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The Transparent House Protectors: GREENHOUSE GASES by City Tech Blogger Mahoutin Godonou

ABOUT GREENHOUSE GASES

In the beginning, everything was fairly in equilibrium for humans to live on earth, but in the times, humans began to heat up his own house. Today, climate is changing, the temperature is globally increasing, the sea level is rising, and the ice is melting at the north and the south poles remarkably. One reason for this, is the greenhouse gas effect. What is greenhouse gas effect? According to Encyclopedia Dictionary, the greenhouse gas effect is a warming of earth’s surface and troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) caused by the presence of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and certain other gases in the air. This article will focus on the level of impact each gas has on greenhouse gases and how they can lead to climate change through the use of human activity.

THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE

The atmosphere is the upper layer of the earth from ground that is composed by five different sub-layers. They are troposphere, stratosphere, ozone, mesosphere, and exosphere. The troposphere is up to about 11.5 miles from the surface to the sky. It is where most of the gases take place; carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other gases are caused by human activities. The second layer, stratosphere is up to about 31 miles from troposphere to the sky. It contains about 20 % of earth’s gas. The ozone, the protector, is part of the layer that saves us from high temperature of solar radiation above the stratosphere where the heat is generated. The mesosphere, a third and cooler layer at about -130°F, stands up about 58 miles from the second. The thermosphere is hot about 5000°F and higher about 300 miles from its position to the sky. It consumes lots of solar radiation. The last layer, exosphere, varies in temperature from hotter (the noon or day) to cooler (the night); it contained in general the Nitrogen (N2) that represents 78% of total gas in the atmosphere, 21% of Oxygen (O2), and 0.9 % of argon, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Neon (Ne), Helium (He), Methane (CH4), and Krypton (Kr).

HOW THE TERM “GREENHOUSE” DEVELOPED

In fact, the scientific and famous name “greenhouse” given to the portion of the atmosphere between earth’s surface and the stratosphere, is for the troposphere where we all live. Why this name? The troposphere is like an epicarp to mesocarp of apple, the green or red skin like what surrounds the mesocarp(chair) of an apple. Troposphere is transparent like a glass and contains gases that protect us from any outrage of sun radiation that can take place in the sky. Most of the cloud and weather systems in the sky occurred in troposphere. “The natural greenhouse effect has long maintained at 59°C (15°F), which is sufficient to maintain Earth’s reservoirs of life-sustaining liquid water”  (Greenhouse Gases).  Above all, CO2 and water vapor are the most important. They consume most of the sun’s radiation, the cold air, and the gases caused by human activities. “Water vapor and CO2 are the most important greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere in sense that they trap more energy than others. Methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, and related compounds (used mostly as refrigerants) also play a significant role” (Greenhouse Gases). Without the greenhouse gases, “the earth would have an average of surface temperature of about 0°F (-18°C), which is too cold to sustain most life” (Greenhouses Gases). How do these gases affect the surface of the earth?

THE LARGEST EFFECT OF GREENHOUSES GASES

Water vapor is the only one gas which plays critical rules in the greenhouse. In effect, water vapor is the earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. It is everywhere in atmosphere, and it plays key rules in the troposphere. It consumes more heat that CO2. As the atmosphere or troposphere warms, water vapor is absorbed in great amount to adjust the temperature in a way that we can survive. Water vapor can maintain the warm air of oxygen dioxide and methane released in the environment except human activities. Water vapor is like a “fire fighter” in the greenhouse. It responds diligently to the change of weather including temperature, the pressure of condensation, precipitation, and evaporation. By consequent, “water vapor and clouds are highly variable. They provide 75% of earth’s greenhouse effect. …Without the radiative forcing provide by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, especially CO2, earth’s global climate could cool into an icing state” ( Patrick 1).

CARBON DIOXIDE’S ROLE IN GREENHOUSE GASES

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the greenhouse gases. It can trap an emission of gases as well, but not as abundant as water vapor. Human activities are responsible for almost 60% carbon dioxide in the greenhouse. The total of 1,659 million ton of trees and 325 tons of fossil fuel were exploited world wide in 1980, “There [are] significant emission rates of CO2 and H2O during the sugarcane cycle in Tucuman” (Acreche, et al. 1). Knowing that, CO2 is not a good gas compared to water vapor for human life. The carbon dioxide is removed for the air by water vapor and plants during the photosynthesis to construct their tissue. When plants die, much of the plant organs release carbon dioxide that go back into air. In the 1800s, carbon dioxide increased by 40% and 70% in 1958. “CO2 concentration at 400 ppm is the highest value in the past 800,000 years, according to analysis of air bubbles in Antarctic ice” ( Patrick ).

METHANE EXCEEDS CARBON DIOXIDE

Methane (CH4) is the third critical greenhouse gas “heat trapper is 21 time greater than that of carbon dioxide… The methane concentration in the year 1750 was about 700 part per billion (ppb), it has risen to more than 18,015 ppb in 2014” ( Patrick 1). Methane is composed by some substance of carbon dioxide and four hydrogen atoms. It is everywhere in the atmosphere well present in the greenhouse.

https://www.edf.org/climate/methane-other-important-greenhouse-gas

THE EARTH’S SURVIVAL THROUGH GREENHOUSE GASES

Greenhouse gases are still playing their key rule as today. They control the weather, maintain the equilibrium of our environment and allow clouds to provide precipitation time by time. The radiation of sun light is called short wave; when sent to the surface, it is absorbed by a soil as well as trees. During an evaporation, the reminder of the sun’s energy is sent back by reflection through the greenhouse and so does the precipitation when the rain falls. Today’s human activities including industrialization, technology, deforestation, and urbanism with waste are producing gas emission that miserably increases the amount of long wave (sun energy evaporated from the ground) that are sent back to the atmosphere.

Finally, as a bottle cannot contain more than its capacity, these greenhouse gases sent the usual amount that they are accustomed to the sky and return the rest back where they come from (surface, ground, where we are living). It follows that the radiation of the sun is not responsible of our issues on the earth; we are our own destroyer.

All in all, greenhouse gases are mercifully protecting us and playing an important role in our lives. Without these gases, it will be impossible to live on earth. Humans should control their activities and bring the environment to its old stage by promoting deforestation, encourage the technology in the manor that will decrease emission of gases including the renewable energy, bioenergy, and others.

 

 

REFERENCES

“Greenhouse Gases.” Gale Global issues Online collection, Gale, 2018. Gale In Context: Global Issues,Https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CP3208520164/GIC?u=cuny_nytc&sid=812c615e.Accessed 16 Nov. 2019

Abbott, Patrick L.
Natural disasters / Patrick L. Abbott, San Diego State University. – Tenth edition. pages cm
ISBN 978-0-07-802298-2 (alk. paper) 1. Natural disasters. I. Title. GB5014.A24 2017 904′.5–dc23

  1. Acreche, R. Portocarrero, A.H. Valeiro And A. Felipe

“Greenhouse gas emissions from green-harvested sugarcane with and without post-harvest burning in tucuman, Argentina.” Pakistan Sugar Journal, 30 Sept. 2013. Gale OneFile: Gardening and Horticulture, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A358232670/PPGL?u=cuny_nytc&sid=PPGL&xid=362e9d4d. Accessed 16 Nov. 2019.

Flavin, Christopher. “Slowing global warming.” American Forests, May-June 1990, p.   37+. Gale OneFile: Gardening and Horticulture, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A8985013/PPGL?u=cuny_nytc&sid=PPGL&xid=8478d6ac. Accessed 16 Nov. 2019.

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