Essay Essay, Research Paper
Global warming is not a myth it is a fact. It has been proven that the temp has
gone up in the last 2 decades. Yes, it is possible to stop it and even fix it. At the rate we
are going it will be the same as it was in 1980 by 2050. Yes I think that global warming is
a fact to be reckoned with. But I agree with both sides because both are right each in their
own way. It is proven that the earth has been cooling down over the last 6,000 years since
the Holocene Maximum. That is a fact! But there are also facts supporting global
warming. There have been several studies done over the past few years that support
global warming, I will explore these studies in the body of my paper. You will see which
side I agree with the most .
First I am going to start with the ozone layer. It all takes place in the Stratosphere about 6 miles (10km) to 30 miles (50km) above the earth. This is where the ozone is and the ozone protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ozone = (O3)= O + O2 = (O3). Because of its composition it is reactive. In other words it readily combines with and oxidizes (breaks down) whatever materials it comes in contact with. As the stratosphere absorbs solar energy or heat from the sun, it creates a photochemical reaction that produces ozone. This solar radiation breaks down molecular oxygen (co2) into (o), which in tern combines with other (o) to form (O3). This process is called photodissociation. Ozone breaks down gases like carbon dioxide.
But when there is more carbon dioxide than ozone what happens? The condition known as global warming occurs. Global warming is the raising of the Earth’s surface temperature due to chemicals in the atmosphere. Global warming has many threats on the climate and even the health of the people on this planet. Some of these threats include the altering of crop seasons and even affect the way organisms survive on the planet. The first thing I think I should discuss when talking about global warming is what causes it to occur. Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, which are known as greenhouse gases, all build up in the atmosphere of the earth. All these gases make it so that it becomes harder for the (UV) radiation that the sun shines into the atmosphere to escape. The heat continues to build up and this is what causes the temperatures to increase. I know this seems like the temperatures increase massively but in the last hundred years the average temperature of the Earth has gone up between 1.1 and 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. One way that we are able to tell this is thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John Magnuson the lead researcher at UW professor and former director of the UW Center for Limnology (2000 P.1) said that “This study strongly supports the theory of global warming” He also stated that:
Using a unique set of detailed records ranging from transportation ledgers to records of religious observances to newspaper archives from 26 lakes and rivers across North America, Japan, Russia, Finland and Switzerland, Magnuson and a team of 13 other researchers found that the average first freeze date came 9.8 days later in the season and the first thaw date arrived 8.7 days earlier at the end of the 150-year period than they did in the beginning. The period studied was 1846 to 1995.
Also in the last fifteen years, we have had the ten warmest years on record. Which really do’s not mean that much because the records don’t go back that far in history.
Global warming also helps the earth and our farmers in some ways and, it has been for many years. It helps the farmers by making their growing season longer, which makes my snowboarding season shorter. Greenhouse gases are let into the atmosphere every time there is a forest fire or a volcano that erupts. Without global warming, the Earth’s temperature would be a lot lower than the 60-degree average. Unfortunately, there being many more harmful “greenhouse gases” being placed into the atmosphere by man made things like cars and factories. So instead of the temperature staying at a constant, it’s rising.
What are many of the dangers of the Earth’s temperature rising? First of all, it may cause many of the glaciers that are floating in the Arctic and Greenland to melt. This in turn would cause the sea levels to rise around the world. In the last hundred years alone the seas around the planet have risen anywhere from four to ten inches. I know it does not sound like a massive change but it really is because being able to raise all the seas in the world a whole ten inches is a huge amount. Sea levels also continue to rise is because the hotter temperature causes the ocean water to expand. An example of the sea level causing problems could happen on a little Native Island in the middle of an Ocean. On these islands usually where native tribes live, if the sea level rises three fourths of a meter then half of the island will sink. This could happen in many different islands around the world and if the water keeps on rising as it is, then farming land near the sea shores will be flooded and the crops will be destroyed and many farmers will be left without much to live off of. The melting of the glaciers are also causing some problems in the Himalayas. Many of the tops of the mountains in that area have been melting. Massive flooding and rivers that are well above their normal levels are threatening the crops and homes in the area. Many of the locals that live in the area and many of the scientists that are surveying the area are saying that the glaciers are melting at a phenomenal rate.
Another danger that comes with the changing of the climate is that the increased heat causes more evaporation to occur in the hotter climates. This causes the weather to be less predictable and more threatening than in the past. Therefore there is more precipitation in many other climates that are not used to handling massive rainfalls. This increased rainfall also leads to speeding up the process of the sea levels rising.
Health is also something that becomes threatened because of global warming. Heat becomes a huge factor in the health of humans, especially the elderly. Incidents such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and disease increase drastically. I know I sure have noticed that older people have a harder time driving on the really hot day during the summer. The heat makes it possible for mosquitoes and other insects to transmit diseases. This is something that happened in New York. A very rare disease called St. Louis Emphyitis that would spread in puddles of water that mosquitoes would drink out of due to the heat. These mosquitoes would then bite humans and infect them with this disease. I don’t recall how many people, if any died due to this, but it did cause a bit of a panic in the New York Metropolitan area. Heat is not the only weather problem.
Global Warming doesn’t only increase temperatures in hot areas. It also decreases temperatures in cold areas. An example of this has been the cold spell that struck the Midwest. In Montana, temperatures plummeted to 30 degrees below and stayed there. The coldest weather ever recorded plagued our country’s heart for over three weeks. A related incident has been the blizzards of the East Coast. Some places in New York State got over twenty feet of snow. So what is in store for Earth in the future? “Possibly nothing”. There are many people that believe global warming is not going to be a problem. So if this is the case, we have nothing to really worry about. They also have lots of fact to support their theories. They do not say that global warming is not happening. They just say it is being strongly overridden by the natural forcing cycles so far. So they are not saying that the green house effect is not happening, They are saying that it is just not relevant at this time. Dr. Theodore Landscheidt (fall 1999 p3) says; “On the basis of the 180 year solar retrograde cycle alone, that the nest century will be colder, since every other century has been colder, and on that basis alone, the trends in colder data are headed in that direction, so they will probably turn out to be correct”. I think this is very foolish considering that the earth will naturally warm up again, and when it does that it will warm up a little more than it was before. But what I think Dr. Landscheidt is are saying is that it does not need to be dealt with so fast because the planet will cool down more. So we can do it slower and spend less money on it. But we do not know if the greenhouse effect will overpower the natural effects. Unfortunately, this scenario of normal raise in temperature might not be the case. If it isn’t, scientists estimate that the global temperature will rise between five and nine degrees by the middle of the 21st century accompanied by a sea-level rise of one to four feet.
Once the temperature reaches a certain threshold, the polar ice caps will began to melt. While those living in the Arctic may find that a nice surprise, the implications for the rest of the world are serious. Even a partial melting of the polar ice caps will cause sea levels to rise so much as to completely wipe out most coastal cities. This includes such big cities such as San Francisco and New York. Those cities that are not totally wiped out by the water will eventually be hit with hurricanes much more severe than any other one in history. Of course, inland cities are not safe either. Rather than surging seawaters and hurricanes, they will face drought.
So what can be done in order to keep all of that from happening? We need to stop putting so much pollution into the air. No matter what, there will always be carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. If we could just limit all the coal and fossil fuels that we burn, there will not be as much “greenhouse gases” created and it would keep greenhouse effect disasters from happening so quickly.
Coal and fossil fuels are not the only culprits, we need to cut down on household carbon dioxide emissions. McManus and Melanie Radzicki (OCT/NOV2000 p1) say that “One household is already taking a stand”. This family is the Foley family. They also say that:
Carbon dioxide is considered the primary cause of global warming, and is released in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gasoline. The average American household produces 23,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year from the use of electricity, natural gas, heating oil, propane and wood according to figures from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based environmental research group. Another 21,000 pounds is produced annually from the average households 1.8 automobiles.
The Foleys have made a extraordinary goal of cutting their net household carbon dioxide
emissions to zero by 2001. Which is not to far off. But at the time this article was written the Foleys had already slashed their carbon dioxide emissions by about 66 percent. They cut it down to an estimated 14,000 pounds from the 42,600 pounds they once produced. They also say that it is really not that hard to do. But to do something like that it takes pure dedication to what you are doing. Which most people are not willing to do because of the average person life style.
But you still can make a difference by cutting down on driving and on other household things that produce carbon dioxide. CMDL Chemist Stephen Montzkas’ latest review shows that in 1994 the ozone-depleting compounds in the lower atmosphere fell by about 3 percent. The biggest problem gas that is being released into that atmosphere at this time is CFC-12. CFC-12 is sometime referred to as the “sleeping Giant”. CFC-12 has an average lifetime in the atmosphere of 100 to 110 years. So in other words this gas is going to creep up on us. At least that is the way most feel that are well educated in this area. There is another problem gas this one is called halon-1211, emissions of this gas have not eased, even though production was supposed to have ceased in developed countries in 1994. The main reason why these gases still show up as readily as they used to is because they both lie in unused “banks” of equipment whose slow leakage could sustain a relatively high level of emission for as many as 12 more years. This still occurs even though the production has almost stopped. There is really nothing we can do about that either because there is not any way of getting rid of these gases that don’t harm the environment. I think that is a really big problem.
Now, lets look at another chemical that does just as much damage as chlorine. This chemical does up to 30 to 50 times more damage than chlorine to the atmosphere. This chemical is bromine. The bromine is still in wide use. It is used as a fire-fighting compound. I find this really ironic because we are trying to save our environment by dumping the chemical on the forest fires, but we are actually doing much more damage to the ozone. Just picture the amount of bromine being dumped at one time. It is hundreds of pounds each time they dump a load. This does a significant amount a damage to the ozone. Therefore, it is contributing to the occurrence of forest fires because along with global warming comes warmer dryer periods of time. These droughts will make for more severe fires. I also find that really ironic.
Bromine is used in the place of chlorine more and more these days. It is replacing chlorine because it is not as harmful to us. For example bromine is being used in pool and hot tubs instead of chlorine because it’s not as bad for us. I can say my family is even at fault for this one, we use bromine in our hot tub. But our hot tub is a more efficient one. It does not use very many chemicals, it uses about ? as much as the average hot tub. But I can tell you that we still use a fair amount of bromine. I think that fact that humanity is switching the use of chlorine for bromine shows the more selfish side of the human race.
Methane is also one of the gases that pays a role in global warming. Methane is a natural gas. It is the second-biggest player after carbon dioxide. Methane traps the heat itself in the atmosphere. 10 percent of the methane gas that is emitted into the atmosphere gets into the stratosphere, which is the second lowest layer in the atmosphere. In the stratosphere the methane is oxidized into water vapor – another powerful heat-trapping gas. There are many places that the methane comes from. Landfills, rice paddies and cattle farms give off methane . These are just a few of the locations that you will find that give off a lot of methane. Methane is really not that hard to catch and burn off, so this would be an easier area to solve.
Now that we know what global warming is and how it works, let’s try to see what is being done about it. First off you need to know what the government thinks about global warming.
So what do they think? They really do not know what to think. Roy W. Spencer, a senior scientist for climate studies with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (10/17/00 p.1) said “There is more uncertainty [among scientists] about the magnitude of future global warming than the public has been led to believe by the media. There is a lot of uncertainty.” The Leipzig Declaration has raised a serious doubt about global warming and advising against imposing costly restrictions on oil, gas and coal use to fight the problem. There have also been many other attempts by the United States Presidents’ Administrations in order to help slow down the effect.
Now that you have read my paper I hope you agree with me. Because I am certain that global warming is our reality! Now that you know that I am more on the side of the greenhouse theory. I think that global warming is definitely a fact that has to be dealt with in the right way. I feel the right way is to try to restrict the gases and the chemicals that are causing global warming even more than they already are. I know this is not fair to many companies ECT. But global warming is more serious than most people realize. They don’t realize how much global warming could affect their lives in the future. They may not be able to spend extended periods of time outside and many other things because of UV Radiation.
A myth? Is it possible to fix?
Written by: Adrian T Lagace
Psychology , Gerry Brone