Causes of Global Warming and its present and
future impacts on South-West Western Australia
Global Warming is an issue at the heart of modern civilisation. The prospect of a rapidly changing global enviroment is enough to cause considerable concern towards life on earth for future generations. Therefore it is important to understand how climate change works, what is causing the climate to change, what effects these changes are having, and how they may continue to affect the global environment. What causes the environments on earth unable to support life? What can be done about these predictions of climates in the future? How will these climate changes affect South-West Western Australia? ...view middle of the document...
G.1979). These major changes in climate are results of radiative forcing, with atmospheric warming known as positive radiative forcing and atmospheric cooling known as negative radiative forcing. Today, anthropgenic emissions of greenhouse gasses are fueling a man-made period of positive radiative forcing, and human activity has also introduced a wide range of sythetic greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, some thousands of times more potent than CO2 (Blasing, T.J. February 2012) and regarded as having a dangerous Global Warming Potential. (GWP) Additionally, these gases are in very small amounts compared to the abundance of CO2.
Carbon Dioxide is widely accepted as the single largest factor in climate change, as the variance of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is the determining factor in the direction of radiative forcing, lower concentrations determine negative radiative forcing, whereas higher concentrations determine postive radiative forcing. Additionally, a surge in radiative forcing imposes a response to the change by the climate system. Some areas of the climate system take a long time to respond, for example the deep ocean. Once these areas begin to change, the possibility of a permanently altered climate could potentially be unstoppable (Houghton, JT, et al. 2001).The concentrations of CO2 in the earths atmosphere today continue to rise, undeniably due to anthropgenic emissions of CO2 since the emergence of industrialisation, and the burning of fossil fuels, and these emissions have already begun to have an undeniable effect on global climate, ecosystems and fundamental environmental cycles.
Increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases will reduce the
efficiency with which the Earth’s surface radiates to space. More of
the outgoing terrestrial radiation from the surface is absorbed by
the atmosphere and re-emitted at higher altitudes and lower temperatures. This results in a positive radiative forcing that tends to
warm the lower atmosphere and surface. Because less heat escapes
to space, this is the enhanced greenhouse effect – an enhancement
of an effect that has operated in the Earth’s atmosphere for billions
of years due to the presence of naturally occurring greenhouse
gases: water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous
oxide. The amount of radiative forcing depends on the size of the
increase in concentration of each greenhouse gas, the radiative
properties of the gases involved, and the concentrations of other
greenhouse gases already present in the atmosphere. Further, many
greenhouse gases reside in the atmosphere for centuries after being
emitted, thereby introducing a long-term commitment to positive
“Any changes in the radiative balance of the Earth, including those due to an increase in greenhouse gases or in aerosols, will alter the global hydrological cycle and atmospheric and oceanic circulation, thereby affecting weather patterns and regional...