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Critically evaluate the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas in contributing to global warming - Essay Example

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Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major component of the atmosphere. It is released through human activities such as burning fossil fuels, natural processes such as volcanic eruptions and respiration (William and Sarofirn 1991)…
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Critically evaluate the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas in contributing to global warming
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Download file to see previous pages Carbon dioxide has internal vibrational modes since it has more than two atoms per molecule thus can absorb and radiate heat thus leading to the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide also can stay in the atmosphere for many years unlike water vapor thus acts as a controlling factor of the earth’s surface temperatures (Houghton 2004). Carbon dioxide and global warming Natural gases including oil and coal in automobile engines will raise the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Pepper, Gerba and Brusseau 2006). Farming practices such use of nitrous oxide and deforestation also contributes to emission of carbon dioxide (Maslin 2002). Generally, the sun releases sunlight and heat to the earth’s surface but only 70 percent of the sunlight manages to reach the earth’s surface (Oxlade 2003). The sunlight is reflected back to the atmosphere through infrared radiation but the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reflects back the heat to the earth’s surface thus leading to global warming (Farrar 2008). Some of the longer wavelengths will be absorbed by the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide thus warming up the atmosphere (Oxlade 2003). The carbon dioxide will act like a mirror by reflecting back to the earth heat energy thus would otherwise be lost in the atmosphere thus leading to global warming. ...
The absorption of heat depends on the spectral location (wavelength), the strength and also the shape of each particular line. Suppose the absorption line is an inverted bell-shaped line, the amplitude of the curve or the depth will be determined by the strength of the absorption line and amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere (Oxlade 2003). Negative effects of global warming One of the negative impacts of global warming is melting of the polar ice caps that will lead to rise in sea levels. According to Snow data, the absolute melting of all glaciers would raise the sea levels by 230 feet (Farrar 2008). The desalination of the seas will distort the currents that control the sea temperature. The glaciers are white in colour and usually reflect some sunlight thus cooling the earth’s surface. The melting of the ices will also endanger the habitants of some special species thus leading to their extinction (Colls 2004). The increase in global warming will contribute to intense droughts and heat waves especially in dry areas such as Africa (Farrar 2008). Global warming will also lead to warmer seas thus leading to disasters like strong hurricanes that can lead to lose of lives and property especially in coastline areas (Wang, Pereira and Hung 2004). Increase in the warming will lead to migration of insects thus leading to spread of diseases by the disease carrying insects especially in Northern countries (Williams 2002). The species in arctic areas, mountains and tropical seas will migrate thus spreading diseases (Farrar 2008). The United Kingdom reduced the six greenhouse gases covered by Kyoto protocol by 549.3 million tones of carbon dioxide in 2011. Carbon dioxide alone accounted for 84 percent of the UK greenhouse emissions in 2010. The carbon ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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