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Global Warming: Natural or Man-Made - Essay Example

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Global Warming: Natural or Man-Made

Global warming has been attributed to a variety of causes, including human activities. However, global warming has also been attributed to the natural warming of the earth’s temperature which has been seen at various points in the earth’s history. Regardless of the actual cause of global warming however, man’s destructive and wasteful activities have been considered as contributory factors to global warming. There are strong indications that global warming is due to human actions. This study shall discuss this thesis and consider whether or not man is rightly to blame for this phenomenon. It shall also discuss the challenge that this phenomenon has presented to sustainable development. Body A. Global warming is due to human actions 1. Thermal pollution leads to global warming The earth’s heat flow is measured via boreholes driven several hundred meters into the earth (Nordell, 2003). In recent years, scientists were able to carry out geothermal readings of the earth and were able to establish baseline measurements. The global use of fossil energy has almost reached an equivalent of 9000 million metric ton oil (International Energy Agency, 1999). All of this energy eventually dissipates into heat and when the combusted fuel is decomposed, heat is also released. The total heat from fossil fuels therefore registers at even higher rates than is usually estimated (Nordell, 2003). This energy, when distributed over the total area of the earth, causes the earth’s temperature to rise. The earth’s mean temperature at its ground surface has been measured and deemed warmer than the effective earth temperature. This difference then “drives the global net heat flow from the Earth” (Nordell, 2003). During the daylight hours, the short wave radiation would heat the ground surface and is later cooled down by the outgoing long-wave radiation. As the incoming energy is released, the energy sources would be the thermal heat flow and thermal pollution. This heat flow is “radiated layer by layer through the atmosphere” (Nordell, 2003). With the passage of time, this higher temperature is maintained as the baseline, this higher core temperature compromises the tolerance of the earth’s natural resources and functioning. Currently, the global temperature is not considered at equilibrium because the net outgoing long-wave radiation is not as high as the heat generated. Natural cold therefore is absorbed into the ground and the water and the atmosphere reduces the effect of thermal pollution. The primary sources of natural cold are in the water and the ice and the waters of the oceans decreased global warming by getting warmer (Nordell, 2003). With the melting of the ice, no temperature increase would be seen, but the volumes of melted water would increase. The continental warming also means that out underground is warming up. This would later manifest as decreased geothermal heat flow with the geothermal gradient decreasing (Chapman, 1998). 2. Increased emission of Greenhouse gases Greenhouse gases are those which are generally considered harmful to our planet. They are gases which “can absorb and emit longwave (infrared) radiation in a planetary atmosphere” (Reay and Hogan, 2010). As the sunlight hits the earth’s atmosphere, ideally, about 40% of its energy is bounced back ...Show more

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Running head: GLOBAL WARMING Global Warming: Natural or Man-made? and number) (Date submitted) Is global warming due to human actions? Can the human race take action to stop global warming? Introduction Every time we experience a major natural disaster – a strong hurricane, a devastating typhoon, a major landslide, a heat wave, floods, droughts, and similar incidents – the issue of global warming is usually brought up…
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Global Warming: Natural or Man-Made essay example
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