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Global Warming Essay

3651 words - 15 pages

Global Warming:
Eye Opening Facts that it is Refutably upon Us
Terrie M. Hornbeck
Buena Vista University

Author Note
Prepared for: Laura Brahn’s Globalism Seminar
Abstract
In recent years, scientists noticed that the average temperature of the Earth was increasing and looked for causes for the change. It is clear that the Earth has had changes in its average temperature many times in the geologic past before humans were present (Enger & Smith, 2013). Therefore, scientists initially tried to determine if the warming was a natural phenomenon or the result of human activity. Several gases such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide are known as ...view middle of the document...

These chemicals degrade very slowly; in fact, they can remain intact for years as they move through the troposphere until they reach the stratosphere. With this destruction of the ozone, it is causing global warming and climate change.
Several gases in the atmosphere are transparent to ultraviolet and visible light but absorb infrared radiation. These gases allow sunlight to penetrate the ozone and absorbed by the Earth’s surface. This sunlight energy reradiates as infrared radiation (heat), which absorbs by the greenhouse gases in the ozone. Because the effect is similar to what happens in a greenhouse (the glass allows light to enter by retards the loss of heat), these gases are called greenhouse gases, and the warming from their increase is called the greenhouse effect (Enger & Smith, 2013). The most important greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide. Carbon is the worse contributor with a 64 percent rate for global warming (Enger & Smith, 2013).
Carbon dioxide is the most abundant of the greenhouse gases. It occurs as a natural consequence of respiration. However, much larger quantities are put into the atmosphere as a waste product of energy production. The three major industries that contribute to carbon emissions are power plants at 33 percent, transportation at 28 percent and industry at 20 percent (EPA, 2011). Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas burnt to provide heat and electricity for industrial processes, home heating and cooking.
All three of those fossil fuels were formed many hundreds of millions of years ago before the time of the dinosaurs, hence the name fossil fuels. The age they formed is called the Carboniferous Period. It was part of the Paleozoic Era. Carboniferous gets its name from Carbon, the basic element in coal and other fossil fuels (Quest, 2012). The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago. All three of these fossil fuels were products of organic matter that was compressed and heated, and thus the original organic matter formed the fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels resources, coal oil and natural gas supply over 80 percent of the energy consumed worldwide. Each fuel has its advantages, disadvantages, and requires special techniques for its production and use. Coal is the world’s most abundant fossil fuel, but it supplies less than 30 percent of the energy used in the world. Worldwide about 35 percent of the energy consumed comes from oil. Natural gas is the third major source of fossil fuel energy and supplies 21 percent of the world’s energy. With all of the burning of fossil fuels, it’s estimated that they produce 6.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, and natural processed can absorb only about half of the amount (Encyclopedia, 2007).
10,000 years ago, increasing population pressure on wild food resources led to a shift from food gathering, to food production in several parts of the world. This...

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