Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Impact of Global Warming

The Impact of Global Warming
By Tracey Wilson

The Earth's temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with accelerated warming during the past two decades. According to the National Academy of Sciences, this is attributed to the rise of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Energy from the sun drives the earth's climate and weather. It heats the earth's surface, the earth radiates energy, bouncing it back into space. Greenhouse gases trap some of the outgoing energy which retains heat. Hence, giving us the name of, “The Greenhouse Effect.”

Since the birth of the industrial revolution, concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30%., methane concentrations have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide has risen about 15%. All of these increases has increased the heat-trapping capability of the earth's atmosphere. Trees and plants breathe in carbon dioxide, and have been what's kept our carbon dioxide emissions in balance. But the destruction of our rain forests and woodland areas, have dramatically decreased this intake. Also, increasing agriculture, landfills, industrial production and mining contribute significantly.

Globally, sea level has risen four-eight inches, over the past century. Worldwide participation over land has increased by about one percent. The frequency of extreme rainfalls has increased throughout much of the U.S. Scientists expect that the average global surface temperature could rise one – four-point-five degrees, Fahrenheit, in the next fifty years. And two-point-two – ten degrees, Fahrenheit, in the next century. Which could cause fifty percent of our animal life to be extinct in our children's/grand children's lifetime.

Evaporation will increase as the climate warms, which will increase average global participation. Sea levels are likely to rise two feet along most of the U.S coast.

Carbon Dioxide is released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels, (oil, natural gas, and coal), and wood and wood products are burned.

Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also results from the decomposition of organic wastes in municipal solid landfills, and the raising of livestock.

Nitrous Oxide is emitted during the agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of solid waste and fossil fuels. (EPA global warming).

Some global warming signs are: heat waves, and periods of unusually warm weather, ocean warming, sea-level rise, coastal flooding, glaciers melting, Arctic warming, Antarctic warming, insect diseases spreading, earlier spring arrival, plant and animal range shifts, and population changes, coral reef bleaching, downpours, heavy snowfalls, flooding, droughts and fires. How many do you recognize happening right now?

People can make a difference. Here's some steps you can take:

Drive a fuel-efficient car. Look for the model with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas you use releases 25 pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, (CO2), into the atmosphere. Another great reason to car pool!

Choose clean power- more than ½ the electricity in the U.S comes from polluting coal-fired power plants. Power plants are the largest source of heat-trapping emissions. Try to switch to electricity suppliers that provide 50-100% renewable energy.

Look for the energy star- when it comes to replacing appliances, look for the energy star label. (Refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters, use the most energy). If each U.S household replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we would save fifteen billion in energy costs and eliminate 175 million tons of heat-trapping emissions.

Unplug a freezer- if you own an extra refrigerator or freezer you rarely use, one of the quickest ways to reduce your global warming impact would be to unplug it. (Only plug it in when needed). This can reduce the family's carbon dioxide by nearly ten percent.

If we all work together, we can make a huge impact on global warming. You could literally have your child or grandchild's lives in your hands.

Tracey Criswell Wilson is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers. Most of Tracey's writings can be found at

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