Essay on Global Warming

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Global Warming

Even before Homo erectus first stood up on his hind legs, humans have had an enormous influence over the environment and atmosphere. They have used land, oceans, and other natural resources to help further their expansion and growth. Unfortunately, while the human race flourished, the atmosphere and environment did not. Humans released toxins into the air with their large-scale fires and killed many species to extinction. However, global warming is one of the largest and most current dilemmas the Earth is facing. Over the past century, the temperature of the Earth’s surface has risen 1° C and in the past fifty years, humans have been the primary cause of the warming of our planet.

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This build up resulted in an increase in carbon dioxide concentration from 275 parts per million before the industrial revolution to 310 ppm in 1958 to 368 ppm in 1999. Methane is another chemical that is accumulating in the Earth’s atmosphere. Two-thirds of current emissions result from cattle farming, rice paddies, landfills, coal mining, and oil and gas production while one-third comes from natural resources such as wetlands and termites. Other gases that are currently collecting in the atmosphere are nitrous oxide (laughing gas), ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. While carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for decades, precipitation removes the majority of the sulfates from the atmosphere within three weeks.

A planet’s temperature change is an evolutionary mechanism that is dependent on three different factors. First, the amount of sunlight received determines how much energy is available for Earth’s disposal. Over the last two million years, ice ages and global heating came about because of changes in the amount and timing of sunlight. Second, there is a portion of energy that is lost or reflected back into the universe. The last factor is the extent at which the atmosphere retains heat. During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries there has been a drastic increase in the concentrations of organic water vapor and carbon

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