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Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect Essays

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Global Warming is due to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process that aids in
heating the Earth's surface and atmosphere. It results from the fact
that certain atmospheric gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor,
and methane, are able to change the energy balance of the planet by
being able to absorb longwave radiation from the Earth's surface.
Without the greenhouse effect, life on this planet would probably not
exist as the average temperature of the Earth would be a chilly -18
degrees Celsius, rather than the present 15 degrees Celsius.

As energy from the sun passes through the atmosphere a number of
things take place. A portion of the energy (26 % globally) is
reflected back to space by clouds and particles. About 19 % of the
energy available is absorbed by clouds, gases (like ozone), and
particles in the atmosphere. Of the remaining 55 % of the solar energy
passing through the Earth's atmosphere, 4 % is reflected from the
surface back to space. On average about 51 % of the sun's radiation
reaches the surface. This energy is then used in number of processes
including: the heating of the ground surface; the melting of ice and
snow and the evaporation of water; and plant photosynthesis.

The heating of the ground by sunlight causes the Earth's surface to
become a radiator of energy in the longwave band (sometimes called
infrared radiation). This emission of energy is generally directed to
space. However, only a small portion of this energy actually makes it
back to space. A few naturally occurring atmospheric gases known as
the greenhouse gases absorb the majority of the outgoing infrared
...


... middle of paper ...


...ons of ozone gas are found
in two different regions of the Earth's atmosphere. The majority of
the ozone (about 97 %) found in the atmosphere is concentrated in the
stratosphere at an altitude of 15 to 55 kilometers above the Earth's
surface. In recent years, the concentration of the stratospheric ozone
has been decreasing because of the build-up of chlorofluorocarbons in
the atmosphere. Since the late 1970s, scientists have discovered that
total column ozone amounts over Antarctica in the springtime have
decreased by as much as 70 %. Satellite measurements have indicated
that the zone from 65 degrees North to 65 degrees South latitude has
had a 3 % decrease in stratospheric ozone since 1978. Ozone is also
highly concentrated at the Earth's surface. Most of this ozone is
created as a by-product of photochemical smog.



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Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect Essays - Global Warming is due to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process that aids in heating the Earth's surface and atmosphere. It results from the fact that certain atmospheric gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane, are able to change the energy balance of the planet by being able to absorb longwave radiation from the Earth's surface. Without the greenhouse effect, life on this planet would probably not exist as the average temperature of the Earth would be a chilly -18 degrees Celsius, rather than the present 15 degrees Celsius....   [tags: Greenhouse Effect Climate Change] 1492 words
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