Cause and Effect of Global Warming

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Global warming, Earth Pages: 3 (647 words) Published: February 1, 2005
Cause and effect of global warming

Global warming occurs when the levels of greenhouse gasses rise and less infrared light, or heat, escapes the earth's atmosphere. Thus, the temperature experienced on Earth begins to rise. Climate change is a part of the Earth's history. There have been dramatic fluctuations in overall average temperature for the past 150,000 years that suggest a direct association with carbon dioxide levels.

In the past the temperature highs and lows have been in tandem with carbon dioxide level highs and lows, this does not seem to be a mere coincidence. Carbon dioxide currently accounts for 0.03% of the gas content within the atmosphere. However, it has a disproportionate impact on the earth's temperature. Thus, minor fluctuations in the percentage of atmospheric carbon dioxide will likely have a significant effect on the global temperature. The percentage of atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen over the past century at an alarming rate.

Industrial civilization is essentially driven by fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gasoline, all major contributors to the rise in carbon dioxide emissions. Deforestation also releases carbon dioxide via burning of plant life, and exposing the soil to sunlight. Also, since trees are a major factor in the natural processing of carbon dioxide, needing it to make up their mass, when trees are cut down they can no longer serve to absorb carbon dioxide. (Watanabe, 1995)

Our practices are altering the environment and endangering society in return. Carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere in many ways; some of which are naturally occurring and others are from human activity. Over 95% of the carbon dioxide emissions are from natural sources, and would occur even if humans were not on Earth. However, Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, due to the cyclic nature of the carbon cycle, would change little if not for human activities that produce so much every year.

The present addition of 3% annually...
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