• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Greenhouse effect and Global warming

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Biology holiday research Meetal Odedra 12V The Greenhouse effect and Global warming The earth is warm because we receive radiation from the Sun. Much of this radiation reaches the atmosphere as short wave radiation which passes through the atmosphere and reaches the ground. Some of the radiation is absorbed by the ground and re-emitted as long wave radiation which warms the atmosphere. Within the atmosphere there are several gases which absorb this long wave radiation, preventing much of it from passing out and away from the Earth. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour. They form a 'blanket' around the Earth, keeping in the long wave radiation and therefore keeping the air and the ground warmer then it would otherwise be. This effect is very similar to the way in which the glass in a greenhouse keeps the air and soil around it warm, and so it has become known as the greenhouse effect. The gases which cause it are sometimes referred to as the greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is very important to life on Earth. Without it temperatures on Earth would be so cold that it is unlikely that any life would have evolved at all. However there is concern that human activities are currently increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (and also methane) ...read more.

Middle

The estimate of global temperatures over the last 160 000 years show that the temperature fluctuations closely match the carbon dioxide fluctuations. There is no direct proof that carbon dioxide concentrations directly affect temperatures, it could equally mean that temperatures affect carbon dioxide levels or there is some other factor affecting the both of them. Other factors which may be relevant include sunspot activity and the variation in the distance of the Earth from the Sun. But because we do know that carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, most scientists currently accept the hypothesis that carbon dioxide levels do affect global temperatures. The exact effect of the current rise might have on global temperatures is impossible to predict. It is not known how much of the Earth's average temperature is likely to rise nor is it known that how such changes would affect particular parts of the Earth. For example, Britain is kept warmer then it otherwise would be by a current of warm water, the Gulf Stream that flows across the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean currents are produced by uneven heating of the Earth's atmosphere and surface which produce wind and water movements. Just a small change in global temperatures could cause a current suddenly to change direction. If the Gulf Stream no longer flowed past Britain then our climate would become noticeably colder while other parts of the world would become warmer. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most people believe that we should attempt to reduce the rate at which carbon dioxide levels are rising. An international summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 brought agreement between in many countries to try and do this. Measures that can be taken include reducing the amount of fossil fuels which are burnt; this can be done by using other sources of energy to generate electricity (such as nuclear fuels, wind and water), by making our use of fossil fuels more efficient (such as by using 'lean-burn' engines in cars), and by reducing the demand for energy by industry and individuals (such as by installing insulation in homes, and building more energy efficient homes.) Other measures also include reducing the rate of deforestation and planting more trees where possible and also conserving soils, especially peat, which contain large amounts carbon. Some success has already bee achieved, but as always a balance has to be reached between what environmentalists think is needed and what industrialists think is needed. In conclusion the greenhouse effect is currently very important to life on Earth but is seen to cause many pending problems by global warming in the future. But at present the effects of this are impossible to predict and what specifically is causing it is yet unknown. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Physical Geography section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Physical Geography essays

  1. global warming and its affects

    There is also the disruption of the ocean currents in the north part of the Atlantic Ocean. A sudden reduction of sea ice in the Artic Ocean and in the seas of Greenland could have a great effect on the Gulf Stream.

  2. Global warming

    The villagers of Kaktovik are one of the most well off groups of people in Alaska. They believe that the oil exploration is helping them and their future generations. *Arctic Village Residents (Gwich'in) About 350km south of the Kaktovik village, in North West Alaska, another native group of Alaskan's called the Gwich'in Indians live.

  1. Global Warming Newspaper

    The bears would have to swim to find a seal and then they would not be able to get on the ice again. This picture was taken with thermal camera, which shows how much heat is being wasted. As you can see with the middle house, there is a very

  2. Is There a Relationship Between Desirability and Quality of Life at Ward Level in ...

    * Very small size * Plain and unattractive * No front garden or parking on the property * Terraced housing Score of 1 (Warndon) * Small old property * Terraced * Overgrown * No on site parking * Small windows, poor quality Noise Levels The noise levels were measured using an analogue decibel meter.

  1. global warming effects and solutions

    In the winter, three separate regions are identified: the models agree on an increase (of up to 5% per degree warming) in Tasmania, agree on a decrease (of up to 5%) in central and south Australia, or fail to agree (-5% to +5%)

  2. In this booklet I will be describing global warming, its effects, its causes, my ...

    The worst offenders are volcanoes, which erupt huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Although most emissions of CO2 come from natural sources, such as rotting vegetation, it is the emissions from human activity that tip the scales and create the imbalance that leads to global warming.

  1. Discuss what is global warming. And the effects that global warming gives and how ...

    Most areas will experience summertime highs well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. New temperature records will be set each year. As a possible prelude to global warming, the decade of the 1980's has had the six hottest years of the century (Erandson 18-22).

  2. Physical Geography Earth revision notes

    Saltation ? load is bounced along the sea bed . Currents cannot keep the larger and heavier sediments afloat for long periods . 3. Traction ? pebbles and larger sediments are rolled along the sea bed 4. Suspension ? particles carried within the water Long shore drift Groynes are evidence of long shore drift .

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work