Greenhouse Effect and its Implication on Global Warming
Greenhouse effect refers to an atmospheric process by which short wavelenghts of the visible light from the sun pass through the atmosphere where they are absorbed or trapped. However, part of light emitted from the sun in form of longwave is re-radiated from heated obects on the earth’s surface in to the atmosphere. Presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere does not allow the radiations to pass through. The greenhouse gas moelecules are more complex than any air molecule and their structure has high heat absorption capacity. The heat radiated back to the earth’s surface to modulate its temperature (Davis, 9).
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It is important to note that trees and other vegetative cover play an important role in atmospheric balancing process by consuming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Reduced absorption of carbon dioxide leads to its accumulation in the atmosphere.
Electrical appliances and chemicals are also sources of greenhouse gases. Refrigerators, fire extinguishers chemicals, aerosols and some industrial packages are major sources of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This chemical compound is also very strong and can stay in the atmosphere for a very long period of time. Chlorofluorocarbons are seemingly environmentally safe, non-toxic and stable chemical compounds at lower atmospheric levels. However, their stability allows them to ascend to the stratosphere where they end up being broken down by Ultraviolet light to Chlorine and Bromine. These two compounds deplete ozone layer. Depletion of the ozone layer exposes harmful UV radiations to human skins causing sunburns, skin cancer, premature skin aging and eye complications (Parsons, 45).
According to (Davis, 13), methane is also a very dangerous greenhouse gas and which ranks second after carbon dioxide. Methane is normally emitted into the atmosphere as a result of agricultural practices. During digestion, herbivores animals release methane from their intestines and therefore, increased livestock farming has increased emission of methane into the air. Breakdown of organic matter by bacteria under oxygen starved environments like those in rice paddies leads to emission of methane in to the atmosphere. Some ice found in the Arctic seabed contains methane compounds and therefore, increased atmospheric temperature leads to emission of Methane. Some chemical fertilizers also contribute to accumulation of greenhouse gases and subsequent global warming effect. High nitrogen content in fertilizers increases soil capacity to trap heat and thus also contributes to rise in surface temperature. Leaching of excess fertilizers into water bodies create “dead zones” (Davis, 17).
The rise in atmospheric temperature as a result of greenhouse effect melts glaziers leading to runoffs into seas. The sea water also warm and thermally expands, raising the surface level of water. According to Parsons (51), this rise in sea level has been responsible for displacement of over 600 million people living in low lying regions. This has also been the cause of rising frequency of ocean tides and killer storms including tsunami and hurricanes which over time, have killed and or displaced millions of people. Alastair (92) notes that the future is riskier since the sea level is rising at approximately 30cm in a year on average.
Increased atmospheric temperature increases the rate of water evaporation. Though evaporated water condenses to form rain clouds, such rains may be unevenly distributed causing dry weather conditions in some regions (Alastair, 93). Evaporation in dry areas compromises plant life since their survival depends on...