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Lat1 Research Paper

3822 words - 16 pages

Running Head: Is global warming a real phenomenon?

Is global warming a real phenomenon?
Western Governor’s University

Is global warming a real phenomenon?

Global warming is the raising of average global temperature due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human emissions. While there is a general consensus among the scientific community that global warming is currently occurring due to human emissions, there is also opposing arguments by skeptics that do not believe that global warming is happening or point out that previous warming periods have occurred in the past for a ...view middle of the document...

The Industrial Revolution vastly changed how much human emissions were being released into the atmosphere.
In the time since the Industrial Revolution, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has changed dramatically which strongly suggests the human emissions are to blame. Prior to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere was about 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) and has since then raised to 360 ppmv which is a dramatic increase of nearly thirty percent and averaging an annual increase of 1.5 ppmv (Houghton, 1997). This is a dramatic increase in such a relatively short period of time. Given how dramatically the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased in such a short amount of time, this strongly suggests that the rising levels are directly due to human influence.
Shockingly, the greatest release of carbon dioxide has happened in the last sixty years and it has dramatically affected the content of the atmosphere. About two thirds of the increase of the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution occurred since the year 1950 which directly correlates to when human carbon emission started rising greatly on average (Johansen, 2001) and the atmosphere now contains more carbon dioxide than any other time in the last 420,000 years (Romm, 2004).This evidence suggests that there is a direct correlation between the increased of human carbon emissions and the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The changes in the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have changed the most dramatically in a relatively short period of time as human emissions started to rise.
The effects of Global warming are not just accelerated by the release of carbon emissions but also by human deforestation of the rainforests around the world. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about half of the rainforests of the world have disappeared due to human deforestation and at this rate; the rest of the rainforests will disappear within fifty years (Houghton, 1997). By destroying rainforests around the world, there are fewer plants to process carbon dioxide in the world and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise faster. The rainforests are disappearing fast due to deforestation and this affects global warming since there are significantly less plants to process the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Methane is another greenhouse gas that is currently being released by humans and atmospheric levels have been soaring since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, levels of methane averaged between 320 to 780 parts per billion and by the year 2000, the levels have risen to about 1,700 parts per billion (Johansen, 2001). The fact that the methane levels in the atmosphere doubled in just a few hundred years is evidence that human emissions have helped raise that level. The massive change in methane...

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