The greenhouse effect is the trapping of radiation in the lower atmosphere warming the temperature of the Earth or increasing its surface temperature. The natural greenhouse effect is essential for sustaining life on Earth. It maintains the surface temperature of the earth to an adoptable level necessary for sustaining life. However, when greenhouse gases are emitted due to human activities, it results in a larger greenhouse effect, consequently causing a rise in the earth’s surface temperature.
Long and Short Essay on the Greenhouse Effect
Essay on Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming (250 words)
Global warming is the increase in temperature of Earth and its oceans. Greenhouse gases absorb and emit infrared radiation and trap the radiation in the atmosphere in the form of heat causing the greenhouse effect by warming the temperature of Earth.
Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
The primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are namely carbon dioxide (CO₂), water vapor (H₂O), methane (CH₄), Ozone (O₃), nitrous oxide (N₂O) that retain much of the heat. The average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere is 15⁰c (59⁰F), whereas the temperature without the greenhouse effect would have been – 18 degrees F.
The increased emission of greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels, agriculture, deforestation, and other human activities are the primary reasons for global warming over the past few decades. It is resulting in the melting of ice sheets and glaciers which causes a rise in sea levels. A warmer climate may probably lead to precipitation and evaporation. Global warming also results in changing weather patterns making some places dryer and other places wetter.
It may result in frequent natural disasters like drought, floods, and hurricanes. The climate change adversely affects nature and human life and we might see worse effects of it in the future if the emission of greenhouse gases continues to grow. The consequences of global warming will be disastrous for the coastal regions. The poles will start melting due to a rise in temperature causing a rise in sea levels due to which coastal cities might get submerged.
There is no country in the world that is not affected by the adverse effects of global warming. Reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases can prevent the adverse effects of global warming. Measures need to be taken by the government and non-governmental organizations to control the emission of toxic gases in the atmosphere. Greater use of renewable energy and forestation instead of deforestation should be promoted.
Essay on the Causes of Greenhouse Effect (400 words)
The warming of the temperature of Earth by the gases trapped in the atmosphere is known as the greenhouse effect. It is natural and is important to sustain life on Earth. Unfortunately, since the industrial revolution, there has been an excessive increase in the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It has increased manifolds due to human activities. This has contributed to climate change and global warming.
Major Causes of Greenhouse Effect
Here are some of the major causes of the Greenhouse effect:
- Some naturally present elements on Earth produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that can be found in oceans, methane that is produced by decaying of plants due to natural forest fires and nitrogen oxide that is present in soil and water in small amounts. Only fluorinated gases are produced by humans and are not present in nature.
- Water Vapour is also crucial in the greenhouse effect. Water vapor absorbs thermal energy, mostly when the humidity rises in the air. This raises the temperature in the atmosphere.
- Animals breathe oxygen from the atmosphere and release carbon dioxide and methane gases. It is also one of the natural causes of the greenhouse effect.
- Burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal is one of the greatest contributors to the greenhouse effect. Burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is the cause of the greenhouse effect. Further, the atmosphere is polluted by the release of methane gas from Earth when the gas, coal mines or oil wells are dug.
- Deforestation is another major cause of the greenhouse effect. Trees help in reducing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. By clearing away forests and trees the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise.
- Artificial nitrogen is used for the fertilization of crops, which is released as nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect.
- Industrial gas is released into the atmosphere at a very high rate across the world. Industrial gases include gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and fluorine gas.
- Farm animals such as goats, pigs, cows also contribute to greenhouse gases. Methane is produced in their stomachs when they digest their food and is released through their manure into the atmosphere. Clearing away the forest to expand farmland for raising farm animals further elevates the emission of greenhouse gases.
So, human activities are the major reason for the rise in the emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emission causes global warming which has several adverse effects on human life and our nature.
Essay on Greenhouse Effect on Climate (500 words)
Greenhouse gases prevent radiation from escaping into the outer space which results in a gradual warming of the temperature of the Earth’s surface that causes global warming. The equilibrium of the radiation earth receives and the radiation that is reflected back to space makes the Earth habitable for humans, with an average temperature of 15⁰C (59 degrees), as per NASA.
Without this balance, our planet would be either too cold or too hot. The exchange of the radiation of the sun that warms up the temperature of our planet is called the greenhouse effect as a greenhouse also works in a similar way.
Greenhouse Effects on the Climate
Climate is dramatically affected by greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The emission of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased significantly since Industrialization. Greenhouse gases are majorly produced by burning fossil fuels. The gases that add to the greenhouse effect are Carbon dioxide (CO₂), Water vapor (H₂O), Methane (CH₄), Ozone (O₃) and Nitrous Oxide (N₂O).
CO₂ contributes majorly to the greenhouse gases and has increased by 40 percent since industrialization. Natural processes can absorb gases in the atmosphere. For instance, the process of photosynthesis can absorb carbon dioxide, but the emission of the gases gradually began exceeding the capacity to absorb greenhouse gases through a natural process. This imbalance between the ability of natural processes to absorb gases and emission of greenhouse gases has increased the intensity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
We have burnt a large number of fossil fuels, cut down vast areas of forests, farmed livestock producing large amounts of methane and contaminated our atmosphere with toxic gases. Greenhouse gases that absorb the radiation are in excessive quantity in the atmosphere and can force climate change. Global warming is the biggest challenge we are witnessing presently.
Effects of Climate Change
- Forests play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere majorly responsible for global warming. Destroying trees further emit carbon dioxide adding to the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and causing global warming.
- Climate change affects the water systems and may result in floods and droughts more frequently. Water bodies are also contaminated around the world and the quality of water has degraded due to excessive pollution and the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Glaciers are melting that impacts the freshwater ecosystems. Increasing the acidification of oceans is a threat to oceanic wildlife.
- Climate change is a threat to several species. It is the cause of the extinction of various species. Species that live in the areas that are highly affected by climate change are unable to adapt to rapid change in the climate.
- An increase in the temperature of Earth may result in extremely dangerous climate change.
The damage already caused to the Earth’s atmosphere and climate is severe and cannot be reversed. We can either adapt to the climate change and live with the adverse consequences like floods and rising sea levels or mitigate the impact of global warming by implementing policies that reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Essay on Greenhouse Effect and Greenhouse Gases (600 words)
The greenhouse is made of glass and is designed to trap heat inside. Even on cold winter days, there is warmth inside the greenhouse. Like a greenhouse, the atmosphere on Earth also traps some energy that enters from the sun and blocks it from escaping back from the Earth. In the atmosphere of the Earth, there are molecules called greenhouse gases that trap the heat.
The greenhouse effect is important as absorbing the energy keeps the temperature of Earth warm and appropriate for living. The problem is that the greenhouse effect is warming up rapidly as excessive greenhouse gases are released in our atmosphere leading to climate change. Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere and also occur due to human activities.
Greenhouse Gases and their Effects
The most dominant gases present in our atmosphere are as follows:
- Carbon dioxide (CO₂): Of all the greenhouse gases the most prominent is Carbon dioxide. The chief sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere include manmade activities such as clearing of land, burning of fossil fuels and production of cement and natural sources such as volcanoes, respiration by oxygen-using organisms, combustion and decay of organic matter. The natural sinks that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere involve the process of photosynthesis which is very important. The marine life also absorbs the carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans. But deforestation and cutting of plants at a huge level without new tree plantation is harming the environment very badly.
- Water vapor (H₂O): Water vapor is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of our planet. The warmer the climate on Earth, the greater the evaporation of water from the Earth’s surface. The greater the evaporation, the greater the concentration of this powerful greenhouse gas.
- Methane (CH₄): Methane is present in a lesser concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere. Methane also resides in the atmosphere for a shorter duration compared to carbon dioxide. The sources of methane include volcanoes, wetlands, seepage vents, methane-oxidizing bacteria, livestock farming, burning of natural gases and coal, decomposition in landfills, biomass combustion and so on. The natural sink for this gas is soil and atmosphere.
- Nitrous oxides (N₂O) and fluorinated gases: Greenhouse gases produced due to industrial activities include fluorinated gases and nitrous oxide. The three main fluorinated gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCꜱ), sulfur hex fluorocarbons (SF₆) and perfluorocarbons (PFCꜱ). Fluorinated gases are manmade and not natural. These are created by human activities mostly due to Industrial processes. The sources of Nitrous oxides include bacteria in soil, livestock waste management and the use of fertilizers in agriculture.
- Surface Level Ozone (O₃): Surface Ozone is the most significant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It is caused due to air pollution and it has a very different role in balancing radiation on Earth. Ozone occurs in both, Earth’s upper and ground-level atmosphere. Ozone is a harmful air pollutant produced in the atmosphere when contaminants are released by vehicles, power plants, chemical plants, industrial boilers, refiners and other such sources chemically react in the presence of solar radiation.
Greater the emission of greenhouse gases, greater the concentrations in the atmosphere. Each gas remains in the atmosphere of the planet for different time period i.e. from a few years to thousands of years. Each gas impacts differently, some are more effective than others making Earth warmer. Several aspects of the environment are changing due to climate change i.e. warmer climate, rising sea levels, droughts and so on. It will impact Earth for centuries and we must be ready for the adverse effects of climate change in the future if we still overlook the extent of damage it has caused. Efforts should be made to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases and more use of renewable sources of energy should be encouraged.