July 15, 2008

Global warming

Global warming as most of us know is becoming a serious threat for the whole world. For those who don’t know what global warming is, here is just a brief explanation about it. But before going deep into what global warming is, you just have to know what green house effect is.

Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases.” These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere. Over time, the amount of energy sent from the sun to the Earth’s surface should be about the same as the amount of energy radiated back into space, leaving the temperature of the Earth’s surface roughly constant. Many gases exhibit these “greenhouse” properties. Some of them occur in nature (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide), while others are exclusively human-made (like gases used for aerosols).This heating up of the earth’s atmosphere is essential to make the earth warm and livable. But the problem is this thin layer of green house gases is being thickened by global warming pollutants. This thickening of green house gas layer causes more outgoing infrared radiations to be trapped thereby increasing the average temperature of the earth. This is called Global Warming.

Oceans and seas are not exceptions from global warming. Ocean’s temperature also does get increased. Why am I emphasizing on ocean’s increase in temperature is, most of us don’t know the fact that warmer oceans causes more and stronger storms (this is the main reason for many hurricanes which recently hit United states of America such as Hurricane Katrina, Jeanne, Ivan, Frances, etc.) these are not only restricted to America but even Japan, Caribbean and Brazil are also victims of some hurricanes caused due to global warming.

A simple relation for global warming is, when there is more carbon di oxide in atmosphere, the earth’s temperature gets warmer because it traps more infrared radiations

Global warming increases evaporation from water bodies and sucks the water from bare land dramatically with increase in atmospheric temperature. Lake Chad in Africa, one of the largest lakes in the world few decades back has now almost dried to nothing. One of the main reasons for this is Global warming.

Another shocking fact is that the arctic ice caps are melting drastically due to global warming. Nearly 40% of the thickness for arctic ice caps has melted in the last four decades and major studies show that in another 60 to 70 years the arctic ice will melt completely in summer. You may now ask two questions 1. How does such a huge ice melt so quickly within 60 to 70 years.?? 2. Why should we bother about arctic ices?? Here it is for the first question. The ocean currents and the wind currents help in distributing the heat from equator to the arctic ice cap thereby keeping the earth’s temperature warm. Ice caps normally reflect 90% of the sun’s radiation and absorb only 10% of the heat. Whereas water absorbs 90% of sun’s radiation and reflects only 10% of heat. So as the surrounding water gets warmer it speeds up the melting of ice. If this happens, the giant mirror gets completely vanished which then will not be there to keep the earth warmer.

Green land ice is also melting fast and nearly half of Greenland is expected to melt soon if this situation prevails further. If green land broke up and melted or half of Greenland and half of arctic ice cap break and melt then the average sea level gets increased which can cause drowning of most parts of many countries in world. Some countries which are expected to be affected are San Francisco, Florida, Netherlands, Beijing, Shanghai, East Bangladesh and West Bengal. There will not be any surprise if this happens in the next 50 year period.

Carbon emission per person in different countries vary. United States of America tops the list with 5.6 tons of carbon emission per person per year followed by Russia, Europe and Japan with 2.72, 2.4 and 2.4 respectively. India is at 6th position with 0.25 tons of carbon emission/person/year.

Carbon emission per country is also measured which says U.S tops the list with 5.47 Billion metric tons of carbon emission/ year followed by Europe, China and Russia with 3.25, 2.89 and 1.42 Billion metric tons. India stands 6th here too with 0.91 billion metric tons.

Its time to wake up. After analysing all the facts its still not fair to keep us from taking any preventive measures. For this purpose only Kyoto protocol has been introduced.

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the international Framework Convention on Climate Change with the objective of reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

It was adopted on 11 December 1997 by the 3rd Conference of the Parties, which was meeting in Kyoto, and it entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of June 2008, 182 parties have ratified the protocol. Of these, 36 developed cg are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty with three more countries intending to participate. One hundred and thirty-seven (137) developing countries have ratified the protocol, including Brazil, China and India, but have no obligation beyond monitoring and reporting emissions. The United States has not ratified the treaty yet.

It’s high time to take some actions to reduce the carbon emission and fight for our earth against global warming.

Some suggestions to prevent global warming:

Reduce your carbon emission

Buy energy efficient appliances

If u can buy a hybrid car.. When you can walk or ride a bicycle.. Where u can use light rail and mass transit

Tell your parents not to ruin the world that you will live in

If you are a parent, join with your children to save the world they live in.

Switch to renewable sources of energy

Call your power company to see if they offer green energy, if they don’t ask them why not.

Vote for leaders who pledge to solve this crisis.

Plant trees…. Lots of trees.

Speak up in your community

Cal radio shows and write newspapers.


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