Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases





Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases are gases that trap the infrared radiation in the atmosphere. The most common and abundant greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and water vapor. Oceans and forests are therefore important since they contain the two gases in abundant. Other greenhouse gases include methane and nitrous oxide. The greenhouse gases ensure that not all heat from the sun is deflected back into the atmosphere. The green house gases make it possible for the sunlight to enter the atmosphere, and this causes an increase in temperature. The gases are able to absorb the light because they are transparent to the visible light from the sun, yet they are opaque to the earth’s energy. The natural greenhouse gases are able to maintain and regulate the earth’s temperature. Without these gases, the heat from the sun would be re-radiated, and the temperatures would be low. The temperature would drop from around 57°F to -2.2°F and the earth would have an average temperature of -4°F. Some human activities causes increased emission of green house gases, and this in turn causes global warming.

Greenhouse gases that occur naturally are important and it would not be possible to sustain life on earth without them. However, human activities have contributed to the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to the extent that they have become more dangerous than useful. This is because the gases end up absorbing and trapping more heat than is necessary. Carbon dioxide levels have increased tremendously over the years, especially since the beginning of industrialization. This is because of the burning of fossil fuels, which include oil, gas and coal, which increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Other human activities such as the use of fertilizers and other farming practices also contribute to the increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Activities such as deforestation also contribute to global warming because the earth does not have enough trees to absorb the carbon dioxide. Fermentation of livestock waste also increases the levels of methane in the atmosphere.

A runaway greenhouse effect occurs when the greenhouse gases absorbs too much heat from the atmosphere than they are able to radiate back. This means that there is increased heat than the earth can handle. Some scientists believe that it is possible to have a runaway greenhouse effect on the earth by increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They estimate that this will happen in about two billion years. Their belief and assumption is based on the fact that a runaway greenhouse effect happened to the planet Venus a few billion years ago. The increased water vapor in the atmosphere will cause more heat in the earth, and more evaporation, which will in turn cause the ocean to boil. Some scientists however differ with this argument and they argue that it is not possible for the earth to experience a runaway greenhouse effect. They argue that the earth has the capability to sustain itself by constantly renewing its resources.

People can use different methods to ensure that they reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When the engineers design buildings, they can ensure that they design them in such a way that the buildings use less energy. This will ensure that less fossil energy is burned. Other household equipment and appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters can be manufactured in such a way that they consume less energy, or alternative sources of energy.

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