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Chemistry Of Global Warming

March 19, 2016 | Author: | Posted in life sciences, physics

Chemistry of Global Warming

Chemistry of Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect

Introduction

The greenhouse effect may refer to either the naturally occurring greenhouse effect or to the anthropogenic or man-made greenhouse effect The natural greenhouse effect , which was first discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 , is the process whereby an atmosphere warms a planet where the amount of solar power that reaches the Earth is the same amount of power that is released from the Earth (1 ) Thus , a balance of energy is maintained – energy that enters the Earth ‘s surface [banner_entry_middle]

is balanced by energy that escapes from it

However , this balance can be upset by pollutants , specifically , by carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat due to solar radiation This is the anthropogenic , or man- made greenhouse effect . The gases that are transparent to solar radiation but opaque to long-wave radiation , have the capacity to absorb infra red radiation and radiate it back to the Earth , which eventually enhances the natural greenhouse effect and increase global temperatures (2 ) These greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide , nitrous oxide , chlorofluorocarbons , methane trophogenic ozone and water vapor . The illustration below describes : 1 the natural greenhouse effect , and 2 , the anthropogenic or enhanced greenhouse effect (3 (3

Scientists predict an increase in the average global temperatures as well as a corresponding increase in precipitation as a result of the greenhouse effect . In 1996 , the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC published its findings which suggest an increase in the average global temperatures between 1 ?C and 3 .5 ?C by 2100 . However these changes would not be evenly distributed , as warming would be more intense in the Northern latitudes during winter (4

Since the late 19th century , global mean temperatures have increased from 0 .5 – 10 ? F . The 10 warmest years of the 20th century all occurred during the last 15 years , with 1998 as the warmest recorded year . Below is a graph sourced from the US National Climatic Data Center in 2001 (5 ) Scientists predict that the average global surface temperature rise could amount to 1 – 4 .5 ?F or 0 .6 – 2 .5 ?C in the next fifty years and to 2 .2 – 10 ?F or 1 .4 – 5 .8 ?C in the next century (5 (5

Human Contribution to Greenhouse Gases

In the natural ecosystem , the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is more or less , held stable by the carbon cycle . In this cycle , CO2 is removed from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis and replaced by the respiration of organisms and by burning . This natural balance is affected by people ‘s activities , which resulted to increased atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases . The burning of coal and petroleum products , deforestation , increased cattle production and use of fossil fuels are activities that increase the concentration of greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere . The major greenhouse gases are : carbon dioxide , methane , nitrous oxide and fluorocarbons . The pie chart below (7 ) shows the relative contributions of the… [banner_entry_footer]

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