The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

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The greenhouse effect is an important phenomenon and is currently holding national and international attention. Why is there an interest in the effect? Why are people willing to invest so much time and effort investigating its consequences and willing to suffer by them? What is the basis for believing the effect is real? The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process, which is initiated by the sun. It is a result of the fact that there are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere which contain the properties to absorb longwave radiation. What this means is that gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane(CH4) and Water (H2O) act as a blocker to the returning beam of the sun. We will see what a significant effect this has in a moment. It is quite possible that if greenhouses gases such as methane and carbon dioxide did not exist, life on earth would not be possible. According to physicalgeography.net, without the greenhouse effect the average temperature on earth would be around -18 degrees Celsius instead of the 15 degrees that we currently experience. However, as we are finding out over the last number of years, the earth is getting increasingly hotter, and if not resolved soon then it is possible it could spiral out of control. The following is the process of the greenhouse effect and how global warming occurs. Firstly, the sun emits heat energy which is known as radiation. This is mostly electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum. Because the incoming radiation has such a short wavelength and high energy, it passes through the atmosphere without any problems. As energy from the Sun passes through the atmosphere a number of things happen. About 26% is reflected back to space. 19% of the energy is absorbed ... ... middle of paper ... ...n reported that a warmer world would inflict tropical diseases on Americans. These reports neglect to mention that those diseases, such as malaria, cholera, and yellow fever, were widespread in the United States in the colder 19th century. It has also been shown that virtually all plants will do better in a CO2-rich environment than in the current atmosphere, which contains only trace amounts of their basic food. Furthermore, plants generally tend to benefit from hotter environments than colder ones. It is clear that there is no clear cut answer to how greenhouse gases will affect our earth over the coming decades. It is safe to say, however, that a vast amount of research needs to be done before we are to act drastically. Let’s not rush into costly programs to stave off something that we just may like if it occurs. After all, there are two sides to every story.
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