Global Warming, A Matter of Concern

Posted by nshirodkar on August 31st, 2010

There is a lot of concern and awareness nowadays regarding the global warming, because the future of mankind is dependent on it.

Water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and ozone are components of Earth's climate that absorb and emit Sun's infrared radiations, due to which our climate is so warm; otherwise it would have been 33% colder than what it is now. These components are called the greenhouse gases. Increase in their atmospheric concentrations than what is required gives extra warmth thus causes global warming.

With the rise of the industrial revolution, the burning of fuels has been resulted into increased quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. Rise in the levels of other greenhouse gases too is taking place due to various reasons, due to which a substantial increase in the overall temperature of Earth is taking place, causing the greenhouse effect. It will be causing hazardous consequences to the environment as well as human health.

The atmospheric components like nitrogen N2, oxygen O2 and argon Ar, which contain two atoms of the same element or only one atom, are not greenhouse gases, whereas those substances having equal atoms of different elements like carbon monoxide CO, or hydrogen chloride HCl absorb infrared rays, but due to their high reactivity, they have short life, and hence cannot contribute much to the greenhouse effect.

The human activities which contribute to the increase in the greenhouse gases are:

  • Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation resulting into rise in carbon dioxide levels. Activities like deforestation contribute up to 33% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
  • Livestock enteric fermentation, and manure management, rice farming, waterland changes and land use are resulting into higher methane levels. An added contribution is done by the newer style fully vented septic systems that enhance and aim at the fermentation process.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or ferons in refrigeration systems and use of ferons and halons in the fire extinguishers and manufacturing processes.
  • Agricultural processes, which include the fertilizers, which lead to higher nitrous oxide levels.
The Kyoto Protocol aimed at fighting global warming and it came into effect in 2005. It is the protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is an international environment treaty aiming at "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." Under the protocol, 37 industrialized nations commit themselves to a decrease in the four greenhouse gases, namely, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and sulphur hexafluoride, and two groups of gases, namely hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons, given out by them.

Greenhouse gases can be decreased by various processes like condensation and precipitation of water vapor, a chemical reaction within the atmosphere, e.g. oxidation of methane with hydroxyl radical OH- to CO2 and water vapor, mixing of atmospheric gases in oceans, dissociation of halocarbons by UV light giving out Cl and F as free radicals in the stratosphere with effects on ozone. Halocarbons generally are so stable that they hardly disappear by chemical reaction in the atmosphere.


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Joined: August 11th, 2010
Articles Posted: 10

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