Global Warming is a cause for a huge amount of heartburn in the scientific and environmental community in recent times. But do you know what exactly is global warming?
Let us understand some part of it-
Greenhouses are plant shelters made from glass to protect and nurture plants in cold countries.
The glass walls are permeable to thermal radiations of short wavelength coming from the sun towards the greenhouse. These radiations are absorbed by the plants, making it warm during the day. After sunset, the surface of plants and other warm objects emit radiations of long wavelength, to which the glass is opaque. Thus, these radiations cannot escape the greenhouse. They are reflected back by the walls, and the warmth inside the greenhouse is retained during night time.
Just like the glass of the greenhouse, the atmosphere of earth acts as a warmth-absorber and retainer too.
The atmosphere allows the short wavelength radiations from sun to enter earth, warming its surface. When the surface tries to emit radiations of long wavelength back into space, atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide, CFCs, sulphur dioxide etc. stop the majority of them from escaping. Hence, heat is retained in the earth’s atmosphere. Since the earth’s atmosphere mimics the behavior of a greenhouse, this phenomenon is known as the ‘Greenhouse Effect’
‘The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon in which infrared radiations of long wavelength given out from the surface of the earth are absorbed by its atmospheric gases to keep the environment warm at the earth’s surface and its lower atmosphere.’
This effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824. It is essential in keeping the earth’s climate comfortable.
The atmospheric gases responsible for the greenhouse effect are called the greenhouse gases. For E.g. Methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, CFCs etc.
The greenhouse gases are essential for greenhouse effect but only in small quantities. A high percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can cause climate abnormalities and change the ecological systems. More greenhouse gases will trap more heat radiations.
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been increasing through the years and is predicted to increase in the coming years. This increase is causing a simultaneous increase in the amount of thermal radiations that are trapped by the atmosphere. It is resulting in an increase in the earth’s surface temperature.
Global Warming means an increase in the average effective temperature of the earth’s surface due to an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.
Global Warming has a major adverse effect on all natural phenomena like the climate, blooming season of plants, ecology and migration of animals. The increase in temperature has caused the amount of heat strokes to increase.
Scientists predict that by the end of 2100, the average temperature on earth will become 64 degree Celsius.
Looking at the changes in some natural phenomena due to global warming, they have made the following predictions:
- At the present rate of increase of greenhouse effect, it is expected that animals from equatorial regions will shift to higher latitudes in search of ice and colder regions.
- Ocean temperatures will rise, causing many species to die or migrate to other regions.
- There will be an increase in the number of heat strokes throughout the world.
- Due to global warming, the glaciers in the tundra region will melt causing oceans to flood.
- The cost involved in air conditioning spaces will increase.
- The fluctuating climate will cause diseases and injuries from droughts, floods and storms.
- Diseases and deaths will increase because of mosquito infestation, because mosquitoes thrive better in a hot and humid climate.
Global Warming is a phenomenon that needs to be controlled immediately otherwise the generations after us will have to bear its brunt.