March 3, 2013
With every year that passes more and more fossil fuels are being released into the atmosphere. Over the past decade, climate changes, El Niño, and the increase in greenhouse gasses are being discussed more as earth friendly groups are trying to make the public aware of the negative situations the earth is facing. What would happen to the hydrologic cycle if the earth’s climate continues to get hotter? Is it too late to change humans’ patterns of behavior and help save the planet? The time is now to make changes for a better earth tomorrow.
The hydrologic cycle is just as it sounds: a cycle of water from land to air to underground, repeating itself over and again. When the water from the oceans, ninety-seven percent of the earth’s water (Anne E. Egger, 2003) evaporates, it turns to vapor. When enough of those vapors accumulate, they form clouds which eventually become heavy and begin to rain, sleet or snow. The precipitation from the clouds then falls back to earth and some of it is absorbed in the ground, but most of the water runs off into lakes and streams and eventually back into the oceans where the glaciers and polar ice sheets are. The greenhouse effect is what largely determines this cycle, as it is responsible for controlling the earth’s climate.
The greenhouse effect is “the distinctive heating effect on the Earth's surface due to the gases in the atmosphere that trap solar radiation and emit infrared radiation.” (Greenhouse Effect, 2009) While the amount of water in the earth’s atmosphere remains constant, the volume of gases in the atmosphere that regulate the greenhouse effect change. When fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are burned to generate electricity, heat and cool buildings and power vehicles, the gases create heat that gets trapped in the atmosphere. Regions such as tropical rainforests help to regulate some of the carbon dioxide being released, but they are being destroyed at the...