Essay on Global Warming and Acid Rain

5447 Words Nov 8th, 2010 22 Pages
Global Warming and Acid Rain

INTRODUCTION

The phrase Global Warming has become familiar to many people as one of the important environmental issues of our day. Many views have been expressed concerning it, from the doom-laden to the dismissive.

There is little debate that the earth is undoubtedly warming. It has been the subject of intense debate for decades now. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and industrial gases from fossil fuels play a huge role in why our environment is changing so rapidly. With projections of an increase between 2.5 and 10.5 degrees by the year 2100, it is really nothing to take lightly. According to some scientific studies, the main gas causing global warming, CO2, or carbon dioxide, has increased
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Also, water vapor molecules cycle through the atmosphere in only a few days, a brief period compared to the residence time of CO2,which persists for many decades and creates some warming even after as long as three hundred years. Dust and aerosol chemicals in the air cause some cooling (negative forcing); they are also very short lived. Even though the gases are measured only in parts per million (ppm) or billion (ppb), they have been powerfully, and naturally, influencing the Earth’s temperature for millions of years. Without them, instead of an average air temperature of about 58°F (14.5°C), the Earth would be below the freezing point. Life as we know it now would be impossible.

The following picture gives the effect of CO2 on Global Warming:

[pic]

Earth’s temperature is also subject to natural forcing cycles from solar radiation and the movement of the planet around the sun. Scientists think these cycles, which have left a visible signature extending back millions of years, are what led to past ice ages and the warming that ended them. Currently, we are in a period between major ice ages. The last great glaciation, when temperatures were about 10°to 12°F (6°to7°C) cooler than today, began fading away about 18,000 years ago. The initial transition out of the ice age was unstable, with many rapid temperature shifts. As temperatures warmed, climate was

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