Global Warming

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas, Global warming Pages: 5 (1942 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Unimaginable Destruction
Global warming is not a sci-fi creation, but a harsh reality that may one day lead to the extinction of many species including mankind if preventative measures are not taken. Like most diseases humans face, early detection is key to treating and preventing the problem from escalating out of control. If measures to combat global warming are not taken immediately the earth may become uninhabitable and ruined forever. Although the earth has gone through natural climate changes throughout its life span; the latest global warming may be the most destructive to life on earth.

The Earth has cycled through many phases of warming and cooling over its billions of years of existence due to the greenhouse effect. There are two types of greenhouse effects on earth the “natural” and the “man-made”. The “natural” greenhouse effect has kept the Earth’s climate warm and habitable, therefore, allowing living organism to thrive in the perfect living conditions. On the other hand, there is the “man-made” greenhouse effect, which are greenhouse gasses added by humans. The added greenhouse gasses come from burning fossil fuels (mainly coal, petroleum, and natural gas). The greenhouse effect traps some infrared radiation within the earth’s atmosphere from escaping back into space; therefore, keeping the earth warm. By adding more greenhouse gasses we are trapping more radiation, therefore, allowing more heat to be stored within the planet causing temperatures to rise. The gas most affected by human life is CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) .According to Anthony Barnosky, “since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the CO2 concentration has increased by 36 percent”. As third world countries continue to become more industrialized the amount of CO2 produced will continue to grow. Larger more developed countries must lead by example in implementing stricter emissions laws. Those countries must also continue to fund research to find alternative fuels to be used by their citizens. Oceans’ have always been fed water by rivers, rain, glacier and polar ice caps, but now the oceans seem to be receiving water at an accelerated rate. This is in part due to the polar ice caps that are melting at a faster pace due to temperatures rising. Karl Ritter and Charles Hanley stated, “the ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections”. The oceans act as a sink, (container) for CO2; which means that they can store huge amounts of CO2 much more than the earth’s atmosphere. The Earths’ temperature controls the amount of carbon the oceans can hold. Lower (colder) temperatures allow the oceans more room to store excess CO2. On the other hand, higher (hotter) the temperatures strip the oceans natural abilities to act as sink for CO2. Therefore, throwing off the natural balance of gasses, in addition, it keeps the earth’s temperature from fluctuating drastically from year to year. The vicious cycle is destroying our planet. Higher CO2 levels caused by humans; causes higher temperatures, which in turn causes the oceans to be hotter, therefore, storing less CO2 in the Oceans. Just like oceans, trees and plants act as Carbon Dioxide sinks. “Growing trees take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it to organic carbon through the process known as photosynthesis”(Buekert). Although, older trees can release CO2 while decomposing and through cellular respiration the vast majority of trees do not. This is because, younger tress are growing and use CO2 much like we use oxygen. Healthier forest trees act like a carbon sink absorbing and storing CO2. A tree’s storage capabilities are directly correlated to its biomass weight. As a result, larger heavier trees can store more carbon dioxide . In addition, forest themselves act as carbon sinks by storing CO2 and using to create new trees within its echo...
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