Environment Control

What Is The Greenhouse Effect, And How Does It Work?

April 13, 2021 0

Greenhouse gases such as CO2 occur naturally in the atmosphere. That is a good thing because otherwise, it would be much colder on earth. Greenhouse gases ensure that the heat from the sun is retained. Without greenhouse gases, it would be -18 degrees Celsius on average here. Due to the greenhouse gases, it is an average of 15 degrees Celsius. As a result, life on earth as we now know it is possible.

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The earth is heating up
Many more greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere in the last 250 years. They retain extra heat, causing the temperature to rise for 140 years. Scientists call this the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’. Most people just talk about “the greenhouse effect” when they talk about global warming. But they actually mean the extra greenhouse effect.

Heating mainly by humans
Humans are the main cause of global warming. Since the industrial revolution, we have been emitting more and more greenhouse gases. We use in factories, power plants, to heat our homes and for transportation. We cut down forests on a large scale that release CO2. And we keep more and more cows, sheep, and goats for meat and dairy. All these activities mean that there is now 40 percent more CO2 in the air than 250 years ago.

Why is it a problem?
Global warming is changing our climate. This has all kinds of consequences: for example, the sea level is rising, the weather is becoming more extreme (heavy rain showers, more heatwaves), and some parts of the earth are becoming drier. You can read more about this on the page Climate change.

Which greenhouse gases are there?
The main greenhouse gases are CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide, and water vapor. CO2 is short for carbon dioxide. It is also referred to as carbon dioxide. The two main sources of CO2 are fossil fuels and land-use change. A long time ago – in early geological eras – carbon dioxide was captured by trees and other organisms. Ultimately fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) were formed from this. The CO2 is released again when these fossil fuels are burned. In addition to emissions from fossil fuels, land-use change also causes CO2 emissions. Deforestation is taking place to make room for agricultural land, for example. The CO2 that is stored in the wood is released into the air. Peat soils can also release CO2 when they dry up. This is because peat soils contain large amounts of plant residues, which can be converted into CO2 if the water level drops too far.

  • Methane (CH4) is mainly released in livestock farming. Cows, sheep, and goats produce methane when digesting food. That methane comes into the air through their breath, burps, and farts. Also, methane is released during rice cultivation and from waste dumps. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas: 1 kilo of methane has the same effect as 28 kilos of CO2.
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O, nitrous oxide) is mainly released from soil fertilized with artificial fertilizers or animal manure. Laughing gas is a very strong greenhouse gas: 1 kilo of laughing gas has the same effect as 265 kilos of CO2.
  • Water vapor is also a greenhouse gas. Global warming makes the air warmer, and warm air can contain more water vapor. Because water vapor is a greenhouse gas, that extra water vapor in the air causes more warming, allowing the air to contain even more water vapor, warming the earth even further, and so on. In this way, the greenhouse effect of water vapor amplifies itself. There is nothing people can do or do not do to control the amount of water vapor in the air.
  • Fluorine gases are the strongest greenhouse gases on the planet: they can cause thousands of times more warming than CO2. Well-known fluorine gases are HFCs and PFCs that can occur in aerosol cans, air conditioners, and refrigerators, among other things. The most powerful fluorine gas is SF6, which is used as an insulating gas in the electricity grid. SF6 causes 22,800 times more warming than CO2.

CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas
Of all the greenhouse gases emitted by humans, CO2 is the most important. More than half of the increased greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Methane is in second place with 16%. Water vapor is also an important greenhouse gas, but humans do not release it into the air themselves.

Understanding Global Warming On A Globa Scale

February 25, 2021 0

Due to the causes accumulated over hundreds of years, extreme weather is now affecting us. If this situation continues, our lives and the survival of the creatures living on the earth will be jeopardized. To prevent this from happening, we are taking various measures around the world, but there are also things that each of us can do.

Mechanism of global warming

The first thing you need to know as a major premise is the transfer of heat during the day and night. The light and heat emitted by the sun warm the surface of the earth during the day. This causes the temperature to rise during the day, but at night the sun does not shine and the temperature drops. At this time, the heat stored on the surface of the earth is released to the outside of the earth, so the temperature gradually begins to drop at night. This is the original change in temperature, but these have not been done properly in recent years. Since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been retained in the atmosphere on Earth. Excessively released greenhouse gases accumulate heat that should normally go out of the earth at night, causing normal temperature drops and rising average temperatures.

Causes of global warming

As mentioned above, greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming. Greenhouse gases also have a cause in our lives. The first direct cause is the use of automobiles. In many countries around the world, including Japan, automobiles are indispensable for transportation, but the number of automobiles will increase, which will cause traffic congestion.

Gasoline is the fuel for automobiles, and if it is burned, carbon dioxide will be generated, which will increase the factors that cover the earth as greenhouse gases. As traffic jams increase, so does idling, which increases the amount of time it takes to release carbon dioxide. The expansion and deforestation due to farmland, deforestation of tropical rain forest in the tropics is also a big factor.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide, but forests, in particular, consume large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, deforestation will not reduce carbon dioxide and will continue to increase as a greenhouse gas. The main indirect cause is the use of electrical appliances.

Electricity is required to use electrical appliances. This electricity is produced at a power plant, where coal and oil are burned. Carbon dioxide emissions account for 70% of greenhouse gases, but most of them are derived from such fossil fuels. Currently, Japan has no choice but to rely on such thermal power generation, and if we continue to use a large number of electrical appliances, the number of greenhouse gases will increase accordingly.

In addition, chlorofluorocarbons, which are used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, and methane are generated from food waste and paddy fields, which are also part of greenhouse gases.