Info

Free Power Secrets

Making Your Own Fuel

Get Instant Access

'5 '80 '85 '90 '95 '00 Year

Figure 13 The moment you step inside a greenhouse, you feel the results of the greenhouse effect. Heat trapped by the glass walls warms the air inside. In a similar way, atmospheric greenhouse gases trap heat close to Earth's surface.

Greenhouse Effect

Sunlight travels through the atmosphere to Earth's surface. Some of this sunlight normally is reflected back into space. The rest is trapped by certain atmospheric gases, as shown in Figure 13. This heat-trapping feature of the atmosphere is the greenhouse effect. Without it, temperatures on Earth probably would be too cold to support life.

Atmospheric gases that trap heat are called greenhouse gases. One of the most important greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a normal part of the atmosphere. It is also a waste product that forms when fossil fuels are burned. Over the past century, more fossil fuels have been burned than ever before, which is increasing the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere. The atmosphere might be trapping more of the Sun's heat, making Earth warmer. A rise in Earth's average temperature, possibly caused by an increase in greenhouse gases, is known as global warming.

Global Warming Temperature data collected from 1895 through 1995 indicate that Earth's average temperature increased about 1°C during that 100-year period. No one is certain whether this rise was caused by human activities or is a natural part of Earth's weather cycle. What kinds of changes might be caused by global warming? Changing rainfall patterns could alter ecosystems and affect the kinds of crops that can be grown in different parts of the world. The number of storms and hurricanes might increase. The polar ice caps might begin to melt, raising sea levels and flooding coastal areas. Warmer weather might allow tropical diseases, such as malaria, to become more widespread. Many people feel that the possibility of global warming is a good reason to reduce fossil fuel use.

What Happen When Ozone Layer Increse

Mesosphere

Ozone layer Stratosphere

Ozone AbsorbsStratosphere Ozone Layer

Figure 14 The atmosphere's ozone layer absorbs large amounts of UV radiation, preventing it from reaching Earth's surface. Ozone molecules are made of three oxygen atoms. They are formed in a chemical reaction between sunlight and oxygen. The oxygen you breathe has two oxygen atoms in each molecule.

Infer what will happen if the ozone layer continues to thin.

Ozone Depletion

About 20 km above Earth's surface is a portion of the atmosphere known as the ozone (OH zohn) layer. Ozone is a form of oxygen, as shown in Figure 14. The ozone layer absorbs some of the Sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation can damage living cells.

Every year, the ozone layer temporarily becomes thinner over each polar region during its spring season. The thinning of the ozone layer is called ozone depletion. This problem is caused by certain pollutant gases, especially chlorofluorocar-bons (klor oh FLOR oh kar bunz) (CFCs). CFCs are used in the cooling systems of refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners. When CFCs leak into the air, they slowly rise into the atmosphere until they arrive at the ozone layer. CFCs react chemically with ozone, breaking apart the ozone molecules.

UV Radiation Because of ozone depletion, the amount of UV radiation that reaches Earth's surface could be increasing. UV radiation could be causing a rise in the number of skin cancer cases in humans. It also might be harming other organisms. The ozone layer is so important to the survival of life on Earth that world governments and industries have agreed to stop making and using CFCs.

Ozone that is high in the upper atmosphere protects life on Earth. Near Earth's surface though, it can be harmful. Ozone is produced when fossil fuels are burned. This ozone stays in the lower atmosphere, where it pollutes the air. Ozone damages the lungs and other sensitive tissues of animals and plants. For example, it can cause the needles of a Ponderosa pine to drop, harming growth.

r^L jttt |-i~rwj -rra ^ What is the difference between ozone in the upper IJLMiisiiiiliilSliaiiM atmosphere and ozone in the lower atmosphere?

Figure 14 The atmosphere's ozone layer absorbs large amounts of UV radiation, preventing it from reaching Earth's surface. Ozone molecules are made of three oxygen atoms. They are formed in a chemical reaction between sunlight and oxygen. The oxygen you breathe has two oxygen atoms in each molecule.

Infer what will happen if the ozone layer continues to thin.

SECTION 2 Pollution E ♦ 105

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment