Earth Science Global Warming Background
The temperature of the Earth is controlled by the balance of the input of energy of the sun and the loss of energy from the sun back into space. Certain atmospheric gases are critical to this temperature balance and are known as greenhouse gases. The energy received from the sun is in the form of short-wave energy or radiation. "On average about one-third of the solar radiation that hits the earth is reflected back to space. Of the remainder most is absorbed by the land and oceans." (Al Gore)The Earth's surface becomes warm and as a result produces long wave infrared radiation. The greenhouse gases can trap some of this long wave radiation therefore warming the atmosphere.
Naturally occurring greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous oxide, create a natural greenhouse warming the Earth by 17oC. "Although the greenhouse gases are depicted in the figure as a layer, this is only to show their 'blanket effect', as they are in fact mixed throughout the atmosphere."(Dr. Mark Maslin) Many scientists believe human actions are causing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to increase. This increase is causing huge concern as most scientists believe this will lead to an enhanced greenhouse effect.
One of the first things scientists learned is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for global warming and humans produce them in a variety of ways. Most come from the burning of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production. The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide [CO2]. Other contributors include methane released from landfills and farming, nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial tasks and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.
Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can even trap more heat than CO2. A molecule of methane produces more than 20 times the warming of a molecule of CO2. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful than CO2. Other gases such as chlorofluorocarbons have heat-trapping abilities, thousands times greater than CO2.
But because their focuses are much lower than CO2, none of these gases adds as much heat to the atmosphere as CO2 does. Predictions measuring the effects of global warming on Australia show that climate change will negatively impact Australia's environment, economy, and communities. "Australia has been designated as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to the Stern report and others, due partially to the importance of its agricultural sector and the prominence of its coast."Arguments:For:In recent years, global warming has been the subject of a great deal of political debate. As scientific information has grown, this debate is moving away from whether humans are causing warming and toward questions of how best to respond.
Signs that the Earth is warming are seen all over the world. The easiest way to see increasing temperatures is through a thermometer recording temperatures over the past one-hundred and a half. Earth's average temperature has increased more than 0.8 degrees Celsius over the last one-hundred years and around twice that in parts of the Arctic.
If you average out the temperature all over the world for a year you see that temperatures have been slowing going upwards. Computer models help scientists understand the Earth's climate and long-term weather patterns. Models allow scientists to make predictions about the future's climate. This is done by the models simulating how the atmosphere and oceans take in energy from the sun and moves it around the world.Against:New data shows that the Earth has not warmed at all over the last 15 years. The Daily Mail reports that the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, after taking data from nearly 30,000 stations around the world, have found that the earth stopped warming in 1997.
The report suggests we are headed toward a new solar cycle called Cycle 25 which NASA scientists have predicted will be significantly cooler than Cycle 24 which we are in now. This data largely contradicts the known theory among the public that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. Since 1998, 31000 scientists have signed a petition agreeing with the fact that there is no scientific evidence or agreement that manmade global warming exists while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has the support of only 2,500 scientists.
Part of this is due to Al Gore's 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which has supported the cause to stop global warming and was shown throughout America including in classrooms. Gore exaggerated the effects of carbon dioxide on climate change and some say he even made up the evidence shown in the film. "The 2007 documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, received not as much publicity despite the fact that its arguments against global warming were backed by scientists, academics, writers and environmentalists."(Samuel Todd) The film's major point is that the real data shows that carbon dioxide decrease or increase follows temperature decrease or increase not the other way around. The film cites that when the earth gets warmer the ocean releases carbon dioxide and when the earth gets cooler the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide.Personal Opinion:My honest opinion on the whole global warming matter is that I am both for and against problem.
Humans and other living creatures are the cause of increased CO2 in the atmosphere which is diffidently a definite facture to keeping heat from the sun in the atmosphere warming up the earth. Although the main affects to global warming in my opinion are not living things and us humans are only making very minor changes and everything else is natural and to do with the solar cycle. NASA claims we are going or already are in a new cycle which is significantly cooler than cycle 24.
This year alone Queensland had its coldest July since the late 1930s and Northern Territory had a below-average, monthly maximum temperature in July as well. "Queensland recorded its coolest July-averaged maximum temperature since 1989, and with the Northern Territory, were the only regions to record below-average monthly maximum temperatures." (Australian Government) I am not concerned or worried about global warming but I do believe in most evidence proving that CO2 is causing temperatures to rise which have been causing the Artic and Antarctica to start melting.Management:"Despite efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and a greater increase in sea level are inevitable during this century, according to a new study performed by a team of climate modellers at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado." (Robert Longley) Though scientists warn that global warming will likely continue for centuries because of the long natural processes involved, there are a few things humans can do to decrease the effects. On a local level, you can help by using less energy.
The electricity that operates many of the devices in our homes comes from a power plant and most power plants burn fossil fuels to generate that power. Turn off lights when they're not in use. Take shorter showers to use less hot water. Use a fan instead of an air conditioner on a warm day.
In the end it is up to each of us, as humans to take action to slow down and eventually reverse global warming through everyday awareness of our energy use, and attention to ways we can conserve electricity and minimize fossil fuel usage.
Article name: Earth Science Global Warming Background essay, research paper, dissertation