Greenhouse Gases And Consequences


The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that warms the earth and enables it to support life. Without it, the average temperature on earth would be around -18 degrees C, instead of the current +15 degrees C - a frozen wilderness. It works on the same principles as the ordinary glass garden greenhouse, where glass allows light to get in, but does not allow for the heat to get out. This makes for a much higher temperature inside the greenhouse.
On a planetary scale, similar processes occur. Light from the sun has no trouble penetrating the atmosphere and reaching the earth's surface, warming it. The earth re-radiates much of this heat in the form of (invisible) infrared radiation. ...

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for life to exist. There is, however, one problem: human activity has dramatically increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Over the last two centuries the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased quite significantly, mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels for industrial purposes. For example, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased from 280-285 parts per million in 1800 to 350 parts per million today. Currently the concentration of CO2 is rising by 0.4% per year. Methane has increased from about 750 parts per billion to 1700 parts per billion over the past 200 years, and nitrous oxide appears to be increasing at a rate of about 0.3% per year.
As the various greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, the amount of infrared radiation that is trapped increases. It is estimated that if we continue at our current rate of CO2 emissions alone, the average global temperature will rise by 1.5 to 4.5C over the next ...

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certain is that the increase in temperature would not be uniform over the world. Generally, changes at the poles would be greater than at the equator. Cold seasons would shorten, and warm seasons lengthen. Some regions would experience an increase in rainfall, with more damage from flooding and storms. Other regions would become drier.
These changes would have enormous effects on agriculture and food supply, as well as the supply of drinking water and public health.
A third forecast consequence of increased temperatures is an increase in tropical cyclone activity. Northern Australia can expect increases in both the intensity and frequency of cyclones, and also the cyclone region ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/26/2005 11:46:33 AM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1452
Pages: 6

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