Environmental Affects of Global Warming

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Environmental effects of global warming

The greenhouse effect and global warming are issues that are talked about by geologists

all the time. 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

gasses and become trapped in the atmosphere. Some of the most common greenhouse gasses are

water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. If there were no greenhouse gasses, 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 gasses that are present in very small amounts" (Murck,

Skinner and Porter 488). 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" (490). 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 gaslines, and the digestive process of domestic

livestock, especially cattle" (490).

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. In northern regions of the United States, an

increase in the temperature and amount of rain could actually extend the growing season of crops.

This would in turn mean more money for farmers in the northern region. It could also hurt some

farmers. Too much rain is bad for some crops. Certain areas will actually get less rain, which

would lead to more droughts and have a negative impact on crops. Warm and wet weather is

usually a factor that promotes tropical storms. Global warming would lead to tropical storms'

appearing with greater frequency. More rain will also force plant life to adjust. Forests and plant

life migrate naturally, but scientists say that global warming would cause them to migrate at a

much faster rate. If the climate changes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says,

"some forest species in North America will shift by as much as 300 miles to the north"

(www.pirg.org/enviro/global_w/fact.htm). If a region is getting more rain and plants on the

border of that region need rain to survive, they will naturally begin growing in the new region.

The Environmental Media Services Organization has found that...
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