Global Warming and Acid Rain

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Global Warming and Acid Rain

INTRODUCTION

The phrase Global Warming has become familiar to many people as one of the important environmental issues of our day. Many views have been expressed concerning it, from the doom-laden to the dismissive.

There is little debate that the earth is undoubtedly warming. It has been the subject of intense debate for decades now. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and industrial gases from fossil fuels play a huge role in why our environment is changing so rapidly. With projections of an increase between 2.5 and 10.5 degrees by the year 2100, it is really nothing to take lightly. According to some scientific studies, the main gas causing global warming, CO2, or carbon dioxide, has increased in our atmosphere by as much as 30 percent over the last 100 years. That is a significant increase to say the least.

Global warming refers to an increase in the Earth’s average surface air temperature. Global warming and cooling in themselves are not necessarily bad, since the Earth has gone through cycles of temperature change many times in its 4.5 billion years. However, as used today, global warming usually means a fast, unnatural increase that is enough to cause the expected climate conditions to change rapidly and often cataclysmically.

Our planet is warmed by radiant energy from the sun that reaches the surface through the atmosphere. As the surface warms, heat energy reflects back toward space; meanwhile, gases in the atmosphere absorb some of this energy and reradiate it near the surface. This is often called the greenhouse effect, named for the way heat increases inside a glass enclosure. In the greenhouse effect around Earth, the atmosphere can be visualized as a blanket that is made thicker by the action of a small amount of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, other gases, and soot; it thus holds in more heat, forcing air temperature higher. The scientific term for this action is, in fact, “forcing.”

CONTENT

Global warming refers to an increase in the Earth’s average surface air temperature. Global warming and cooling in themselves are not necessarily bad, since the Earth has gone through cycles of temperature change many times in its 4.5 billion years. However, as used today, global warming usually means a fast, unnatural increase that is enough to cause the expected climate conditions to change rapidly and often cataclysmically.

Our planet is warmed by radiant energy from the sun that reaches the surface through the atmosphere. As the surface warms, heat energy reflects back toward space; meanwhile, gases in the atmosphere absorb some of this energy and reradiate it near the surface. This is often called the greenhouse effect, named for the way heat increases inside a glass enclosure. In the greenhouse effect around Earth, the atmosphere can be visualized as a blanket that is made thicker by the action of a small amount of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, other gases (called green house gases), and soot; it thus holds in more heat, forcing air temperature higher. The scientific term for this action is, in fact, “forcing.”

The following diagram shows the Green House Effect:

[pic]

The following table gives the contribution of major green house gases in global warming:

|Gas |Formula |Contribution | |  |  |(%) | |Water Vapor |H2O |36 – 72 %   | |Carbon Dioxide |CO2 |9 – 26 % | |Methane |CH4 |4 – 9 %   | |Ozone |O3 |3 – 7 %   |

On an average day, this effect is caused by water vapor and clouds (75 percent) and carbon dioxide (20 percent), with the rest of the heating caused by other gases. Relatively small additions of carbon dioxide and methane force more heat, and that heat allows the air to...
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