Planet Earth is a place of constant changes. Nature is continuously renewed, each spring trees blossom and bring fruit. Plants use the energy of the Sun to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and near-by water to produce roots, stems and leaves and release oxygen (O2). This process is known as the photosynthesis. When leaves fall off they are eaten by insects and animals and those that remain on the ground become organic matter in the soil. That organic matter is used by various microorganisms and other habitants only to be transmuted again into CO2. In this way, CO2 that was taken up by plants is released again into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide circulates around the Earth in this way and every year Earth is regenerated.
Recently, though, this pattern of perpetual renewal has been changed. Our planet is being affected by dramatic climate shifts from which she cannot easily recover.
One change from which the Earth does not recover is the level of CO2 in the atmosphere which is constantly rising. For the last 1000 years the level was constant at 280 ppm until 19th century and industrial revolution when it started to increase dramatically. If the concentration of CO2 continues to rise at current rate, it will be double the pre-industrial concentration by the end of 21st century or even earlier.
The increase of CO2 will not directly harm humans or other living organisms, but it is indirectly changing the circulations of the Earth thus impacting humans and is believed to be inducing global warming. On the other hand, plant growth is enhanced causing forests to become greener and more lush.
It is a fact that the average global temperature is increasing, but it is still difficult to determine the relationship between CO2 and temperature, because Earth’s temperature varies with location and time of year. It is also affected by solar activity, like sun spots and volcano eruptions which release huge amounts of dust into the atmosphere reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface.
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reported in 2007 that average surface temperature has increased by 0,74 degrees Celsius. It is believed that the major cause of this temperature rise is global warming caused by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past century.
The most concerning outcome of global warming we are experiencing is alarming rise of the sea level.
Oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and act as natural carbon sink, but with increased level of carbon dioxide they are losing their ability to do so. Will reduced CO2 stop rise of the sea level? Not in the near future; it will take centuries before oceans can absorb the excess CO2, atmospheric concentration of CO2 decreases and Earth’s temperature begin to return to its current value.
My name is Julija Trkulja or Benedict (that’s my author name I use on my Website). I’m from Belgrade, Serbia. I have just recently created a web site: [http://earthgonegreen.com] where I write about environmental issues and try to bring this current problem called global warming which we are all experiencing closer to a broader audience, because I think it is very important to become aware of it and to make whatever action we can, even if it is just writing about it and promoting it. I have included health, food and farming on my blog as a part of this holistic approach to what I like to call “sustainable lifestyle”. Join me!
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