Climate Change Natural Occurrence

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Climate Change: Natural Occurrence � PAGE �1�


Climate Change: Natural Occurrence

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Climate Change: Natural Occurrence

Global warming is easiest described as "human-induced climate change" (Lutz, 2005, 3). It occurs because of a build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Many factors contribute to the abundance of these gases. Global warming is expected to increase the average temperature of the Earth's surface, raise sea levels, and change precipitation patterns (Lutz, 2005, 3). There are many potential impacts of these changes. The Earth could see an increase in extreme weather and will have impacts on humans, animals, and ecosystems (Yamin, 110-13). There is a lot of uncertainty as to how much and how fast the climate will change (Lutz, 2005, 3). There is also debate about how serious the consequences will be (Lutz, 2005, 5). Since all of the nations in the world contribute equally to the emissions of greenhouse gases (Lutz, 2005, 15), the solution will have to come on a global basis (Godrej, 2001, 4)

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is rather simple to understand.

Take the name, greenhouse effect. Think of the Earth as one big greenhouse. The glass walls of a greenhouse let light in, but trap heat inside. The atmosphere constitutes the glass walls (Lutz, 2005, 3). This is a natural occurrence. There are gases in the atmosphere that let in light from the sun, but absorb the outgoing heat from the Earth's surface and emit that heat in all directions (Lutz, 2005, 3).

The largest factor in the release of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere is agricultural nitrogen-fertilizer (Lutz, 2005, 8). Other factors include industrial processes and livestock feed lots (Lutz, 2005, 8). The most important halocarbon to contribute to...