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Research Papers on the Greenhouse Effect

Evidence is mounting that, on earth, the “greenhouse effect” is bringing about significant changes in the climate. In The Greenhouse Effect, Harold Bernard describes the dynamic as it works on earth. As a result of the burning of fossil fuels carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere. This gas is transparent to solar radiation, but opaque to thermal radiation. As a result it lets energy in from the sun, allowing it to heat the earth, but does not allow the heat generated to flow back into space.  This causes global warming with all the political-economic consequences that that implies. 

Today there is a growing conviction in the scientific community that the Greenhouse Effect is indeed happening (though the degree to which it is happening is something much argued over) and there is a growing concern that the results of this could have profound, even catastrophic, effects on ocean levels, agriculture, and many areas of economic concern to human beings. We tend to think of the greenhouse effect as an earthly phenomenon. However, one of our near neighbors in the solar system, Venus, has a pronounced greenhouse effect, and another neighbor, Mars, may have had a pronounced greenhouse effect in the past and still exhibits a very slight one today.

Topics on the greenhouse effect for an interesting and informative research paper include the following:

  • The greenhouse effect and other nation's view
  • The greenhouse effect and the planets
  • The greenhouse effect and emmerging technology

Greenhouse EffectMars was once much different from what it is today. The contemporary surface of the planet shows features that reveal that there was once much running water there. Close studies of images of Mars reveal not only gross geological features that suggest that there was once flowing water on the surface, but also the presence of minerals, iron oxides, that are associated with a water rich environment. One way in which this is explained is that volcanism released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere thus creating a greenhouse effect that raised the temperature and allowed water to flow freely. This, however, was at a very ancient period.  The peaks of fluvial activity on Mars was about 3.5 billion years ago. Some, such as Brandenburg and Paxson, have argued that this period may have been terminated by an asteroid impact, however less exotic theories postulate that the water may have evaporated into space or seeped underground, or was stored in the polar ice caps. The loss of vapor from the water would, of course, have thinned the atmosphere.

In 1979, the public started getting the first warnings about greenhouse gasses and the climate changes. However, during the years that Ronald Reagan was in office, it seemed as though no one was interested in addressing the issue. Then came the summer of 1988, when world records were made in regard to the weather at the time. Still, it was asserted that the threat of global warming was just a myth. If it did turn out to be real, surely it would simply benefit mankind and turn deserts into bloomed fields. These individuals, then, seemed to be saying not only were humans not to blame for this issue, but the climate change was not even an issue at all. Eventually, everything would work itself out.

Natural heat emissions in the Earth are related almost directly to the amount of methane levels that are in the Earth’s atmosphere. When methane levels from mudslides and landslides escape into the atmosphere in large quantities, the heat retention of the environment, thanks to the methane gasses, increases and the Earth is warmed as compared to when the methane levels are lower. This seems to lean more towards humans needing to adapt to the situation, since they do not seem interested in preventing the problem.  However, now many people see that we need to do something about this problem. “Can we do anything about it? Fortunately, yes”.  Many people are now looking for the steps they can take in order to combat emissions and other pollution levels.

“I’m afraid that we scientists will end up as historians – that people will look at our work and say ‘Oh, that’s why it happened’, rather than look at our work and say, ‘Oh, so this is what might happen if we don’t take action’”.  In this quote, it seems as though there is something that we can do in order to make sure that we stabilize the environment of the Earth prior to a natural disaster of epidemic proportions. Some still argue that we are quite a bit off when it comes to completely shutting down the world and creating a time period of weather destruction and devastation on a mass scale. While at one time this argument likely held some good ideas, it seems that now we would be overly optimistic to say that we could ‘prevent’ global warming.

On the other side of the debate, we learn that while sudden climate changes are usual and not something unprecedented, the threat of global warming presents  much bigger threat than just usual climate change and as humans we have to be prepared. The Earth may have attempted to re-adjust itself and the climate with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Taking place in the Philippines, during the early 1990’s, enough ash was distributed into the atmosphere to make sure that the Earth would have begun cooling for another few years.

Unfortunately, it seems, as though our involvement with greenhouse gasses and other heat collecting emissions, this was not to happen. It has been proven that humans are in fact the major contributors of these problems, and now we need to learn how to adapt to the climate problems. This specific and famed report was presented in early 2007 by the United Nations committee that was assigned to evaluate the situation. Since humans had made great strides in technological and industrial areas, and had refused to take note when the climate change began to be a concern, the blame did seem to rest on us. However, this technology may be the thing that will save us when it comes to adapting. If we are able to come up with energy supplies that are clean and environmentally friendly, as well as ways in which we can protect ourselves from natural disasters, such as building stronger levies in areas prone to hurricanes, we may be able to adapt and work around these natural disasters.

Not every region in the country is the same. There are a number of reasons that adapting properly can be difficult.  Most importantly, it would be much less difficult if we could review “projections of warming and precipitation chances that could be validated on a regional scale”. Detecting this type of information may be very difficult but it is still vital so that we can try different approaches.

It seems that the time to be proactive has since passed, considering all of the natural disasters that have already struck in various points around the world.  We no longer have the option of preventing the types of disasters that have struck in areas such as the south, where Hurricane Katrina wrecked havoc. The UN report on the matter has determined that hot temperatures and rising water levels will “’continue for centuries’ no longer how much humans control their pollution’”. 

Our habitual changes can only do so much.  While it is wonderful that hybrid cars exist and allow us to reserve more of our natural resources in that we do not need to fill our gas tanks up as often, this may not be enough to completely stop the problems that we have. For example, if we begin using more energy efficient power items now there is no guarantee that we will be able to prevent this disaster. This is a good idea in general for many beneficial reasons; however, research needs to be continued in order to prove that this is a method of lifestyle change that will help with the environment. 

Although global warming has been proposed as a problem for quite some time, there has been little rush from politicians, or even the science world, to take drastically action against the phenomenon. This is because there is a great deal of uncertainty in regards to interpreting ecological climate studies that are by nature more correlative than experimental in design. However, recent research has compared numerous species over diverse geographical locations and demonstrated that climate change has a dramatic effect on nature, and if patterns continue could effect the continuation of many species of wildlife. More and more the general public, and government officials, are taking the issue of global warming seriously.

Unfortunately, the United States does not seem to be among the nations moving toward action on this issue. After failing to support the Kyoto Protocol, which called for significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. arrogantly announced that we would instead meet climate stabilization efforts on our own terms. This was supposedly accomplished by passing legislature that reduced intensity of emissions per unit of gross domestic product, an effort that, in a growing economy would actually raise overall emissions. Given the lax attention that our Government is giving this issue, there is every cause to be concerned about global warming.

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