Since the 1760’s, large increase in greenhouse gases were caused by human
activities. The release of greenhouse gas has a direct impact on the greenhouse
effect, which causes an increase in the earth's temperature. Think of the greenhouse effect as a blanket that traps in heat and therefore warms the earth’s surface this is also known as Global Warming. Human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, is the leading cause in changes to the climate which has the most negative impact than any other human activity.
Greenhouse gases are made from carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and
Fluorinated gases. Each year, more than 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide are
release into the atmosphere due to human activities. Additionally, human activity has also increased concentration in both methane and nitrous oxide causing the
increases in greenhouse gases.
Did you know that basic changes to the earth’s landscape such as farming, road
building and construction, and deforestation alters the planet’s natural ability to
reflect the sun? When this happens, it causes warming and cooling in local
neighborhoods. It’s no surprise the New York City is typically warmer than
surrounding areas in the summertime. In NYC, the buildings, pavement, as well as
roofs reflect much less sunlight than rural areas. There are some buildings in the city that have painted their roofs white in an effort to reflect sunlight therefore reducing the impact of heat.
The effect that greenhouse gases have on climate change is dependent on 3 areas.
- How much? How much greenhouse gases have been released into the
atmosphere as it relates to the density or abundance. Excessive omissions of
greenhouse gases bring about higher concentrations in the air.
- How long? Greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for different
periods of time which could range from 1 year to 100’s of years. Harmful
gasses stay in the environment enough time to become infused which means
that the amount that is measured in the atmosphere, at any point in time, is
about the exact same around the globe, despite where it was generated from.
- How strong? Some gases are a lot stronger than others at making the world
warmer and also “thickening the Earth’s blanket.”