Global Warming And Environmental Impacts: The Causes Of Climate Change

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Climate change is a global-scale atmospheric externality. It is an issue that must be understood and addressed globally. Environmental trends based on scientific and observed studies have shown an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, an increase of the Earth’s surface and ocean temperature causing a decline in sea ice, and more prevalent extreme weather patterns- all due to human influence. However, trying to understand each of these trends separately will not fully explain the causes of climate change- in its entirety. These trends must be incorporated together into complex computerized models that can be used to define these occurrences as a whole picture, predict future trends, and hopefully return the greenhouse effect to its …show more content…
These gases- carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide- have been increasing exponentially since the industrial revolution, in which carbon dioxide has increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, mainly due to the combustion of fossil fuels. Ocean acidification has been one of the environmental impacts of anthropogenic carbonic dioxide emission by the absorption of about 30% of the emitted carbon dioxide (IPCC, 2013). “Concentrations of CO2, CH4, and N2O now substantially exceed the highest concentration recorded in ice cores during the past 800,000 years”(IPCC, 2013). And yet, not all greenhouse gases have the same effect on the environment. Each greenhouse gas has a different potency depending on its ‘global warming potential’. For example, if carbon dioxide is used as the standard baseline, methane has a potency of 21 more times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Nitric oxide, which is commonly used in fertilizers, has a potency level 310 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the extent of the environmental impact each of these greenhouse gases has on the climate is determined not only by its global warming potential, but also by the abundance of that specific greenhouse gas (EPA,

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