Essay 2 - Michael Knutson (11040656) Tillotson 22 September...

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Michael Knutson (11040656) Tillotson 22 September 2010 Environmental Science Section Essay 2 As far back as human records indicate, Earth’s climate has been changing over time. These fluctuations have been rather modest for the most part with periods of intense change every couple thousand years. Recently however, there has been an abrupt, and rapid increase in the warming of our atmosphere, at rates our planet has never seen before. In fact, of the twelve years between 1995 and 2006, eleven of them rank among the warmest recorded years since 1850 (IPCC Climate Change 2007, p. 8). The effects of global warming are just beginning to surface the media’s cesspool, though they’ve been in plain site for the last couple hundred years. Glaciers and ice sheets have been melting at alarming rates, causing increase sea levels, and endangerment to terrestrial biological systems that inhabit these environments. Most of the evidence as to why our earth has been warming at such alarming rates, points to human intervention, specifically, enhancements in the greenhouse effect. Since the age of the Industrial Revolution, humankind has been filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases play a large role in regulating the temperature of our atmosphere because they absorb infrared radiation and protect us from harmful ultra violet rays. It is suspected that without these sorts of gasses in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit (Beall at al. 2010, p. 9). However, when too much greenhouse gas is released into our atmospheric shield, excess gas is trapped. But what’s so bad about having excess amounts of green house gases in our atmosphere? When the sun’s visible rays reflect off the earth, they are reemitted in the form of infrared light. Usually, this infrared radiation is just transmitted off into space. Greenhouse gases act as a sort of sponge that absorbs and traps the infrared radiation and traps it in our atmosphere, leaving our earth at the mercy of it’s heating powers (Beall, 2010). Some common greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2012 for the course ESRP 101 taught by Professor Kathryntilotson during the Fall '10 term at Washington State University .

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Essay 2 - Michael Knutson (11040656) Tillotson 22 September...

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