EssaysForStudent.com - Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes
Search

Global Warming Truth or Scare

By:   •  Research Paper  •  2,506 Words  •  March 26, 2010  •  664 Views

Page 1 of 11

Global Warming Truth or Scare

Global Warming: Truth or Scare

Is our planet headed for irreversible disaster? Every reputable scientist in the world believes it is. Left unchecked, global warming's negative effects on our natural environment could have catastrophic consequences not only for our planet and wildlife but for mankind as well.

What is global warming you might ask? Global warming is a phenomenon where Carbon Dioxide (Co2) gas commonly called green house gas, gets trapped in the Earth's atmosphere. The trapped Co2 blocks excess heat from passing back through the Earth's atmosphere and into space, this causes our planet to get hotter and stay hotter than it normally would. Now, you may be thinking great longer summers! It's not great, in fact it's frightening.

Co2 is distributed into our atmosphere mainly by humans burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas (Flannery, T, 2005). We burn these substances to generate electricity to power our factories, gas to power our cars, and oil to heat our homes.

Now, there are natural causes of Co2 emission into our atmosphere, for example dead decaying trees, plants, animal carcasses and waste. However, the natural levels of Co2 in our atmosphere in the past 600,000 years have been at un-harmful levels. This is an undisputed scientific fact, proven by the testing of ice cores collected from the world's great ice sheets, which exist on land as ice pack and in the oceans as glaciers. (Al Gore, Inconvenient truth).

Scientists examine these ice cores in laboratories and can determine precisely what elements and the quantity of those elements that existed in Earth's atmosphere when that water froze.

600,000 years of data is a very solid base of information from which to construct CO2 emission models from. Armed with this data, scientists constructed a model of the Earth's natural CO2 levels over that 600,000 period. Based on these models, it has been determined with scientific accuracy, that Earth's current Co2 levels are the highest they have ever been in recorded history. Why is this significant you may ask?

The great ice deposits on Earth are extremely important to Earth's ability to maintain relatively constant temperature; they act like giant reflectors, by redirecting some 80% of the sun's heat back into space, keeping Earth at a relatively constant temperature. These ice deposits also cool the winds of the Earth as they pass over them.

This "air conditioning" system is breaking down because the amount of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere is so great; the CO2 has in effect, created an insulating layer within our atmosphere which prohibits the excess heat reflected off of these ice deposits to pass back into space.

The trapped excess heat is in reality the enemy. This excess heat is absorbed by Earth and causes the Earth's temperature to rise. This rise in temperature is causing the ice to melt which leaves less of it to reflect the sun's heat back into space; in turn the Earth gets even warmer and will continue to do so unless we curb our CO2 emissions.

More than 75% of Earth's fresh water is locked up in the Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets. To put this statistic into perspective, the Greenland ice sheet alone, covers more than 775,000 square miles. If the Antarctica ice sheet was to melt it would cause sea level to rise 20 feet worldwide. If the current rate of melting continues, this sea ice will be gone by the year 2060, that's only 53 years! If the melting of the ice sheets continues at its current rate, sea level will rise 3' by the end of this century. This would be devastating to coastal cities around the globe. Every vertical foot of sea level rise wipes out 100' of coastal land. A rise of 3 feet would devastate the coastal areas like Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, and Florida.

We can see evidence of this today, not only has sea level worldwide risen 4 to 10 inches since the 1940's and presently, the village of Tuvalu is experiencing higher tides than ever before, and these tide waters are present 9 months of the year. The water is approximately 2'/3' deep in the village. Nothing can be done to stop this devastation; building sea walls to stop the ocean from pouring in would be futile. These islands are made of limestone and coral, because of the rise in sea level, the high tides flow into the village from underground and flood the island from the inside out, the island is basically drowning.

The continued rise is sea level will cause these islands to vanish in as little as 40 years. (Global Warming, What You Need to Know).

The melting of the world's ice sheets isn't

Continue for 10 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Global Warming Truth or Scare
Download as (for upgraded members)
txt
pdf