Global Warming Essay, Research Paper
Many people disagree on the issue concerning global warming. Some believe that human activities, various forms of polluting, are the main cause of global warming. Others think that not only have humans not affected the planet by any significant amount, but that not much global warming has even occurred.
Many scientists think that pollution is the cause of global warming and the greenhouse effect. There is a lot of evidence to support this theory. In the United States alone, almost 15,000 pounds of greenhouse gases are emitted per person each year. From 1990 to 1997, these emissions have increased by 3.4%. The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for 82% of these emissions. Since the industrial revolution first came about, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by almost 30%. The burning of fossil fuels to power vehicles, heat buildings, and to power factories is the cause of the emission of 80% of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. The amount of methane in the atmosphere has increased by more that 100% and the amount of nitrous oxide has risen by 15%. The burning of fossil fuels is also responsible for emitting 25% of the methane and 20% of the global nitrous oxide that is released. Some other emissions are caused by the increase of landfills, agriculture, industry, and mining. There are also other greenhouse gases that do not occur naturally. Some of these gases are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). These are byproducts of refrigeration, air conditioning, and foam production. The increase of greenhouse gases causes the atmosphere to trap more heat than it would naturally. The result of this is that the temperature of the Earth is rising. The average temperature on land has risen by 0.8-1.0?F in the last 100 years. The ten warmest years of this time period were all in the last 15 years.
The other theory is that there has not been a significant rise in temperature at all. Land-based weather stations measured a temperature increase of 0.45?C in the last 100 years. This increase could very well just be a normal variation. Also, the instruments used to measure these temperatures were not advanced technology. They also did not take many factors into account. Land-based measurements showed that 1997 was the warmest year ever recorded. However, satellites and weather balloons recorded temperatures that show that 1997 was the seventh coolest year recorded. This records began in 1978. Temperature records that are land-based are too few and they are not spaced evenly. They are not accurate enough. Also, they only record temperatures on land. Only 30% of the Earth is land. 70% of the Earth is left unaccounted for. This type of measurements has many discrepancies.
Satellite data, however, is much more accurate. Satellites cover 99% of the earth’s surface, and don’t miss the water bodies. Also, a new satellite is launched before the one prior comes back. The data overlaps to ensure that nothing is missed. The measurements are very accurate, within 0.001?C. Satellite records match almost exactly with measurements taken from weather balloons. Records from weather balloons have been recorded since 1960. These measurements also show that there has not been a warming trend since 1979. The temperatures obtained from the satellites were from the lower troposphere is more accurate than surface measurements because the measurements on the surface are only representative of a thin layer of the atmosphere. Most of the greenhouse gases are natural. 98% of these emissions are water vapor. The remaining 2% is the result of human caused pollution. Also, 70% of the warming that had occurred during the last 100 years, happened before 1940. This was before the rise in emissions from industry and vehicles.
I believe that the reason for global warming is a combination of theories. I think that some portion of global warming is natural. The planet would have a temperature increase if there were no humans at all. Also, this increase is sometimes beneficial. If there was no global warming, our planet would not be hospitable to life. Global warming also promotes an increase in vegetation. I also believe that some of this warming is a product of pollution. This pollution escalates the natural global warming. The rise in temperatures, however are very slight and are not significant enough to cause many problems. This slight change would not be able to melt ice caps. I used to believe that action should be taken immediately to stop global warming so that our planet wouldn’t be severely damaged. Now, based on the evidence I have seen, I don’t think that pollution has such a large effect on the environment. Of course I do think that it is important for us to try to cut down on pollution. It will someday affect our descendants. However, I no longer think that a huge amount of money should be spent to solve this problem immediately. I think that each individual should be careful in their everyday lives to try to cut down on pollution. I think this will make our planet a better place for the future.