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Global Warming Essay

1713 words - 7 pages

Global warming and the greenhouse effect worry many geologists. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that keeps the earth at temperatures that are livable. You ask - what does the greenhouse effect have to do with global warming? When humans release gases into the air, the greenhouse effect will alter the temperature of the earth. More gases in the atmosphere means the earth will start to get warmer, and the result is global warming. On the other hand, if there was no greenhouse effect, the earth would be too cold for humans to comfortably exist.In order to talk about global warming, we must first learn what causes the greenhouse effect. The three most common greenhouse gases are water ...view middle of the document...

The Environmental Media Services Organization (MSO) has found that the greenhouse effect "could drive temperatures up as much as 6 degrees by the year 2100 - an increase in heat comparable to the 10 degree warming that ended the last ice age" (Fast Facts). If a 10-degree warming was the factor that ended the last ice age, imagine what another warming could do. "Consider hydrology, for instance. Warm air holds more water vapor than cold air, so there is an increase in evaporation in dry areas, and hence more drought - something that has been documented on every continent. Once that water is in the atmosphere, it's going to come down somewhere - and, indeed, we have seen the most dramatic flooding ever recorded in recent years. In 1998, 300 million humans, 1 in 20 of us, had to leave their homes for a week, a month, a year, or forever because of rising waters" (The Planet Speaks). Much of the gained water would be from melting icecaps in the ocean and melting glaciers on land. Coastal cities and islands could be wiped out.Global warming would not only affect humans; it would also affect sea life. This would happen because water temperatures would rise. "Corals are intolerant of temperatures just a few degrees warmer than usual" (Fast Facts). There have been problems with corals dying out in the past few years because of increased water temperatures. Other marine life would probably migrate to warmer waters. The warm water would make them think they were in their natural habitat. A downfall to this unknown migration would be that food would become scarce in their new, habitat. An example is salmon; salmon are also sensitive to the temperature of the water. During the summer when the water is warm, salmon have a high metabolic rate. During the winter months, their metabolism slows down, which is good because less food is available at this time. With global warming and increased water temperatures, salmon would have a high metabolic rate longer each year. They would possibly eat all the available food and many salmon would die of starvation as a result.Global warming is already disturbing patterns of the circulation of seawater. Cold water moves along the sea floor toward the equator and warm water around the equator moves toward the poles across the surface of the ocean. This process is very important to the living of ocean species. This circulation process brings oxygenated water to the sea floor. If this process no longer happened, water along the sea floor would become depleted of the oxygen organisms need to survive" (Fast Facts). The resulting factor would be more death among deep-sea organisms.There are many negative environmental effects of global warming. Another effect is the fact that higher temperatures will lead to a change in the water cycle. Warmer temperatures will cause a greater amount of evaporation from lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. In some areas this could be good, but in other areas it could be bad. In northern regions of...

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