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Examine the impact human activity has had on weather and climate by investigating global warming and ozone depletion

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Introduction

Examine the impact human activity has had on weather and climate by investigating global warming and ozone depletion. Global warming first came around as a large scale threat for the whole world in the 1980's. It came about due to the rise in temperature over the whole world. It was believed to be because of many different human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels and destruction of forests. There is an ongoing argument as to whether global warming exists, or if it is merely another example of the natural changes in temperature the world has seen many a time over its millions of years of being. The picture to the right shows the greenhouse effect and its basic form. The idea of global warming is that as more pollutants add to the greenhouse gasses, more heat is held in and so the world's temperature rises. The most basic form of greenhouse gas is water vapour and clouds. This all comes from reservoirs; lakes etc. and humans have little or no impact on this. Clouds and water vapour make up 98% of natural greenhouse gases. Carbon Dioxide is a major input to these greenhouse gases. ...read more.

Middle

There is an effect on vegetation due to this change. As the temperature increases, the flora and fauna (both areas of different vegetation growth), move to different areas and can have a huge affect on local crops. This rise in temperatures can also mean the extinction of some species. With this change in vegetation comes the threat of wide spread disease and pests problems. It can also force a change in crop yields and may force and increase in food shortages. A positive affect of this however is that what once were poor areas for farming may now become new major crop belts. For example the wide vast prairies of Canada may become a vital wheat growing area. With the increase in temperature comes the threat of devastating new weather. Damaging hurricanes will increase in numbers and frequency. As the sea temperatures rise and levels change the number of fish stocks and location will differ and this will have a huge impact on the fishing industry. There will however be an increase in fish stocks in some areas and so, will improve the areas economy and society. There is a instant need to combat that this change in temperature and the only way to do this is by stopping the increase in greenhouse gases. ...read more.

Conclusion

Chlorine is produced by CFC'S and reacts strongly with ozone in the stratosphere, breaking down the ozone layer. Natural gases contribute to this as well. They come from volcanic eruptions, as they release carbon monoxide and decrease nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere. Methane comes from rotting vegetation. The consequences of this depletion within health are large. The main concern is the increase in levels of UV radiation and the link to skin cancer. It is also connected to eye damage, where the cornea, retina and lens may be damaged. In severe cases, cataracts form. Vegetaion is affected as it inhibits photosynthesis in plants and increases the likelihood of disease. Some evidence is contradictory. The solutions to ozone depletion are mainly on decreasing the amount of emissions. This can be put forward by education; it was pioneered in Australia, with the Sunsmart Campaign, advising people to cover up when out in the sunshine to reduce the damage caused by UV radiation. Government legislation is another way of doing it and again Australia lead the way in 1989 'Ozone Protection Act' banning production of import and manufacture of all CFC'S. Also with the restriction of aerosol use. Many countries have realized the threat and have begun to sign up to world wide agreements such as the Kyoto agreement in which the countries vowed to cut down emissions to a certain level. ...read more.

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