Human causes of climate change

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Enhanced greenhouse effect

  • Greenhouse gases include CO2, methane ozone & water vapour
  • The greenhouse effect is where greenhouse gases absorb outgoing energy, so less is lost to space. THIS IS GOOD. It's essential to keep the planet warm.
  • Too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere means too much energy is trapped and the Earth warms up. 
  • CO2 released into the atmosphere where fossil fuels are burned.
  • Since the industrial revolutions the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen since then, this has caused the increase in global temerature rises due to the enhanced greenhouse effect.   
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Destruction of CO2 sinks

  • CO2 sinks store CO2, keeping it out of the atmosphere
  • The biggest sinks are in the ocean as CO2 dissolves in water and gets moved to the deep ocean by the currents
  • Another large sink is plants which isn't being helped by deforestation
  • CO2 is released into the atmosphere when trees are burned 
  • It was previously thought that lots of the greehouse gas emissions from human activity could be stored in sinks. It's now thought that the sinks won't be able to keep pace with increasing emissions and so the CO2 will go directly into the atmosphere
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