Limited global warming

Greenhouse effect

is a warming of the lower atmosphere and surface of a planet by a complex process involving sunlight, gases, and particles in the atmosphere. On the earth, the greenhouse effect began long before human beings existed. However, recent human activity may have added to the effect. The amounts of heat-trapping atmospheric gases, called greenhouse gases, have greatly increased since the mid-1800's, when modern industry became widespread. Since the late 1800's, the temperature of the earth's surface has also risen. The greenhouse effect is so named because the atmosphere acts much like the glass roof and walls of a greenhouse, trapping heat from the sun.


Causes of climate change
Impact Global Warming
Limited Global Warming
Agreement on global warming
Analyzing global warming
Kyoto Protocol
Greenhouse effect
Scientific research
Why climates vary
Ocean problems
Southern Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Ozone hole
Environmental problems by petroleum
Changes in the atmosphere
Increasing Temperatures
Can Earth Explode ?
NASA Study
El Nino
The Procedure Of Implementation Afforestation And Reforestation Project Under The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) In Indonesia
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries



Scientific research. Many international scientific groups study the Southern Ocean. Major research topics include the ability of the ocean to dissolve carbon dioxide (CO2). That topic is related to the issue of global warming, an increase in the average temperature of Earth's surface. Human activities are responsible for most of the warming that has occurred. The chief activity contributing to global warming has been the burning of fossil fuels-coal, oil, and natural gas. The burning of those fuels has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, one that contributes to global warming through a complex process involving sunlight, gases, and particles in the atmosphere. The Southern Ocean and the other oceans can dissolve some of the CO2 that enters the atmosphere, thereby reducing the amount of global warming that will occur.

Global warming may affect the Southern Ocean and other areas of high latitude more than it affects regions of low latitude. Satellites have already detected huge chunks of ice breaking free from Antarctica. Increases in the amount of ice in the Southern Ocean could lead to a rise in the sea level throughout the world.

Other researchers are studying how an increase in ultraviolet radiation might harm living things in the Southern Ocean. A layer of a gas called ozone in the upper atmosphere shields Earth from 95 to 99 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays. But since the late 1970's, scientists have observed a thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Contributor: Dana R. Kester, Ph.D., Professor of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island.

Source : World Book 2005.