Global Warming

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Introduction

Many researchers, scientists, and environmentalists are expressing concerns about changes in the overall climate of the earth. Some believe that a dramatically dangerous warming is taking place in the overall global climate, a problem that is referred to as "global warming." This paper will attempt to explore this very issue, its causes, dangerous and somehow deadly effects and how we could deal with this global crisis.

Global warming has become perhaps the most complicated issue facing world leaders. Warnings from the scientific community are becoming louder, as an increasing body of science points to rising dangers from the ongoing buildup of human-related greenhouse gases — produced mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and forests.

WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING?

The global surface temperature is an estimate of the global mean surface air temperature. However, for changes over time, only anomalies... are used, most commonly based on the area-weighted global average of the sea surface temperature anomaly and land surface air temperature anomaly.

Per Wikipedia, "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that... greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the twentieth century, and that natural phenomena such as solar variation and volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect afterward.

These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

What is Greenhouse Effect?

The greenhouse effect refers to circumstances where the short wavelengths of visible light from the sun pass through a transparent medium and are absorbed, but the longer wavelengths of the infrared re-radiation from the heated objects are unable to pass through that medium. The trapping of the long wavelength radiation leads to more heating and a higher resultant temperature. Besides the heating of an automobile by sunlight through the windshield and the namesake example of heating the greenhouse by sunlight passing through sealed, transparent windows, the greenhouse effect has been widely used to describe the trapping of excess heat by the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide strongly absorbs infrared and does not allow as much of it to escape into space.

What are Greenhouse Gases?

A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. In the Solar System, the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, and Titan also contain gases that cause greenhouse effects. Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth's surface would average about 33°C (59°F) colder than the present average of 14 °C (57 °F).

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has contributed to a 40% increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 280 ppm to 397 ppm, despite the uptake of a large portion of the emissions through various natural "sinks" involved in the carbon cycle. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (i.e., emissions produced by human activities) come from combustion of carbon based fuels, principally wood, coal, oil, and natural gas.

Greenhouse
GasChemical Formula Anthropogenic SourcesAtmospheric Lifetime Carbon
DioxideCO2Fossil-fuel combustion, Land-use conversion, Cement Production~100 years Methane CH4Fossil fuels, Rice paddies,
Waste dumps12 years
Nitrous
OxideN2OFertilizer,
Industrial processes, Combustion114 years...
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