The Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse Effect The Earth is similar to a greenhouse.
The Earth’s atmosphere acts like the glass in a greenhouse.
The Greenhouse Effect Not every gas in our atmosphere traps heat.
The gases that do trap and radiate heat are called greenhouse gases. The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, CFCs, methane and nitrous oxide.
Carbon Dioxide In 1958, a scientist installed an instrument atop Mauna Loa Mountain in Hawaii to measure carbon dioxide levels. After only a few years of data, it became obvious that carbon dioxide was increasing in ways that weren’t natural.
Carbon Dioxide Where is the extra carbon dioxide coming from?
It comes from fossilized plants.
Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide also enters the air from burning living plants. First, a burning plant gives off carbon dioxide. Second, the now-dead plant can now longer remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Carbon Dioxide As millions of trees are burned in the rainforest every year, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases.
Earth’s Temperature Since greenhouse gases trap heat near the Earth’s surface, it is believed that the Earth will warm up. This is already being observed. This increase in temperature is called Global Warming.
Weather Patterns If the Earth heats up quickly, the oceans will absorb more heat energy, which may cause more hurricanes. It may also change ocean currents. Remember that ocean currents have a large effect on weather.
Sea Levels As glaciers and ice shelves melt, the sea level will rise.
This means that coastal areas will become submerged.
Slowing the Temperature Change
What can be done?
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