Global Warming Essay Wikipedia Free
For other uses, see Greenhouse (disambiguation).
The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.
If a planet's atmosphere contains radiatively active gases (i.e., greenhouse gases) they will radiate energy in all directions. Part of this radiation is directed towards the surface, warming it. The intensity of the downward radiation – that is, the strength of the greenhouse effect – will depend on the atmosphere's temperature and on the amount of greenhouse gases that the atmosphere contains.
Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have strengthened the greenhouse effect and caused global warming.
The term "greenhouse effect" arose from a faulty analogy with the effect of sunlight passing through glass and warming a greenhouse. The way a greenhouse retains heat is fundamentally different, as a greenhouse works mostly by reducing airflow so that warm air is kept inside.
Main article: History of climate change science
The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence were further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838 and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, who measured the radiative properties of specific greenhouse gases. The effect was more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, who made the first quantitative prediction of global warming due to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the term "greenhouse" was not used to refer to this effect by any of these scientists; the term was first used in this way by Nils Gustaf Ekholm in 1901.
Earth receives energy from the Sun in the form of ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared radiation. About 26% of the incoming solar energy is reflected to space by the atmosphere and clouds, and 19% is absorbed by the atmosphere and clouds. Most of the remaining energy is absorbed at the surface of Earth. Because the Earth's surface is colder than the Sun, it radiates at wavelengths that are much longer than the wavelengths that were absorbed. Most of this thermal radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and warms it. The atmosphere also gains heat by sensible and latent heat fluxes from the surface. The atmosphere radiates energy both upwards and downwards; the part radiated downwards is absorbed by the surface of Earth. This leads to a higher equilibrium temperature than if the atmosphere were absent.
An ideal thermally conductive blackbody at the same distance from the Sun as Earth would have a temperature of about 5.3 °C. However, because Earth reflects about 30% of the incoming sunlight, this idealized planet's effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) would be about −18 °C. The surface temperature of this hypothetical planet is 33 °C below Earth's actual surface temperature of approximately 14 °C.
The basic mechanism can be qualified in a number of ways, none of which affect the fundamental process. The atmosphere near the surface is largely opaque to thermal radiation (with important exceptions for "window" bands), and most heat loss from the surface is by sensible heat and latent heat transport. Radiative energy losses become increasingly important higher in the atmosphere, largely because of the decreasing concentration of water vapor, an important greenhouse gas. It is more realistic to think of the greenhouse effect as applying to a "surface" in the mid-troposphere, which is effectively coupled to the surface by a lapse rate. The simple picture also assumes a steady state, but in the real world, there are variations due to the diurnal cycle as well as the seasonal cycle and weather disturbances. Solar heating only applies during daytime. During the night, the atmosphere cools somewhat, but not greatly, because its emissivity is low. Diurnal temperature changes decrease with height in the atmosphere.
Within the region where radiative effects are important, the description given by the idealized greenhouse model becomes realistic. Earth's surface, warmed to a temperature around 255 K, radiates long-wavelength, infrared heat in the range of 4–100 μm. At these wavelengths, greenhouse gases that were largely transparent to incoming solar radiation are more absorbent. Each layer of atmosphere with greenhouses gases absorbs some of the heat being radiated upwards from lower layers. It reradiates in all directions, both upwards and downwards; in equilibrium (by definition) the same amount as it has absorbed. This results in more warmth below. Increasing the concentration of the gases increases the amount of absorption and reradiation, and thereby further warms the layers and ultimately the surface below.
Greenhouse gases—including most diatomic gases with two different atoms (such as carbon monoxide, CO) and all gases with three or more atoms—are able to absorb and emit infrared radiation. Though more than 99% of the dry atmosphere is IR transparent (because the main constituents—N2, O2, and Ar—are not able to directly absorb or emit infrared radiation), intermolecular collisions cause the energy absorbed and emitted by the greenhouse gases to be shared with the other, non-IR-active, gases.
Main article: Greenhouse gas
By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are:
It is not possible to assign a specific percentage to each gas because the absorption and emission bands of the gases overlap (hence the ranges given above). Clouds also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus affect the radiative properties of the atmosphere.
Role in climate change
Main article: Global warming
Strengthening of the greenhouse effect through human activities is known as the enhanced (or anthropogenic) greenhouse effect. This increase in radiative forcing from human activity is attributable mainly to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. According to the latest Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century".
CO2 is produced by fossil fuel burning and other activities such as cement production and tropical deforestation. Measurements of CO2 from the Mauna Loa observatory show that concentrations have increased from about 313 parts per million (ppm) in 1960 to about 389 ppm in 2010. It reached the 400 ppm milestone on May 9, 2013. The current observed amount of CO2 exceeds the geological record maxima (~300 ppm) from ice core data. The effect of combustion-produced carbon dioxide on the global climate, a special case of the greenhouse effect first described in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, has also been called the Callendar effect.
Over the past 800,000 years,ice core data shows that carbon dioxide has varied from values as low as 180 ppm to the pre-industrial level of 270 ppm.Paleoclimatologists consider variations in carbon dioxide concentration to be a fundamental factor influencing climate variations over this time scale.
The "greenhouse effect" of the atmosphere is named by analogy to greenhouses which become warmer in sunlight. However, a greenhouse is not primarily warmed by the "greenhouse effect". "Greenhouse effect" is actually a misnomer since heating in the usual greenhouse is due to the reduction of convection, while the "greenhouse effect" works by preventing absorbed heat from leaving the structure through radiative transfer.
A greenhouse is built of any material that passes sunlight usually glass, or plastic. The sun warms the ground and contents inside just like the outside, which then warms the air. Outside, the warm air near the surface rises and mixes with cooler air aloft, keeping the temperature lower than inside, where the air continues to heat up because it is confined within the greenhouse. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature will drop considerably. It was demonstrated experimentally (R. W. Wood, 1909) that a (not heated) "greenhouse" with a cover of rock salt (which is transparent to infrared) heats up an enclosure similarly to one with a glass cover. Thus greenhouses work primarily by preventing convective cooling.
Heated greenhouses are yet another matter, having an internal source of heating they leak heat out, which must be prevented. So it again makes sense to try to prevent radiative cooling through the use of adequate glazing.
See also: Anti-greenhouse effect
The anti-greenhouse effect is a mechanism similar and symmetrical to the greenhouse effect: greenhouse effect is about atmosphere letting radiation in, while not letting thermal radiation out, which warms the body surface; anti-greenhouse effect is about atmosphere NOT letting radiation in, while letting thermal radiation out, which lowers the equilibrium surface temperature. Such an effect has been cited about Titan
Runaway greenhouse effect
See also: runaway greenhouse effect
A runaway greenhouse effect occurs if positive feedbacks lead to the evaporation of all greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A runaway greenhouse effect involving carbon dioxide and water vapor has long ago been hypothesized to have occurred on Venus,this idea is still largely accepted.
Bodies other than Earth
The greenhouse effect on Venus is particularly large because its dense atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide. "Venus experienced a runaway greenhouse in the past, and we expect that Earth will in about 2 billion years as solar luminosity increases".
Titan has an anti-greenhouse effect, in that its atmosphere absorbs solar radiation but is relatively transparent to outgoing infrared radiation.
Pluto is also colder than would be expected because evaporation of nitrogen cools it.
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Global warming is a slow steadyrise in Earth's surface temperature. Temperatures today are 0.74 °C (1.33 °F) higher than 150 years ago. Many scientists say that in the next 100–200 years, temperatures might be up to 6 °C (11 °F) higher than they were before the effects of global warming were discovered.
Of the greenhouse gases, the basic cause seems to be a rise in atmosphericcarbon dioxideconcentration, as predicted by Svante Arrhenius a hundred years ago. When people usefossil fuels like coal and oil, this adds carbon dioxide to the air. When people cut down many trees (deforestation), this means less carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere by those plants.
As the Earth's surface temperature becomes hotter the sea level becomes higher. This is partly because water expands when it gets warmer. It is also partly because warm temperatures make glaciers melt. The sea level rise causes coastal areas to flood. Weather patterns, including where and how much rain or snow there is, will change. Deserts will probably increase in size. Colder areas will warm up faster than warm areas. Strong storms may become more likely and farming may not make as much food. These effects will not be the same everywhere. The changes from one area to another are not well known.
People in government and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have talked about global warming. They do not agree on what to do about it. Some things that could reduce warming are to burn less fossil fuels, adapt to any temperature changes, or try to change the Earth to reduce warming. The Kyoto Protocol tries to reduce pollution from the burning of fossil fuels. Most governments have agreed to it. Some people in government think nothing should change. Holes in the Ozone layer of our atmosphere can contribute to global warming. Ultraviolet (UV) rays get into our atmosphere, causing it to heat up. Cows flattulance also contributes to it. This releases methane which helps in global warming.
Temperature changes[change | change source]
See also: Temperature record of the past 1000 years
Climate change has happened many times over the history of the Earth, including the coming and going of ice ages. For more recent centuries, we have more details.
Since the 1800s, people have recorded the daily temperature. By about 1850, there were enough places measuring temperature so that scientists could know the global average temperature. From 1920 to 1940, the temperature got warmer. From 1940 to 1970, the temperature got slightly cooler. From 1970 to today, the average temperature for the world has increased by about 0.6 ± 0.2 °C (1.1 ± 0.4 °F). Starting in 1979, satellites started measuring the temperature of the Earth.
Before 1850, there were not enough temperature measurements for us to know how warm or cold it was. Climatologists use proxy measurements to try to figure out past temperatures before there were thermometers. This means measuring things that change when it gets colder or warmer. One way is to cut into a tree and measure how far apart the growth rings are. Trees that live a long time can give us an idea of how temperature and rain changed while it was alive.
For most of the past 2000 years the temperature didn't change much. There were some times where the temperatures were a little warmer or cooler. One of the most famous warm times was the Medieval Warm Period and one of the most famous cool times was the Little Ice Age. Other proxy measurements like the temperature measured in deep holes mostly agree with the tree rings. Tree rings and bore holes can only help scientists work out the temperature until about 1000 years ago. Ice cores are also used to find out the temperature back to about half a million years ago.
The greenhouse effect[change | change source]
Main article: Greenhouse effect
Coal-burning power plants, car exhausts, factory smokestacks, and other man-made waste gas vents give off about 23 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere each year. The amount of CO2 in the air is about 31% more than it was around 1750. About three-quarters of the CO2 that people have put in the air during the past 20 years are due to burning fossil fuel like coal or oil. The rest mostly comes from changes in how land is used, like cutting down trees.
The Sun[change | change source]
Main article: Sun
The sun gets a little bit hotter and colder every 11 years. This is called the 11-year sunspot cycle. The change is so small that scientists can barely measure how it affects the temperature of the Earth. If the sun was causing the Earth to warm up, it would warm both the surface and high up in the air. But the air in the upper stratosphere is actually getting colder, so scientists don't think changes in the sun have much effect.
Dust and dirt[change | change source]
Dust and dirt in the air come from natural sources such as volcanos,erosion and meteoric dust. People also add to it. Some of this dirt falls out within a few hours. Some is aerosol, so small that it could stay in the air for years.
Some responses[change | change source]
Some people try to stop global warming, usually by burning less fossil fuel. Many people have tried to get countries to emit less greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997. It was meant to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to below their levels in 1990. However, carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise.
Energy conservation is used to burn less fossil fuel. People can also use energy sources that don't burn fuel, or can prevent the carbon dioxide from getting out.
People can also change how they live because of any changes that global warming will bring. For example, they can go to places where the weather is better, or build walls around cities to keep flood water out. Like the preventive measures, these things cost money, and rich people and rich countries will be able to change more easily than the poor. Geoengineering is also seen by some as one climate change mitigation response. For example, a process using nanotechnology has been found to remove carbon dioxide from the air to create ethanol.
Etymology[change | change source]
The term global warming was first used in its modern sense on 8 August 1975 in a science paper by Wally Broecker in the journal Science called "Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?". Broecker's choice of words was new and represented a significant recognition that the climate was warming; previously the phrasing used by scientists was "inadvertent climate modification," because while it was recognized humans could change the climate, no one was sure which direction it was going. The National Academy of Sciences first used global warming in a 1979 paper called the Charney Report, it said: "if carbon dioxide continues to increase, we find no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible." The report made a distinction between referring to surface temperature changes as global warming, while referring to other changes caused by increased CO2 as climate change.
Global warming became more widely popular after 1988 when NASA climate scientist James Hansen used the term in a testimony to Congress. He said: "global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming." His testimony was widely reported and afterward global warming was commonly used by the press and in public discourse.
Effects of global warming on sea levels[change | change source]
Global warming means that Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets are melting and the oceans are expanding. Recent climate change would still cause a 6 meters (20 ft) sea-level rise even if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced in 2015 per a scientific paper in Science.
Low-lying areas such as Bangladesh, Florida, the Netherlands and other areas face massive flooding.
Cities affected by current sea level rise[change | change source]
Many cities are sea ports and under threat of flooding if the present sea level rises.
These and the other cities have either started trying to deal with rising sea level and related storm surge, or are discussing this, according to reliable sources.
- New York City
- Norfolk, Virginia, in Hampton Roads area of United States
- Crisfield, Maryland, United States
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Miami, Florida, has been listed as "the number-one most vulnerable city worldwide" in terms of potential damage to property from storm-related flooding and sea-level rise.
- Saint Petersburg
- Sydney, Australia
- Thatta and Badin, in Sindh, Pakistan
- Malé, Maldives
- Beijing, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro
OECD 2007 report[change | change source]
From a 2007 OECD report;
- Miami, USA
- Guangzhou, P.R. of China
- New York-Newark, USA
- Kolkata, India
- Shanghai, P.R. of China
- Mumbai, India
- Tianjin, P.R. of China
- Tokyo, Japan
- Hong Kong, P.R. of China
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Ningbo, P.R. of China
- New Orleans, USA
- Osaka-Kobe, Japan
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Nagoya, Japan
- Qingdao, China
- Virginia Beach, USA
- Alexandria, Egypt
Another seven cities that are exposed to coastal flooding:
- Rangoon, Myanmar
- Hai Phòng, Vietnam
- Khulna, Bangladesh
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
- Chittagong, Bangladesh
- Jakarta, Indonesia
Further reading[change | change source]
- Why you should sweat climate change March 1, 2013 USA Today
- Report Blames Climate Change for Extremes in Australia March 4, 2013 The New York Times
- It's Global Warming, Stupid November 1, 2012 en:BusinessWeek
- Extremely Bad Weather: Studies start linking climate change to current events November 17, 2012; Vol.182 #10 Science News
- Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years March 7, 2013 The New York Times
- IPCC. 2007 Climate change 2007. the physical science basis. (summary for policy makers) IPCC.
- Jones C. Climate change: facts and impacts [online]. Available from: What effects are we seeing now and what is still to come?
- Miller C. and Edwards P.N. (eds) 2001. Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance, MIT Press.
- Ruddiman W.F. 2003. The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago, Climate Change61 (3): 261-293.
- Ruddiman W.F. 2005. Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: how humans took control of climate. Princeton University Press.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
- The Climate Change Guide easy-to-understand information on Climate Change
- [en.citizendium.org/wiki/Global_warming Glass bal warming] -Citizendium
Public administrations and organizations[change | change source]
Other links[change | change source]
BBC articles[change | change source]
- ↑Campbell, Neil A. 2009. Biology concepts & connections; page 119. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
- ↑Hansen, James (July 2012) (PDF). The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change. New York, USA: Dr James E. Hansen, Columbia University. http://www.columbia.edu/%7Ejeh1/mailings/2012/20120803_DicePopSci.pdf.
- ↑IPCC (2007). "Summary for policymakers"(PDF). Climate change 2007: The physical science basis: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- ↑Thompson (Climate Central), Andrea (May 19, 2016). "Atmospheric CO2 May Have Topped 400 PPM Permanently". InsideClimate News. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- ↑Justin Gillis (3 September 2016). "Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun; Scientists' warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States' coastline are no longer theoretical". New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- ↑"Climate change 2001: the scientific basis". UNEP/GRID-Arendal (Grida.no). Retrieved 2010-11-03. en:UNEP/GRID-Arendal
- ↑"Climate change 2001: the scientific basis". Grida.no. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- ↑"Sun-dimming Volcanoes Partly Explain Global Warming Hiatus". Scientific American. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑Volcanoes that act as air-conditioning for a warming world; Many small eruptions over the past decade or so have helped restrain climate change May 2014 issue Scientific American
- ↑Avery Thompson (October 17, 2016). "Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol; The process is cheap, efficient, and scalable, meaning it could soon be used to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- ↑"Nano-spike catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol". Oak Ridge National Laboratory. October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- ↑BEC CREW (19 October 2016). "Scientists just accidentally discovered a process that turns CO2 directly into ethanol". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
- ↑John von Radowitz (July 13, 2015). "Rising oceans impact 'enormous'". Times of Malta. TimesOfMalta.com. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- ↑Dutton, A.; A. E. Carlson, A. J. Long, G. A. Milne, P. U. Clark, R. DeConto, B. P. Horton, S. Rahmstorf, M. E. Raymo (10 July 2015). "Sea-level rise due to polar ice-sheet mass loss during past warm periods". Science (journal)349 (6244). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4019. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6244/aaa4019. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- ↑McKie, Robin; editor, science (7 March 2009). "Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures". Retrieved 23 January 2017 – via The Guardian.
- ↑President Trump, Military Split on Climate Change at YouTube
- ↑Floods in London. Royal Geographical Society
- ↑"Sea Level Rise - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation". New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑interactive map from Climate Central
- ↑"Mapping Sea Level Rise to Help Recovery after Hurricane Sandy". U.S. Global Change Research Program. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑World Bank, World Development Report 2010, 91.
- ↑en:Climate change in New York City
- ↑Noguchi, Yuki (2014-06-24). "As Sea Levels Rise, Norfolk Is Sinking And Planning". NPR. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
- ↑National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change May 2014 CNA Military Advisory Board
- ↑http://www.iapsc.org.uk/document/R_Crighton.pdf Investigation of Air Pollution Standing Conference
- ↑Montgomery, David (2013-10-24). "Crisfield, Md., beats back a rising Chesapeake Bay". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- ↑Two cities, two very different responses to rising sea levels July 2, 2015 PBS NewsHour
- ↑Jeff Goodell (June 20, 2013). "Goodbye, Miami". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- ↑Climate Change Economics February 2015 National Geographic
- ↑"Coastal floods in Russia". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑"Most at risk: Study reveals Sydney's climate change 'hotspots'". 29 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑Cities, Connecting Delta. "Cities : Jakarta : Climate change adaptation :: Connecting Delta Cities". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- ↑Khan, Sami (2012-01-25). "Effects of Climate Change on Thatta and Badin". Envirocivil.com. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- ↑World Bank, World Development Report 2010, 91.