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The Greenhouse Effect - Essay Example

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This paper considers the greenhouse effect as a term that describes an increase of the average global temperature that is often associated with global warming which is the subject of great debate and concern worldwide. …
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The Greenhouse Effect
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Download file to see previous pages Most scientists worldwide accept the sufficient evidence that suggests global warming is already well underway and cannot be reversed anytime soon. They and reasonable people of all backgrounds and nationalities agree that if CO2 emissions are not greatly reduced and soon, the resulting greenhouse effect will alter the climate and possibly the sustainability of humankind.
Essentially, the greenhouse effect functions in the following manner. When sunlight pierces the atmosphere and hits the earth’s surface, not all of the sun’s solar energy is absorbed. Approximately a third of it is reflected back into space. Specific atmospheric gases serve in much the same way as does the glass of a greenhouse, thus the terminology. These gases allow sunlight to penetrate then trap some of the solar energy which heats the earth (Breuer, 1980). It is a delicate balance and because these greenhouse gases have been artificially augmented by man-made sources, more build up in the atmosphere has occurred thus trapping more of the sun’s energy and reflecting less back in to space. This occurrence is causing the earth to warm.
If the balance between the CO2 levels in the ocean and atmosphere is disturbed by interjecting increasing amounts of CO2, the oceans would continually absorb higher concentrations than it does naturally. The subsequent warming ocean waters are less effective in their ability to absorb CO2 and when the oceans can no longer keep pace with the intrusion of this naturally equalized cycle, then more CO2 will remain in the atmosphere. Increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to result in a warming of the Earth’s surface accelerating the greenhouse effect. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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