: The 200-Year Story of Global Warming by Gale E.
Greenhouse is the illuminating
history behind a scientific idea that fills today's headlines.
Christianson, author of Edwin
Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae,
blends the research of a scholar with a novelist's storytelling
skill. As the full range of its elements come into focus, global
warming becomes both a memorable human drama and an integral
part of our planet's history. An essential book for anyone
interested in the history of science and the very nature of
scientific inquiry and speculation.
here to learn more about this book
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From The National Association of Forest Industries.
The earth is surrounded by gases that act like a blanket to keep it warm. We call these
greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide (CO2) is among them (Booth 1989). Scientists call this warming the greenhouse effect. It is
a natural feature of planet earth and helps provide the environment for living things,
including people. Without greenhouse gases the earth would be too cold for life...
From the Center for Earth
Observing and Space Research.
The greenhouse effect results from "the dirty of the atmospheric infrared
window" by some atmospheric trace gases, permitting incoming solar radiation to reach
the surface of the Earth unhindered but restricting the outward flow of infrared radiation.
These atmospheric trace gases are referred as greenhouse gases. They absorb and reradiate
this outgoing radiation, effectively storing some of the heat in the atmosphere, thus
producing a net warming of the surface. The process is called the greenhouse effect.
From the World of Chemistry.
Carbon Dioxide is one of the products of respiration. It is also a necessary reactant
in the photosynthesis of plant tissue. As long as respiration and photosynthesis remain
balanced (carbon cycle) then no problem arises. Unfortunately, with increased
industrialization and the rapid destruction of the world's forests, the levels of Carbon
Dioxide are slowly rising.
There are two theories that explain what will happen if the Carbon Dioxide continues to
By Joyce Barkley.
The greenhouse effect is caused by an increase of carbon dioxide, methane, and other
gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the air. These gases trap the sun's heat
close to the earth. Carbon dioxide and other gases come from the fossil fuels we burn.
Methane comes from rice fields, decaying plants and rotting waste in landfills. CFCs are
chemicals that were used in spray cans. They are still used as coolants in refrigerators
and air conditioners...
From the Environmental
Studies Program at the University of Oregon.
The world is finally becoming globally
aware that exponential resource usage in combination with finite reserves is a recipe that
ensures our great grandchildren won't be born.
These pages are meant as pointers to other resources that bring this problem to
From the Australian
Academy of Science.
From the Office
of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
The greenhouse effect is an increase in the average temperature of the Earth. It
happens because certain gases absorb infrared heat that would normally be radiated into
space. Infrared light is what you feel as heat from heat lamps used in restaurants
to keep French fries hot. It also causes the heat you feel from ordinary light
bulbs. Since carbon dioxide absorbs this heat, the more carbon dioxide there is in
the atmosphere, the warmer the air will be. If the air gets too hot, the balance of
life will be disrupted. Species of plants and animals will die. The food chain
could be upset. This would cause many serious problems worldwide.
From the NASA website.
Earth's atmosphere acts like a greenhouse, warming our planet in much the same way that
an ordinary greenhouse warms the air inside its glass walls. Like glass, the gases in the
atmosphere let in light yet prevent heat from escaping. This natural warming of the planet
is called the greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse gases-carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and others-are transparent to
certain wavelengths of the Sun's radiant energy, allowing them to penetrate deep into the
atmosphere or all the way to Earth's surface. Clouds, ice caps, and particles in the air
reflect about 30 percent of this radiation, but oceans and land masses absorb the rest,
then release it back toward space as infrared radiation. The greenhouse gases and clouds
effectively prevent some of the infrared radiation from escaping; they trap the heat near
Earth's surface where it warms the lower atmosphere. If this natural barrier of
atmospheric gases were not present, the heat would escape into space, and Earth's mean
global temperatures could be as much as 33 degrees Celsius cooler [about -18 degrees
Celsius as opposed to 15 degrees Celsius].
Over the centuries, the concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide,
has fluctuated naturally, and the greenhouse effect has moderated the temperature of Earth
accordingly. Now, our efforts to provide for Earth's growing population are releasing
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at rates greater than any other phenomena. As we burn
fossil fuels, clear forests, and continue to use gasoline-dependent transportation, we
increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As a result, we continue to harm
From the World of Chemistry.
The CO2 increase in the atmosphere will result in more radiation
remaining on the
increase in Infrared energy will have a warming effect on the earth's surface over a
time. This is gradual to be sure, but it really does not take a real large increase in the
temperature of the earth to cause the ice caps to begin melting at a faster rate. This
will do at
least four things:
1.It could increase significantly the sea levels on the coastal regions thereby flooding
coastal regions and changing the land mass area significantly. This would affect many
world centers negatively.
2.It could decrease the ice caps thereby reducing the ability of the ice caps to reflect
radiation out into space.
3.It could increase the water surface area and the amount of liquid water which will
more energy causing a counteractive "cooling" trend (i.e. ice age phenomenon)
4.It could alter the weather patterns thus changing the weather zones. The tropic zone
move north. The temperature zone will move further toward the poles. This could result in a further
reduction in the polar ice caps.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Model simulation and palaeoclimatic evidence suggest that when climate warms, it warms
more in higher latitudes than in lower latitudes and more in winter than in summer
(Golitsvn, 1989; Schneider, 1989). A warmer atmosphere contains more water vapor
increases the intensity of the whole hydrological cycle, but precipitation patterns are
likely to change homogeneously in time and space (Golitsyn, 1989). Some scientists believe
that in a warmer climate the earth can be expected to experience more variable weather
than now, with a likelihood of more floods and drought, more intense hurricanes or
typhoons, and more heat waves (Golitsyn, 1989; Hansen et al., 1989)...
By James G. Titus U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Vijay K. Narayanan Rockville, Maryland U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The Earth's average surface temperature has risen approximately 0.6oC (1oF) in
the last one hundred years, and the nine warmest years have all occurred since
1980.Many climatologists believe that increasing atmospheric concentrations of
carbon dioxide and other gases released by human activities are warming the Earth
by a mechanism commonly known as the "greenhouse effect."
Nevertheless, this warming effect appears to be partly offset by the cooling effect
of sulfate aerosols, which reflect sunlight back into space...