Essay on Air Quality Impact on Environmental Health
Number of words: 838
Greenhouse gases are defined as “the gases with the properties of absorbing infrared radiation released from the surface of the earth” (Kweku et al., 2018). Carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapours, nitrous oxides (N2O), methane (CH4), and fluorinated gases are few examples of greenhouse gases.
The greenhouse effect, on the other, is caused due to the interaction between radiations from the sun and the greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Since the greenhouse gases can absorb these radiations or heat and reflect this heat to the earth’s surface, causing it to get warm, this process is called the ‘greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that has been occurring for ages, and it is required to keep the earth’s surface warm for the survival of flora and fauna (Jones & Henderson-Sellers, 1990). However, the rapid industrialization in the last century has caused an increase in the greenhouse gases such as Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxides (N2O), methane (CH4) from factories and processes, causing excesses warming of earth’s surface and raising the overall temperature called as “Global Warming” (Kweku et al., 2018).
There are three or more atoms in the molecular structure of greenhouse gases, which causes radiation/ heat to trap in the earth’s atmosphere and radiate back to the earth’s surface, which again increases the temperature of the surface. This “greenhouse effect” cycle is uninterrupted, which has caused the rapid increase in the earth’s temperature in the last century. For a better understanding of the ‘greenhouse effect,’ it can be related to ‘horticulture greenhouse’ that produces a similar effect, and the gases responsible for this effect are deliberately called ‘greenhouse gases’ (Kweku et al., 2018).
Global warming is defined as “the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere due to the greenhouse effect” (Bhattacharjee, 2010).
Figure 1: Global surface air temperature (Jones & Henderson-Sellers, 1990)
The figure represents an increase in the temperature for the period 1901-1987. From 1986 to 2005, the global average temperature has increased from 0.3 0C to 2.5 0C (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016).
The graph and recent research indicate that the cause of global warming in the last century is probably due to the ‘urban heat island effect.’ Today’s global warming did not occur in the last 10 to 15 years, and its cumulative effect of human activities such as rapid urbanization, massive industrialization, and cutting down forests over the past century (Jones & Henderson-Sellers, 1990). However, the speed of such activities has increased in the mid and later years of the past century compared to its beginning.
A minute increase in the earth’s temperature can disturb the environment, such as changing wind patterns, cloud cover, and variable weather conditions. It has been predicted by the ‘Intergovernmental Panel on climate change’ that the ‘global mean surface temperature’ of the earth will rise to 5.8 0C by the end of the 21st century. Global warming can severely affect the earth’s climate and produce heavy rainfall and extreme drought (Denchak, 2016). The following list shows environmental outcomes caused by global warming,
- An increase in global warming will cause an increase in sea level due to thermal expansion of sea and the melting of ice caps on the north and south poles (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016)
- Coastal wetlands will be affected as the population of fish reduces, especially the population of the shellfish; it will also affect the population of freshwater lives; however, it is predicted the increase in marine species; although the complete impact on marine species are not known yet (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016)
- Extreme changes in weather can be experienced if global warming increases, such as some regions may experience extreme drought whereas another region will experience heavy rainfall (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016)
- An increase in tropical cyclones may happen due to increased global warming (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016)
- The excess carbon dioxide in the environment, once mixed with seawater, will produce carbonic acid and cause acidification of the oceans (Latake, Pawar & Ranveer, 2016)
Bhattacharjee, P. (2010). Global Warming Impact on the Earth. International Journal Of Environmental Science And Development, 219-220. doi: 10.7763/ijesd.2010.v1.41
Denchak, M. (2016). Are the Effects of Global Warming Really that Bad? Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/are-effects-global-warming-really-bad
Jones, M., & Henderson-Sellers, A. (1990). History of the greenhouse effect. Progress in Physical Geography, 14(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1177/030913339001400101
Kweku, D., Bismark, O., Maxwell, A., Desmond, K., Danso, K., & Oti-Mensah, E. et al. (2018). Greenhouse Effect: Greenhouse Gases and Their Impact on Global Warming. Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, 17(6), 1-9. doi: 10.9734/jsrr/2017/39630
Latake, P., Pawar, P., & Ranveer, A. (2016). The Greenhouse Effect and Its Impacts on Environment. International Journal of Innovative Research and Creative Technology, 1(3), 333-337.