Global Warming English 101 October 31, 1998 Global Warming Global Warming is an important ecological issue because it has several negative effects upon our environment. Global Warming, or what has been called the Greenhouse effect, is the result of a fourfold ecological process. 1-Sunlight radiates from the sun, through space, to Earth’s atmosphere. 2- The sunlight enters the atmosphere and hits Earth. Some of it turns into heat energy in the form of infrared light.
The heat gets absorbed by surrounding air and land, which in turn makes it warm. 3- Infrared rays, that are remitted into the atmosphere are trapped by greenhouse gases. 4- The gas then absorbs the light and is remitted back to the Earth’s surface and warms it even more. Left on it’s own this natural process keeps our planet warm enough for habitation, but with the increases in temperature, caused by modern industry, our current way of life could become threatened. Over the past 100 years the emissions of greenhouse gases have been increasing due to increases in technology and human developments.
Modern factories and production plants have been responsible for depositing large amounts of gas into the atmosphere. These gases, to name a few, include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone depleting substances such as CFCs, also known as Chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons. Activities such as fossil fuel combustion, waste disposal, the use of refrigerators, agricultural and industrial activities, and the cutting down of forests have all played a significant role in the spread of these gases. These, and other human practices, have changed the chemical make up of the atmosphere. Between pre-industrial times and today, carbon dioxide concentrations have been on the rise.
With these higher levels of gas concentration in our atmosphere the Earth’s climate is slowing changing for the worse. The temperature of the Earth’s surface is as warm, if not warmer than it has been in any other century. One study, conducted by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said that unless governments do something to restrict the emissions of greenhouse gases to a lower level, global temperatures could rise 1.6 to 5.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. This increase is significant, because it represents the fastest global warming since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago (Houghton and Griggs). One result of these warmer temperatures is drought. With the warming of the planet, the water on the ground would quickly evaporate causing rivers and lakes to dry. This would lead to crops dying from lack of rain, which would lead to increased food prices and other associated economic changes.
Another result that would occur from global warming is a drastic rise in sea levels. As the Earth warms up, the polar ice caps will start to melt. This would put immense amounts of water into Earth’s oceans. All cities along the coast would be flooded from the rise in sea level. This would force people to move inland, and with more people inland, the results could lead to a shortage of space in some areas. With the coastal cities under water, people moving inland for suitable habitation, and widespread crop depravation due to drought economic hardships will be sure to ensue.
The negative effects of global warming are a real threat. Given the increase in manufacturing and production plants this century, and there associated negative environmental effects, it is our responsibility to ensure that our need for production and financial gain does not circumvent our need for a safe and healthy planet. Works Sited Houghton, John T and Griggs, David J. Stabilization of Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases: Physical, Biological and Socio-economic Implications. 15 Mar.
1998. On-line. Internet. Available http://www.ipcc.ch/research/%gis/index.htm. Science Essays.