The Greenhouse Effect Essay

1006 words - 4 pages

Greenhouse Effect 1The Greenhouse EffectGreenhouse Effect 2When one starts a car or burns wood, the last thought on their mind is the consequences to these actions. Unfortunately, the daily dangers to earth are not widely know. Due to the constant change of society, this planet must cope with various problems. One of the most important ecological structures is the ozone layer. The same shield that protects us from the sun's deadly radiation, can also act as a blanket engulfing us in heat. This situation is know as the greenhouse effect. What is the greenhouse effect, what causes it, and what can be done to control it?The problem of global warming has been around for some time now. Though not until recently has it become a priority. So important, that figures such as Vice President Al Gore have spoken out. Many are realizing that the greenhouse effect is not something to be put aside, yet rather something to be worked on and studied. 'The greenhouse effect displays that nature is not immune to our presence' (Kralijic, 1992). Ways must be found to lessen the threat of this growing crisis. If this effect were to continue and grow, the earth's population would be exposed to serious threats.Carbon dioxide is essential for plants who use it for photosynthesis, yet too much can lead to serious threats. The problem lies in the disruption ofGreenhouse Effect 3the balance between how much carbon dioxide plants intake, and what our population produces. If this natural filtering process is unbalanced, the atmosphere will receive too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Once these gases form in the atmosphere, they act as barriers trapping in heat and warming the earth.This process is not new. In fact, without the greenhouse effect, the average surface temperature of the earth would be about 59 Fahrenheit degrees lower than it is today. 'Long before civilization intervened , the thin blanket of gases that surround the earth was efficiently trapping a tiny portion of the sun's heat and keeping it near the surface to warm up the air just enough to prevent temperatures from plunging to frigid extremes every night- which, of course, is exactly what happens on the moon and on planets like Mars that have very thin atmospheres' (Gore, 1992).The greenhouse effect received its name because the atmosphere of the earth acts much like the glass roof on a greenhouse. Sunlight enters the greenhouse through the glass as it heats up the plants. Then, the warmth is trapped as the glass slows the withdraw of heat. Similarly, the earth's atmosphere lets most of the sun's light enter and heat the surface. The earthGreenhouse Effect 4then sends this energy, called Infrared Radiation, back into the atmosphere (showed in the diagram on page 7). This is when the actual effect takes place. Not all of the Infrared Radiation is sent freely into space. Certain gases in the atmosphere absorb it and send it back toward earth. Such gases are Carbon Dioxide, Ozone, and water...

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