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Due to numerous climate change issues on Earth, we face the danger of dramatic changes on our planet in the nearest future. The devastating power of the greenhouse effect stimulates scientists to work hard on finding ways of eliminating adverse outcomes. Evidence from the past is a highly useful source of data for making plans for improving the environmental situation.
Greenhouse Gases: Comparing Earth to Venus and Mars
Climate scientists believe that exploration of Mars and Venus can answer some questions about the dangers of global warming on our planet.
In the past, Earth and Venus used to have very similar conditions. At present, the temperature of Venus has become extremely hot. Scientists explain such changes by a “runaway greenhouse effect” (“Venus and Mars Hold Priceless Climate-Change Warnings for Earth” par. 10). The rise of temperature caused the evaporation of surface water on Venus and it’s entering the atmosphere. Scientists are afraid that since Earth is getting warmer due to pollution, it is under threat of repeating the Venus’ situation. Thus, it is vital to investigate the past of Venus to give answers about its present and use these solutions for saving Earth.
Exploring Mars’ past is crucial for understanding why it is losing atmosphere and thus being able to prevent Earth from such loss (“Venus and Mars Hold Priceless Climate-Change Warnings for Earth”).
The Keeling Curve, Extrapolated Back 800,000 Years
The Keeling Curve is a graph marking the changes in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere of Earth created in 1958. It is named after its creator Charles David Keeling who showed that people are able to alter nature dramatically (“The Keeling Curve Turns 50”). Keeling endeavored to find ways of compensating for fuel burning. His discovery has been developed and supported by many scientists, including his son Ralph (“(Ralph) Keeling Curve”).
Studies revealed that global levels of carbon dioxide are now higher than in the past 800,000 years. Owing to the Keeling Curve, scientists are working on improving the dramatic situation.
Antarctic ice holds the key to valuable data about our planet. Scientists compare the past concentrations of the greenhouse gas to today’s emissions, which makes it possible to make predictions about the future changes in climate (“Ancient Ice and Our Planet’s Future”).
Scientists collect ice cores, which are “time machines” bearing information about the past (“Life on the Ice”). Presently, we are in Holocene – an interglacial period.
Geologists believe that our planet may experience new glacial periods. Studying ice from past and present gives valuable information that allows us to make assumptions about the future (“Modeling Our Future Climate”). Such predictions help create a plan for improving our planet’s climate.
Sea Level: Past, Present, and Future
While Earth has a fixed water amount, its level in the oceans may alter according to the planet’s temperature. In cold periods, huge amounts of water get frozen, which leads to a drop in sea level. In warm periods, ice melts causing the sea level to rise.
In the past, when Earth’s temperature was so high that there were no glaciers, sea level could rise as high as 250 feet. At present, sea levels are rising as the planet is warming. Two core reasons for seas’ rising are warming up of the oceans and polar ice sheets melting. The future of Earth’s land is determined by the degree and speed of polar ice sheets’ melting process (“Sea Level: Past, Present, and Future”).
Oceans present danger to the planet’s climate due to causing changes in the seawater chemistry. The process of such changes is called ocean acidification.
The amount of carbon dioxide released as a result of people’s agricultural and manufacturing activity has been a key factor in the growing load of this gas in the atmosphere. Nearly one-fourth of the annual amount of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean. As a result, the levels of this gas in the oceans grow together with its concentration in the atmosphere. What used to be considered an advantage of the oceans’ role in removing carbon dioxide, is now treated as a disadvantage. Absorbing carbon dioxide is good, but changing seawater chemistry is a rather adverse thing (“Ocean Acidification: The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem”).
Methane Released from Permafrost and Ocean Floor
Methane hydrates are considered as a possible energy source produced by the ocean. They make up a new reserve of fossil fuel since they incorporate large amounts of methane, which is the core constituent of natural gas. Methane hydrate formation is only possible in particular circumstances. Low temperatures and high water pressures are the most suitable conditions.
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The downside of methane hydrates is its power to reinforce the greenhouse effect. The scientists are currently working on exploring the conduct of methane after its discharge to find ways of eliminating the disadvantages of methane hydrates while exploiting its benefits (“Climate Change Impacts on Methane Hydrates”).
People’s industrial progress has boosted the dangers presented to the climate on our planet. Nowadays, many scientists are exploring the causes of climate change and are creating ways of eliminating its negative effects. Investigating of the planet’s past and present, as well as exploring the neighboring planets, will make it possible to find solutions to the greatest humanity’s danger.
“Ancient Ice and Our Planet’s Future.”YouTube, uploaded by National Science Foundation, Web.
“Climate Change Impacts on Methane Hydrates.”World Ocean Review, Web.
“Life on the Ice.”YouTube, uploaded by National Science Foundation, 2011, Web.
“Modeling Our Future Climate.”YouTube, uploaded by National Science Foundation, 2011, Web.
“Ocean Acidification: The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem.” PMEL Carbon Program, Web.
“Sea Level: Past, Present, and Future.” National Science Foundation, 2015, Web.
“The (Ralph) Keeling Curve.”YouTube, uploaded by Scripps Oceanography, 2007, Web.
“The Keeling Curve Turns 50.”YouTube, uploaded by Scripps Oceanography, 2008, Web.
“Venus and Mars Hold Priceless Climate-Change Warnings for Earth.” The Daily Galaxy: The Great Discoveries Channel. 2014, Web.