Greenhouse Effect Research Paper

Submitted By taylorh999
Words: 1855
Pages: 8

As the world population continues to grow and the demand for resources increase, one must wonder what affects this growth must have on our global atmosphere. Due to the fact that the world functions based largely on a steady climate, it is hard to imagine what it would look like without it. However there have been vast climate changes that can now be seen in today’s world. Today’s global temperatures have been dramatically increasing every year. Many are pondering why and what effects could be seen if this trend continues. One of the reasons is called the ‘greenhouse effect’ where gases are trapped in the atmosphere. This in turn causes an increase in heat. This may (many have speculated) contribute to global warming which are problems that geologists continue to study and tackle. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that keeps the earth at temperatures that are livable. Energy from the sun warms the earth when its heat rays are absorbed by greenhouse gases and become trapped in the atmosphere. Some of the most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. If there were no greenhouse gases, very few rays would be absorbed and the earth would be extremely cold. However, when too many rays are absorbed, the earth’s atmosphere starts to warm, which leads to global warming. Global warming can lead to many problems that affect the environment in which we live. In order to talk about global warming, we must first learn what causes the greenhouse effect. A lot of the rays from the sun are absorbed by water vapor that is naturally in our atmosphere. Water vapor accounts for over 80 percent of natural greenhouse warming. The remaining 20 percent is due to other gases that are present in very small amounts (Climate Change). Carbon dioxide is also a big absorber of the sun’s heat rays. Humans can cause a lot of carbon dioxide to be released. Every time we burn fossil fuels, for example, we release more carbon dioxide. Emissions from cars also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more rays from the sun are absorbed. This will cause the atmosphere and the earth’s temperature to warm. Some suggest the warming of the earth will cause the oceans to become warmer as well. When they heat up, more water is evaporated, causing more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. Once this process starts, it is extremely hard to control. If the temperature keeps rising, more carbon dioxide will be released. Another greenhouse gas is methane, which absorbs infrared radiation 25 times more effectively than carbon dioxide, making it an important greenhouse gas despite its relatively low concentration. (Change). However there have been many studies on how methane is released into the atmosphere. A study done by a team of MIT scientists recorded a “nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels -the and was the first increase in ten years.” What baffled the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increased greenhouse gas emissions. Their main conclusion was that the increase in methane levels could be because of a natural cycle rather than direct human contributions (Kazan, Casey). Although many argue that it may be the world’s natural cycle, methane in the atmosphere is generated mostly by biological activity related to rice cultivation, leaks in domestic and industrial gas lines, burning of Co2 gases, and the digestive process of domestic livestock, especially cattle (Climate Change). Another effect of global warming on the environment is the fact that higher temperatures will lead to a change in the water cycle. Some locations may experience more rain. Warmer temperatures will cause a greater amount of evaporation from lakes, rivers and oceans. In some areas this could be good, and in others it could be considered devastating. In northern