminent biologist. According to the WWF, “The perennial ice, or summer sea ice, is currently melting at a rate of 9.6 percent per decade and will disappear completely by the end of the century if present trends continue.
What is green house affect and global warming? The greenhouse effect is a natural process that keeps the earth at temperatures that are livable. Energy from the sun warms the earth when its heat rays are absorbed by greenhouse gases and become trapped in the atmosphere. Some of the most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. If there were no greenhouse gases, very few rays would be absorbed and the earth would be extremely cold. When too many rays are absorbed, the earth’s atmosphere starts to warm, which leads to global warming.
Global warming can lead to many problems that affects the environment in which we live. In order to talk about global warming, we must first learn what causes the greenhouse effect. A lot of the rays from the sun are absorbed by water vapor that is naturally in our atmosphere. Water vapor accounts for “80 percent of natural greenhouse warming. The remaining 20 percent is due to other gases that are present in very small amounts.”
Carbon dioxide is also a big absorber of the sun’s heat rays. Humans can cause a lot of carbon dioxide to be released. Every time we burn fossil fuels, we release more carbon dioxide. Emissions from cars also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere more rays from the sun are absorbed. This will cause the atmosphere and the earth’s temperature to warm. The warming of the earth will cause the oceans to become warmer. When they heat up, more water is evaporated, causing more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere.
Once this process starts, it is extremely hard to control. If the temperature keeps rising, more carbon dioxide will be released. Another greenhouse gas is methane: “Methane absorbs infrared radiation 25 times more effectively than carbon dioxide, making it an important greenhouse gas despite its relatively low concentration.” There have been many studies on how methane is released into the atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere is “generated by biological activity related to rice cultivation, leaks in domestic and industrial gas lines, and the digestive process of domestic livestock, especially cattle.”
An environmental effect of global warming is the fact that higher temperatures will lead to a change in the water cycle. Some places may experience more rain. Warmer temperatures will cause a greater amount of evaporation from lakes, rivers, and oceans. In some areas this could be good, and in others it could be considered bad.
Ingenuity and technology continue to offer hope of a better world. But they can promise only so much. We all need to think globally and act collectively. Only then we might be able to check the harmful affects.