Have you ever noticed that our environment is changing; glaciers are melting, sea level is increasing, rivers are drying, the average temperature of the earth is increasing, the weather cycle is changing, deforestation, etc. And have you ever thought what the reason behind it is; the reason is human greediness and the human race. The race where everyone wants to win, everyone wants to stay on top at any cost and the result is the imbalance of the environment.
Over the past few years, human have progressed unexpected but behind this progress, they left so many things and even they are not even bothered about our environment who gave everything to us and the result is Global Warming. Let’s understand about Global Warming.
What is Global Warming?
In simple words, the globe is warming up or heating up is Global Warming. It includes land and oceans which is warming every day. Average surface temperatures raised a total of 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95 degrees Celsius) between 1880 and 2016. The pace of change has been an additional 0.13 degrees F (0.07 degrees C) per decade, with the land surface warming faster than the ocean surface — 0.18 degrees F (0.10 degrees C) versus 0.11 degrees F (0.06 degrees C) per decade, respectively.
The main driver of Global Warming is the combustion of fossil fuels. By putting too much Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere when coal, oil, and natural gas are burned to generate electricity or to run our vehicles is the main cause of Global Warming. Carbon dioxide spreads around the planet like a blanket and is one of the main gases responsible for the absorption of infrared radiation (felt as heat), which comprises the bulk of solar energy. Over the past 300 years, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased by about 30%.
Greenhouse gases are produced as part of the natural system and these are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gases act much like the glass roof of a greenhouse, letting sunlight through, but keeping heat locked in. Humans also invented new molecules that are greenhouse gases, for example, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and some CFC-substitutes that are used as coolants and solvents. Increased amounts of all types of man-made greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere “enhance” the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect, then, is a warming of the Earth’s surface.
Before the industrial revolution, CO2 presence in the atmosphere amounted to about 280 parts per million (ppm). Today, it is about 412 ppm. (This number means there are 400 molecules of carbon dioxide in the air per every million air molecules.) In 2015, CO2 accounted for about 82% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to an EPA inventory. Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas, but it is much more efficient at trapping heat.
Relation between Global Warming and Ozone Layer Depletion:
Before we understand the relation between Global Warming and Ozone Layer, we should understand about the Ozone layer first.
What is the Ozone Layer and how Does it work?
An ozone molecule (O3) is composed of three atoms of oxygen. Ozone is sitting in the stratosphere about 9 to 18 miles (15 to 30 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. The sun emits electromagnetic radiation at different wavelengths, meaning energy at different intensities. The atmosphere acts like a multi-layer shield that protects Earth from dangerous solar radiation. Before the sun rays reach to the earth, the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, particularly harmful UVB-type rays. UV rays cannot be seen or felt, but they are very powerful and change the chemical structure of molecules. Exposure to UVB radiation is linked with increased risk of skin cancer and cataracts, as well as damage to plants and marine ecosystems.
Depletion of the Ozone Layer:
Depletion of the Ozone refers to the Ozone hole; hole on the protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) over Earth’s Polar Regions. Ozone in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere) is referred to as the “ozone layer” and protects life on Earth by absorbing most of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun. Accordingly, stratospheric ozone is known as “good ozone.” In contrast, the human industry creates “ozone pollution” at the ground level. This “bad ozone” is a principal component of smog. The ozone layer is reduced when man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons molecules (comprised of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon) reach the stratosphere and are broken apart by short-wave energy from the sun. Free chlorine atoms then break apart molecules of ozone, creating a hole in the ozone layer.
The ozone hole is basically a man-made hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole. The hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic in 1998 was “the largest observed since annual holes first appeared in the late 1970s.” Exposure to too much UV radiation is linked to skin cancer, cataracts, and depression of the immune system, and may reduce the productivity of certain crops.
Are the ozone hole and global warming have a relation?
The ozone hole did not cause global warming and are not the same thing. The ozone layer normally blocks ultraviolet (UV) rays from sun and that ozone hole allows more UV light than usual to reach the surface. The ozone hole is an area in the stratosphere above Antarctica and that area has been affecting climate in the Southern Hemisphere. The ozone hole is too small that it could be responsible for the global warming.
Global warming is the rise in average global surface temperature caused primarily by the build-up of human-produced greenhouses gases, mostly carbon dioxide and methane. Scientists are now convinced that human industrial activity has caused an enhanced greenhouse effect, leading to an increase in global warming.
The main cause of global warming is rising of man-made greenhouse gases. If it will continue, Greenland and Antarctica will melt too and the result, sea level will increase. By 2050, sea levels are predicted to rise between one and 2.3 feet as glaciers melt then the climate can change in unexpected ways. In addition to sea levels rising, weather can become more extreme. This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts—a challenge for growing crops—changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.
We need to think about it. What we are doing and what we will leave behind us for our new generations. This is not a personal issue; it is our issue, it is a global and biggest issue. Let’s think and come forward to stop Global Warming.