What are these greenhouse gases that are released as a result of human activities? Let's find out.
You'd be surprised to know that if there weren't any greenhouse gases being released naturally in the earth's atmosphere, it planet would be too cold to inhabit. Without these gases, Earth's average temperature would be around -2°F as compared with 57°F that humans experience today. Fortunately for us, these gases provide us a natural blanket against heat.
So what are these greenhouse gases that are released as a result of human activities? Let's find out.
Types of Greenhouse Gases
There are six different types of greenhouse gases that are released by human activities in America. These gases are:
1. Carbon dioxide (CO2)
2. Nitrous oxide (N2O)
3. Methane (CH4)
4. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
5. Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
6. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
Gases 4 to 6 are industrial gases. In the last one and a half century there has been a slow and steady increase in amount of greenhouse gases released.
Scientific studies have shown that there are increased levels of many gases. In some cases there is an increase by almost 40% due to rampant industrialization. However, there has been a serious rise in human-induced emissions due to use of fossil fuels. This has led a significant increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The natural processes of the earth can absorb as much as 6.2 Billion metric tons of human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide each year. However, an additional 4.1 billion metric ton of emissions are released into the atmosphere annually.
Unfortunately, the imbalance between green house gas emissions and atmospheric absorption leads to an increase in concentration of these gases in the atmosphere...leading to global warming and a warmer planet. The average surface temperature of our planet increases over time and produces changes in storm severity, sea levels, and precipitation patterns. All this is commonly known as 'climate change.'
According to some studies carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are known to suggest that the temperature of the Earth has risen from around 1.1° to 1.6°F in the last 100 years due to human activity.
There is little doubt that greenhouse gases are required for our ecosystem. However, when the natural absorption processes are derailed due to accelerated human activities causing more release of gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Excess CO2 can even damage the ozone layer and promote skin cancer and other serious diseases. Of course, other harmful gases released due to consuming fossil fuels like oil, coal, etc, like methane and nitrous oxide can also cause serious complications. It is important to cut down on use of chemicals and fossil fuels and to switch to using renewable resources of energy like wind and hydro power.
The world over, fossil fuels contribute towards 85% of all the energy consumed. They are also responsible for almost 99% of CO2 emissions! Therefore, by cutting down on the consumption of fossil fuels, we'll be better able to save our planet from devastation and create a better future for our children and future generations.
Kelly Hunter owns and operates http://www.home-weather-station.org
and writes about Home Weather Stations