Effects of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by Trudelitor on October 27, 2016 - 10:59am

Most people have heard about greenhouse gases, but few of them really know how dangerous they are. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and create what is called the greenhouse effect. The Earth's natural greenhouse effect is essential, but human activities have intensified this process causing a lot of collateral damage. Because of its negative impact, the anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases has to be reduced

The main effect of increased greenhouse gas emissions is the global warming. This rise of temperature has a huge impact by creating climate changes. The desertification is an example of how this process harms the environment. This occurs in subtropical regions and is caused by the lack of rainfall. Without water, soils become poor in nutrients and they can even become infertile (Lane). Another negative effect related to global warming is that storms and extreme meteorological events will become more frequent: "In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity" (Thomas). These two related problems necessarily cause damage such as natural disasters and probable deaths linked to this phenomenon.

Furthermore, greenhouses gases cause the amplification in the level of smog and ozone pollution. Ozone is essential in the stratosphere, but in the troposphere, it's a real poison. It has been demonstrated that ozone at ground level is causing problems like the increase of death related to respiratory problems: "Anthropogenic O3 [ozone at ground level] was associated with an estimated 0.7 ± 0.3 million respiratory mortalities (6.3 ± 3.0 million years of life lost) annually" (Anenberg). In addition, smog is not only bad for humans, it also create problems for the flora. Plant growth, and mature forest can be greatly affected by smog: "The ozone in smog also inhibits plant growth and can cause widespread damage to crops and forests" (West). This is rather worrying given that forests are the lungs of the Earth. As established, smog harmfully affects both humans and the environment.

Finally, one of the greenhouses gases, the nitrous oxide, is the largest cause of ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer plays an essential role in maintaining life’s condition as we know it today. Without it, the ultraviolet radiation issued from the sun would reach the Earth without being filtered. This would have the effect of causing an increase in cases of skin cancer, changes at the DNA and vision problems (Douglass). Obviously, again, the human would not be the only one suffering from the depletion of the ozone layer. This would have a negative influence on some ecosystems too: "…ozone depletion is likely affecting many other terrestrial ecosystems. The most impacted are likely to be those where summer weather patterns have changed due to ozone depletion and especially those where summer is a major growing season " (Robinson). Unfortunately, the emissions of such gases has serious effects as it was demonstrated here.

In conclusion, human race must reduce its production of greenhouse gases. There are many ways to do it, but everyone's cooperation is needed. The situation has become alarming due to the temperature rise, the increase in the level of smog and pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer. Some of the changes induced by these problems can already be felt. If nothing is done quickly to improve the situation, irreparable damage could be unfortunately caused.

Jean-François Trudel
Marie-Claude Privé
Marc-Antoine Paradis

Sources:
Lane, Tim. "Desertification: Land Degradation under a Changing Climate." Climatica. N.p., 17 June 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.

Karl, Thomas. Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate: Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. Washington: U.S. Climate Change Science Program, 2008. Web. 24 Sept 2016

Anenberg, Susan C. "EHP – An Estimate of the Global Burden of Anthropogenic Ozone and Fine Particulate Matter on Premature Human Mortality Using 
Atmospheric Modeling." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.

West, Larry. "What Is Smog? Causes and Effects." About News. N.p., 8 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.

Douglass, Anne R."The Antarctic Ozone Hole." Physics Today 67.7 (2014): 42-47. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Sept. 2016.

Robinson, Sharon A."Not Just About Sunburn - The Ozone Hole's Profound Effect On Climate Has Significant Implications For Southern Hemisphere Ecosystems." Global Change Biology 21.2 (2015): 515-527. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Sept. 2016

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