Carbon dioxide has been rising in the atmosphere throughout time. Recently though, the levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing at a more alarming rate. The cause of this is a direct result of man’s burning of fossil fuels. We know that every action we make, as humans, will have some effect on the environment around us and those effects can be either good or bad. The rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may potentially inflict some negative effects on our environment.
The termed used to describe the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere is the greenhouse effect. Major greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane. Greenhouse gasses collect in the atmosphere and trap solar radiation within the atmosphere. Therefore as the level of CO2 raises the amount of collected solar radiation will increase as well. There is a direct correlation with the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere and the rise of the global temperature. When man burns fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
Another problem is “ large-scale deforestation, especially in the tropics, is reducing the most effective natural CO2 removal process.” (Craig 1996, p.9). The increase in CO2 has the potential to set off a chain of events that could have a severe impact on our environment. First the increased CO2 causes an increase in the collection of solar radiation. The rise in temperature could cause the polar ice to melt causing sea levels to rise. The increase in temperature could also cause the cold water in the oceans to expand, which could have a great effect on shorelines. Other problems caused by the increase in temperature could be changes in the growing seasons of plants, or it could even change the patterns of rainfall. “The major fear of global warming is massive flooding which will devastate low lying areas of the earth.” (Global Warming)