Regents Earth Science

Wednesday, 28 January 2015
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Global Warming: are humans at fault? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Global Warming is the increasing temperature of the Earth.  It is caused by heat from the sun being trapped on Earth’s surface by what are known as greenhouse gases.  This process is called the Greenhouse effect.  Global Warming is causing the glaciers in Antarctica to fall apart, and raise the levels of the sea.  The greenhouse effect is supposed to help keep the planet from getting too cold, approximately 35 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) colder.  (1) 

Is Global Warming all the fault of humans?  Humans create more carbon dioxide (a common greenhouse gas) by burning fossil fuels for car fuel and in factories.  Even natural gas such as nitrous oxide are trapping heat in the atmosphere as greenhouse gases.  Carbon dioxide doesn’t just come from cars and factories, but it also comes from planes and even the construction of buildings. Spray cans and toxic waste don't even have that big of a part.  They do ruin the environment, but they don't cause as much Global Warming as the everyday gases do.  It's mostly carbon dioxides fault.  12% of carbon dioxide comes from the construction of buildings, 20% comes from burning gasoline for car fuel, and 40% comes from burning all other fossil fuels for any certain uses. (2)  

Water vapor may not sound like it, but it is also a greenhouse gas.  It is essential to life on the planet, but it is causing more warming because of the cause of carbon dioxide and a few other gases.  The air is warmer, so the humidity level is getting higher.  Air can hold more water in it when it’s warmer so it leads to more water vapor.  Yet, water vapor also causes increasing forming of clouds. This is helpful because it can reflect more heat back into space. (2)

Humans, water vapor, and other greenhouse gases aren’t the only things that are causing Global Warming.  A few other sources, such as rice paddies and bacteria living in bogs release methane into the atmosphere.  Rice is grown in flooded fields which, when flooded, carries a number of organic material into the fields which decomposes and releases methane into the air.  Methane is another important greenhouse gas (aside from carbon dioxide) which the concentration has grown about 145%. (2)

It looks like there’s no way to stop Global Warming, but just ignoring it won’t make it go away.  That never works!  The best thing we can do is to stop burning fossil fuels and not cut down so many trees.  Not only will that help the environment, but it should keep the Earth's temperature from rising so high.  Maybe doing so could make Planet Earth will be a much more happier place for people and animals and plants.


by Samantha Scrivano 









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