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The Greenhouse Effect: Advantages & Disadvantages

Written by Dominic McIntyre / Content Writer

With the increasing change in our environment, a lot of persons have started to discuss climate change and global warming. One of the most mentioned topics is the “Greenhouse Effect”, but most persons are clueless as to what it is and how it affects our environment. Some scientists have stated that the greenhouse effect is important because it contributes to the survival of life on Earth but there are others that would oppose. This article will draw a comparison between the advantages and disadvantages of the greenhouse effect and then you can decide if it is saving our planet or killing it.

The greenhouse effect is the trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere, due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet’s surface. Human activities contribute to global warming by increasing the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect happens when certain gases—known as greenhouse gases—collect in Earth’s atmosphere. These gases, which occur naturally in the atmosphere, include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, and fluorinated gases sometimes known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Most of the carbon dioxide that people put into the atmosphere comes from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas.

THE ADVANTAGES

GREENHOUSE EFFECT PROMOTES LIFE

Greenhouse gases keep our planet liveable by holding onto some of Earth’s heat energy so that it does not all escape into space. This heat-trapping is known as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect helps to maintain a certain temperature level on Earth’s surface, making it habitable for living beings. Thanks to the greenhouse gases, the earth is warm enough to sustain life.

PROTECTION FROM DANGER

Greenhouse gases protect all living things on Earth from dangerous solar radiation. They block those parts of the solar radiation which are harmful to our existence and bounce them back into the atmosphere. The greatest example is that of UV or UltraViolet radiation. Ozone, which is one of the main greenhouse gases, acts as a shield against the UV rays entering the earth. In the absence of the ozone layer, there will be no resistance to the UV rays, and they would reach us directly

THE DIS-ADVANTAGES

GLOBAL WARMING

This is by far the greatest disadvantage of the greenhouse effect. Global warming is the long-term warming of the planet’s overall temperature. Though this warming trend has been going on for a long time, its pace has significantly increased in the last hundred years due to the burning of fossil fuels. As the human population continues to increase, so has the volume of fossil fuels being burnt.

RISE IN SEA LEVELS

As the Earth continues to warm due to the greenhouse gases, water heats up and expands causing sea levels to rise. The effects of sea-level rise are already being felt, and the forecasts are not very hopeful. First, water is increasingly invading coastal areas, causing soil erosion and threatening farmland, housing, or recreation areas. The flooding of wetlands and pollution of aquifers also occur, affecting the flora and fauna of each place, causing the loss of habitat for fish, birds, plants, and many other species.

IMPACT ON THE MARINE LIFE

The greenhouse gases are depriving our oceans of oxygen. Marine biologists will tell you that fish species such as tuna and swordfish, known as the deep-water divers of the ocean for hunting at depths of 200 metres, are today repeatedly coming to surface view.

The reason for this is that warming sea temperatures have zapped oxygen out of waters even far out to sea, making it difficult for the predators to breathe—let alone hunt—in deep water. As the planet’s atmosphere traps more heat, so the oceans get warmer.

All of these can only tell one thing, and that is if we do not care for our environment we will all suffer the severe repercussions that this will have. Our very existence is being undermined and shortened by all of our actions. One question to ask yourself after reading all this is Do you think that it is saving or killing our planet?

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