Carbon Dioxide And Its Effect On The Earth Essay

Carbon Dioxide And Its Effect On The Earth Essay

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Carbon dioxide is an important gas that is vital for plant life. This compound is made of a carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. Only 0.0397 of the atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide. Even though carbon dioxide only makes up a small percentage of the atmosphere, lately increases in the amount carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have shown to cause an adverse effect on the earth. The rise in amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has caused the earth’s temperature to steadily rise. The term used to describe this effect is called global warming or climate change. Climate change is not something new. Over the past nine hundred thousand years the atmosphere has gone through extended periods of global warming and global cooling. These cycles are known as glacial and interglacial periods. During the past millennia the earth’s atmospheric temperature has remained relatively stable until the 19th and 20th century. This is when the growing population started cutting down large areas of forests and burning more fossil fuels. The greatest increase of atmospheric temperature has occurred since 1975.
A 2011 analysis of global temperature since 1750 done by Richard Muller and colleagues found that:
• between 1906 and 2012 the average temperature has increased by 1.4°F
• the first decade of the 21st century was the hottest decade since 1881, 2012 was the hottest year on record, and of the twelve hottest years on record eleven of them have occurred during the 21st century
• glaciers are melting at an increasing rate and arctic sea ice has shrunk to its lowest record in 34 years
• the worlds sea level rose by 7.6 inches
The Earth’s climate is greatly influenced by many factors including the sun, the greenhouse effect, and the oc...

... middle of paper ...

...mpared to earths overall history.

The climate change models also tell us that these effects will be unevenly distributed. For example tropical areas could reach extreme temperatures that have not been experienced there in over ten thousand years and the sea level there will rise 15-20% more than the average sea level of the earth. In anticipation of these events scientist have determined certain tipping points that should not occur. Like the rise of carbon dioxide reaching 450 parts per million which will cause major climate changes that will last for thousands of years. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has already reached 400 parts per million as you can see above you can also see that the carbon dioxide levels are the rise. Another tipping point we must avoid is having a temperature increase of 3.6°F which can cause the effects already stated above.

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