Global Warming

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The Earth receives energy, light and warmth from the sun. As the earth and the objects on earth become warm, they radiate their warmth back toward space in the form of infrared energy. However, there are gases known as trace gases that make up less than 1% of Earth’s atmosphere which are able to trap some of the outgoing heat. Water vapor is vastly abundant in the atmosphere and generates a blanketing effect that keeps the surface of the earth at a temperature that allows life to exist. In addition to water vapor, carbon dioxide is another trace gas that is naturally present in the atmosphere. It’s powerful heat-trapping capabilities are essential for life and in processes such as respiration and photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide levels are kept in balance due to those natural systems. As long as the amount of CO2 that is added to the air is the same that is being taken out than the natural system will continue to function in a way that won’t disrupt Earth’s environment and the life that inhabits it. However, over the past 100 years, CO2 concentrations have increased by one-third and more than 65% of the warming that has occurred has been caused by human activity. Oceans play a major role in regulating climate and when ocean waters become warmer, such as when they absorb higher-than-average levels of sunlight, they emit more water vapor into the atmosphere. Because water vapor is an already abundant trace gas in the atmosphere an additional amount of it would entail that more heat is retained into the atmosphere. Ocean currents, a major one being the Gulf Stream, also exert a strong influence on Earth’s climate, carrying stored heat across the planet and without these ocean currents these areas wouldn’t be as warm. The Industrial... ... middle of paper ... ...ons would allow more crops to grow in additional regions- farther north in the Northern Hemisphere and farther south in the Southern Hemisphere which could make a major contribution to combating world hunger as world population rises. “If the warming is at night, that is largely going to be beneficial to the plants,” comments Robert W. Davis of the University of Virginia. Scientists say that agriculture may benefit from shorter cold seasons. Works Cited Calhoun, Yael. Climate change. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005 "Climate Change: Key Indicators." Climate Change: NASA's Eyes on the Earth. Web. 01 June 2010. . Parks, Peggy J.1. Global Warming. New York: Lucent Books, 2004 Shaw, Jane S. Global Warming. Greenhaven Press, 2002 Watson, Stephanie. Critical Perspectives on Pollution. New York: Rosen Pub., 2007

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