Global Warming Process

In a nutshell, the global warming process uses the Earth's atmosphere as a blanket to hold energy from the sun to heat the air. Currently, the global warming process keeps the Earth's atmosphere at an average 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Process Of Global Warming

Global warning is a process that occurs naturally in our atmosphere. It is generally understood that the greenhouse effect refers to warming beyond what would naturally occur. In a greenhouse, sunlight enters through glass walls and ceilings. This light is absorbed by objects in the greenhouse and reflected back as heat energy. The glass of the greenhouse traps the heat energy inside, keeping the greenhouse warmer than the outside air. Here's how the greenhouse effect increases global warming:

  • Greenhouse gasses. In the earth's atmosphere, several gasses collect that allow light to pass through, but trap heat in the air. These gasses (called greenhouse gasses) include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and other trace gasses. There are many sources of these greenhouse gasses including natural and manmade sources.
  • Natural sources. Natural sources of greenhouse gas emissions include volcanic out-gassing, oceanic evaporation and animal biological processes. These sources tend to remain constant, although major volcanic events are evident in the geological record.
  • Manmade sources. Manmade sources of green house gasses include industrial and agricultural processes. Industrially, the burning of fossil fuels is the greatest contributor of greenhouse emissions. On the agricultural side, clearing of forests increases the carbon output of soil and the raising of livestock produces and abundance of methane.
  • Here comes the sun. As the Earth circles the sun, it is constantly exposed to light from the sun. Most of this light passes through the Earth's atmosphere to strike the continents and oceans. During the day, land and sea absorb sunlight, converting it to infrared, or heat energy.
  • An extra blanket. At night, the land and water radiate their stored heat energy into the atmosphere where, under normal conditions, much of it would continue off into space. With increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, however, an increasing amount of heat is reflected back into the atmosphere. This reflected heat leads to an overall increase in average atmospheric temperature. Some scientists estimate the Earth's average temperature has risen 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century.
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