What is the Greenhouse Effect and What Causes It?

The greenhouse effect exists in nature alone, without human intervention.

Scientific evidence shows a clear picture: Climate change is happening and is largely caused by human activity, that is, all of us. The consequences of the greenhouse effect may be serious and harmful in the coming decades. Greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power stations and other artificial sources are the main cause.

These emissions include carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main greenhouse gas – which has reached the concentration level in our atmosphere that the Earth has not seen for more than 400,000 years. These greenhouse gases act like a blanket, trapping the sun’s warmth near the surface of the earth, affecting the planet’s climate.

But how exactly is the greenhouse effect created?

 

How the greenhouse effect is created

The Greenhouse Effect / Source

Solar energy passes through the atmosphere heating it. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, act like a blanket, trapping heat near the surface of the earth, raising the temperature.

This is a natural process that warms the planet.

Human activities, however, increase the amount of greenhouse gases and trap more heat. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases over time and greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a long time. Although plants and oceans absorb carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon released by humans has increased to such an extent that it is not manageable by natural means.

What are the greenhouse gases?

The three most common types of greenhouse gases are:

Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), solid waste, trees and timber products, and as a result of other chemical reactions, such as chemical reactions. Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored when absorbed by plants as part of the cycle of carbon. Carbon dioxide accounts for 82% of US greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transportation of coal, natural gas and oil. Methane emissions also come from animals and other agricultural activities, and from the decomposition of organic waste into landfills. Methane accounts for 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions.

Nitric oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during the combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. It is 5% of US greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Where do greenhouse gases come from?

Until about 150 years ago, mankind did not produce much greenhouse gases. This was changed by the industrial revolution, when forests were cut down to become towns and farms, while inventions and industrial innovations, such as the widespread use of electricity and cars, flourished.

These inventions and innovations require energy. The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – has become a major source of this energy. However, combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Impacts of climate change

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According to the US agency responsible for atmospheric and water issues, each of the last four decades has been warmer than the previous one.

Rising global temperatures threaten human health, increase the risk of certain extreme weather conditions and harm the planet’s ecosystems.

As the ocean’s warm and polar ice melts, sea levels rise, endangering many coastal areas. These impacts are already felt today, and the impact on vulnerable social groups such as poor, elderly people living in conflict zones is even greater.

The effects of climate change include:

Waves. The heat is the very hot weather for a long time. As the Earth warms up, more and more areas will be at risk of warmer and more extreme heat waves. There is a direct relationship between climate change and extreme temperature.

Thunderstorms. Heavy rainfall is happening more and more often in most parts of the world. In addition to flooding, rainfall also increases the risk of landslides. When rainfall falls above a threshold, the soil soaks to such an extent that the slopes can lose their stability, causing landslides.

Raising sea level. According to NASA’s latest climate change data, the rate of sea level rise has increased from about 2.5 millimeters a year in the 1990s to 3.4 millimeters a year today. Given that a very large part of the total population of the earth lives in coastal and coastal areas, the constant rise in sea level is alarming.

Animal threat. As temperatures rise, many plants and animals migrate to higher altitudes or away from the equator. Some animals may have difficulty moving and adapting to new areas.

Acidification of the ocean. Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic. The acidification of the oceans changes their pH balance and this makes it difficult for the corals and microorganisms that form the various shells to survive. The decline of such organisms can disrupt entire parts of the aquatic ecosystem.

Fires. In recent decades the number of large fires and the duration of the fire season have been increasing. These fires are often so uncontrollable that they can devastate from forests to residential areas.

Drought. Global warming due to global warming increases the risk of drought in many areas. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation of water, reducing their total stock.

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