Global warming is the condition where the excess rise in temperature of the Earth and water bodies takes place due to the release of unwanted greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide nitrous oxide, ozone, water vapour and methane. These gases absorb all the heat which should have escaped the Earth’s surface and result in global warming. It is one of the biggest concerns for the environment and air pollution is the major contributor for the same. The effects on the Earth generated by the greenhouse gases is known as the greenhouse effect. It can also be said that greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from Earth’s atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. Ozone layer depletion, extinction of wildlife species and climate change are also some of the alarming concerns for the environment.
Step 1: Solar radiation reaches the Earth's atmosphere, some of which is reflected back into space.
Step 2: Land and the oceans absorb the rest of the sun's energy, thereby heating up the Earth.
Step 3: This heat radiates from the Earth towards upward in space.
Step 4: Some of this heat is now trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth warm and enabling sustenance of lives.
Step 5: Human activities such as clearing of forests, burning fossil fuels, agriculture and land clearing contribute to excess increase in the amount of greenhouse gases which then get released into the atmosphere.
Step 6: This is further trapped as extra heat leading the temperature of the Earth to rise even more. This causes global warming and problems associated with it.
Greenhouse gases are also referred to as radiatively active gases present in a planet's atmosphere that may radiate energy in all directions. Part of this radiation actively contributes towards the warming of the Earth’s surface.
The intensity of the radiation falling upon Earth and its strength of the greenhouse effect is dependent upon the temperature of the atmosphere and the amount of greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere. Therefore, more is the temperature and greenhouse gases in the air, more is the greenhouse effect and vice versa.
Natural greenhouse effect is favourable for organisms, however, human activities such as over exploitation of fossil fuels, deforestation have enhanced the greenhouse effect thereby causing global warming.
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There’s a profound impact on the soil degradation process that contributes to desertification of vast arid areas on the plane.
The increase in the global temperature of Earth produces a rise in the level of the sea, which may cause the disappearance of islands and coastal cities.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced by the burning of fossil fuel and other activities such as cement production and tropical deforestation. The largest sources of greenhouse gas are found to be burning fossil fuels like coal, fuels, natural gas and oil for electricity, heat, and transportation.
It is believed that even a slightest increase in the global temperature could lead to troubling consequences such as raised sea levels, population displacement, flooding, disruption to the food supply and an increase in infectious diseases.
Human activities are mostly responsible for increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.
Artificial chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons called CFCs are also responsible for greenhouse effects and global warming.
Over-remittance of greenhouse gases results in global warming and the gases emitted such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide accumulate and are trapped in the atmosphere making it a hotter temperature and causing global warming.
According to IPCC 2007 survey, it is estimated that by the end of this century, sea levels might rise up by 7 to 23 inches because of global warming.
The Arctic region is one of the deeply affected places by greenhouse effect and global warming.
Over 6 lakh deaths have been known across the world due to weather-related and unfavorable calamities in the 1990s. Over 90 percent of these death cases are recorded in the developing countries alone.
The year 2014 was recorded as the world’s hottest year and it surpasses the 2010 records.
The number of glaciers came down to 25 from 150 in the Montana Glacier National Park in the year 1910.
There has been an increase in the average temperature by 1.4 Fahrenheit degree since the 1880s.
As a result of global warming, coral reefs have faced worst bleaching and the highest record of deaths have been found since the 1980s
Heat waves, forest fires and other weather calamities result across the globe as a result of global warming.
The rate of generation of carbon dioxide is much faster than that of the absorbing rate by oceans and plants.
Nearly 0.1 billion people reside in unsafe coastal areas with 3 feet of sea level.
Excessive warm temperatures have led to the extinction of over 1 million species as they lost their natural habitats, dissolving ecosystems and acidic oceans.
According to the year 2011 statistics, the rate with which carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere is 1000 tons per second.
As a result of human activities, nearly 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere every year.
Due to global warming, colder regions are also turning to hotter regions all over the world.
Some of the worst consequences faced by global warming are hurricanes, droughts, storms, polar ice cap melting and extinction of endangered species. It also results in a huge shortage of water and food; many regions which were frequently receiving rainfall have started getting scanty rainfall all over the year.
It is believed that in the next seven years, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has proposed the clean air act to cut off power plant emission by an alarming 26 percent.
1. How are Humans Contributing to Increasing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
Humans have been utilizing a huge amount of fossil fuels, natural gas and coal for different purposes such as electricity needs and transportation. We have been also involved in cutting a large area of forests, land use and emissions of aerosols. All of these lead to increase in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, etc.
2. How much Truth Lies in Greenhouse Effect Facts for Contribution to Climate Change?
It is hundred percent true that climatic conditions have been altered due to greenhouse gas emissions. Regions that used to get very frequent rainfall have begun receiving low rainfall and polar ice caps have been melting due to warmer climates. The warmer climate is due to the heat generated by the Earth’s atmosphere that is trapped and cannot escape above.