Natural Resources

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12 Global Warming (Greenhouse Effect)

Earth is the only life-supporting planet known in the solar system composed of three vital natural resources: air, water, and soil. Recently, pollution of these elements has become a non-curable problem. As the part of development, urbanization, and industrialization, many undesirable substances have been deposited in these natural resources leading to severe consequences in the form of global warming, greenhouse effect, climate change, etc.

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), ozone (O3), nitrogen oxide (N2O) and chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) are the greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide and methane) that trap the heat (infrared radiation) reflected by the Earth.

Greenhouse effect

A greenhouse is a place where plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are kept and its roof which is covered by glasses. They are kept in the closed glass houses in colder climatic conditions in order to maintain a warmer atmosphere for plants. Through these glasses, sunlight enters the house and later, the glasses of the greenhouse trap the heat. In this way, the temperature inside the greenhouse is higher than the temperature outside.
The atmosphere acts similar to the greenhouse glass walls. The air cover allows solar radiations to pass through it to the Earth’s surface, but prevents the long wave infrared radiation (which is reflected back from Earth) to escape into the space. An increase in the percentage of some gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere prevents the escape of heat from the earth. This results in an increase in the average temperature of earth. This is known as greenhouse effect.

Causes of greenhouse effect

The major contributors of the greenhouses gases are factories, automobiles, deforestation, etc. The increased number of factories and automobiles increases the amount of these gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases never let the radiations to escape from the earth and enhance the surface temperature of the earth. This is called global warming. Hence, the greenhouse effect leads to global warming which also leads to climate changes.

Effect of greenhouse gases

The main effect of increased greenhouse gases are:

  • Global Warming
  • Depletion of  Ozone Layer
  • Smog and Ozone Pollution
  • Acidification of Water Bodies
  • Effects on plant growth and nutrition levels

Effects of global warming

The following are the effects of global warming:

  • An increase of as less as 1oC in Earth’s temperature can lead to the following:
    • melting of polar ice caps
    • rise in sea level
    • A rise in sea level can submerge a number of major cities of the world.
  • Increase in temperature of the Earth due to greenhouse effect will cause a change in weather and precipitation patterns on the Earth.

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