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Hannah Keife's Global Warming Research Paper
Project Name : Hannah Keife's Global Warming Research Paper
Description : A research paper discussing global warming
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Global Warming
Have you been noticing as the years go by, it seems warmer and warmer? Well its not only you. Global warming causes the earth's temperatures to increase. It has been going on for decades now and is continuing to get worse. Scientists have been trying to find a way to fix this world wide issue, but not many people are aware of how it is affecting everyone negatively. Global warming is one of the biggest global debate topics ever and is said to go on until we actually do something about it.

What is global warming?

Global warming is the rise of temperature on the Earth due to the increasing of greenhouse gasses in the environment. It is a serious problem occurring in the world right now and is continuing to increase (Naik, 2011, 1,
2). Not only is it increasing the temperature, but it is also causing extreme weather patterns (Shah, etc, 2011, 2). It affects plants, animals, and even humans.

How long has it been going on?

Scientists and researchers have been recording the Earth's temperatures for centuries now. Global warming became a problem in 1896 when a chemist realized that the temperature would rise if the carbon dioxide level continued to increase (Weart, 2011, 1). It took time to convince experts about the theory of global warming. Once they were told it was caused by humans, they started to doubt the scientific community (Weart, 2011, 2).

The most recent global talks on global warming were in Mexico in 2010 (Anonymous, 2011, 10). They decided to give the 190 countries who participated in the conference another year to decide whether or not to extend the Kyoto Protocol. It is an agreement made in 1997 where the wealthy nations need to cut back on their emissions and help the poor countries develop a clean energy future (Anonymous, 2011, 11). On January 2, 2011, the United State's Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) started the first regulations to the greenhouse gas emissions (Anonymous, 2011, 12). President Obama promised to be a candidate and put the United States on a road to manage climate change and cut back on greenhouse gas pollutants (Anonymous, 2011, 5).

What are we doing to fix it?

In order to control climate change, the social sciences will need to help to "harness our economic and political systems to achieve our climate goals efficiently and at low cost" (Nordhaus, 2011, 1). A carbon tax needs to be made to gain enough money to reduce emissions (Nordhaus, 2011. 2).

Countries are cutting back on their emissions to help the temperature go down. Some fast developing countries like China and India are doing almost nothing about it and ignoring the fact that it is happening, while some of the rich countries are cutting back about 80% of their emissions (Anonymous, 2011, 13). Wealthy countries have the money and technology to avoid this extreme problem, but the new, poor countries who have contributed the least in CO2 emissions are suffering the most from this (Anonymous, 2011, 14).

What causes global warming?

Global warming is caused by natural and man-made causes (Anonymous, 2000,1). Man made causes do the most damage. One of the biggest problems is pollution (Anonymous, 2000, 2). It it caused by burning fossil fuels and when you burn fossil fuels, you release carbon dioxide (Anonymous, 2000, 6). Another man made cause of global warming is population (Anonymous, 2000, 7). There are 6.9 billion people in the world meaning more food, water, and transportation. Due to an increase in population, we have more cars and other transportation devices making the environment more polluted (Anonymous, 2000, 4). Deforestation is another cause of global warming. Trees store carbon in their organic compounds and when they are cut down, the carbon dioxide is released into the environment (D'Silva, 2010, 10).

Nature creates natural causes. There are many green house gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. These gases consist of carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, and ozone (Nave, 7).

To the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide contributes about twelve percent (D'Silva, 2010, 7). It has the largest concentration over all the other greenhouse gasses at 360 ppm (Nave, 7).

Methane is another gas contributing to the greenhouse effect at about five to ten percent (D'Silva, 2010, 7). The gas is released from the wetlands and arctic tundra (Anonymous, 2000, 8). A methane molecule produces twenty times more warming than a molecule of carbon dioxide (Anonymous, 2011, 2). Its concentration is at 1.65 ppm (Nave, 7).

Chlorofluorocarbons have a large effect on global warming (Nave, 7). Their concentration is at 10-20 ppt and they are "10,000 times as effective at absorbing infrared rays" (Nave, 7). Most chlorofluorocarbons have been banned from the world due to the fact that they degrade the ozone layer (Anonymous, 2011, 2).

Water vapor contributes about thirty six percent to the greenhouse effect (D'Silva, 2010, 7). Half of the emissions in the world are being absorbed by the ocean and it is very sensitive to the climate, making the carbon dioxide concentrations increase (Cox, etc, 2011, 1). Ozone only contributes about three to seven percent to the greenhouse effect (D'Silva, 2010, 7).

The greenhouse effect is when wave lengths of visible light pass through a transparent surface and is absorbed. Longer wave lengths (infrared radiation) from the heated objects are unable to pass through that surface (Nave, 2011, 1). This effect has been used to describe the trapping of heat caused by the increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Nave, 2011, 10). Carbon dioxide traps infrared rays and does not allow most of it to release (Nave, 2011, 11). A major role the greenhouse effect plays when heating the actual greenhouse is trapping the air so energy is not lost. Keeping hot air from escaping the top of the greenhouse's roof makes air trapping inapplicable (Nave, 2011, 2).

An example of the greenhouse effect is the warming of your car. Long, infrared wavelengths cannot pass through the glass. The energy trapped inside the car warms it. Convection plays a major role, it traps the hot air so it cannot rise and lose energy (Nave, 3). Ultraviolet rays are blocked by the glass. The sun may be streaming on you, but you will not be burned (Nave, 4).

What or Who does it effect?

Global warming affects everything. The environment, animals, plants, and even humans. The environment has been the highest temperatures of all times throughout the past decades. In the history of the Earth, 1998 and 2005 were the hottest years ever (Naik, 2011, 4). Glaciers have been melting at an alarming rate. The Glacier National Park in Montana has lost 100 feet in 150 years. By 2030, all the glaciers will disappear (Naik, 2011, 10). The glaciers melting leads to floods, and a rise in sea level since all the water is flowing into the ocean. This can cause low lying areas to submerge (Naik, 2011, 16). Sea levels are affected by global warming by the water being heated and expanding onto the land (Naik, 2011, 11). The levels have increased 6.7 inches in the past century and they may rise up to 22 inches by 2100 (Naik, 2011, 17). Global warming and even humans are making the coral reefs go extinct (Anup, 2011, 8). Since the water is warming, algae are producing a toxin called superoxides, which damages the coral reefs. The corals eject their algal lodgers as a defense, but it leaves them with no nutrients and makes them turn white. This is known as bleaching (Naik, 2011, 12). People do not realize how much coral reefs contribute to ocean biodiversity. Without them, about one third of organisms that relate to coral reefs will be affected (Naik, 2011, 18).

Plants are highly affected by global warming. The increase in temperature makes it hard for them to adapt to precipitation patterns and not flourish as much as they used to be. Their growing cycle has changed and it makes it difficult for them to reproduce (Naik, 2011, 7). Floods, droughts, and other natural disasters are caused by global warming and when these disasters happen, many plant species are destroyed (Naik, 2011, 8). "Various plant species are also expected to become extinct by the end of this century" (Naik, 2011, 19).

Since many plant species are going extinct, animal populations are disappearing as well. By 2050 there is bound to be a mass extinction that will wipe out one third of animal species (Naik, 2011, 5). The polar bear population depends on ice to hunt. But since the ice is melting, polar bears are decreasing at a great extent (Naik, 2011, 6). Many other species are affected by global warming such as penguins, caribou, trout, and orangutan (Zagata, 2011, 1).

Humans will be affected the most by global warming. We depend on animals and plants for many things and we will be affected a great extent (Naik, 2011, 13). "Warmer summers will mean more allergies and even more disease spreading insects. Unnatural precipitation will lead to the destruction of crops and hamper agriculture. Rising temperatures will lead to warming of ocean bodies, which will in turn increase the frequency of hurricanes. Destruction of coral reefs will lead to loss of marine life including fish which is an important constituent of the human diet" (Naik, 2011, 20).

As you can see, global warming is a huge problem in the world today. Many people are ignoring the fact that it is happening and it's making it that much worse. Some countries are trying to lower their emission rates, but others are doing absolutely nothing about it. Global warming is caused by humans and natural causes. Humans are producing pollution and a huge population, and greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane are warming the planet up at an extreme rate. Global warming affects basically everything: animals, plants, humans, and the environment.

I feel that global warming is a huge problem today. The fact that some countries are doing nothing about it concerns me a lot. I feel that it is one of the worst problems ever since it is affecting everyone in a negative way. If we do not do something about it now, then we are looking at a terrible future for the Earth. I think once it really starts hitting people then we will start doing something about it like lowering emissions, stop polluting and helping animals that are suffering from it. Hopefully, that is soon because the environment cannot handle much more of an increase in temperature. Overall, i believe that we will end global warming soon, but if we do not then the affects will get way worse. 

Works Cited

Anonymous. 2000. "Causes." Education Foundation.

Anonymous. 2011. "Causes of Global Warming." National Geographic Society.

Anonymous. 2011. "Global Warming." The New York Times Company.

Cox, Peter. Betts, Richard. Jones, Chris. Spall, Steven. Totterdell, Ian. 2011. "Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model." Nature Publishing Group.

D'Silva. 2011. "What Causes Global Warming?"

Naik, Abhijit. 2011. "Global warming Effects on Earth."

Nave, R. "Greenhouse Effect."

Nordhaus, William. 2011. "The architecture of economics:Designing a global agreement on global warming." Copyright.

Shah, Anup. 2011. "Climate Change and Global Warming." Copyright.

Weart Spencer. 2011. "Global warming: How skepticism became denial." Copyright.

Zagata, Darlene. 2011. "Animals Affects on Global Warming." Copyright.