Climate Change. How Our Forests Help!. Greenhouse Gasses.
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How Our Forests Help!
Greenhouse gasses contribute to a change in our climate by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) nitrous oxide, methaneand fluorinated gasses. These gases are emitted by industry, cars, energy use on this planet, and other sources. When the gases rise into the atmosphere, they act as a greenhouse, trapping heat, much like the window panes of a greenhouse keep in heat. If we did not have this mechanism, we would be too cold!
Causes of these gases include fuel consumption. Did you know that methane and nitrous oxiddetrap gases and heat up to 300 times better than carbon dioxide? The problem with carbon dioxide is that this gas remains in the atmosphere for greater lengths of time. By 2060 carbon dioxide levels are thought to double.
The problems and effects of global warming (because the gases are trapped by the greenhouse effect) include disruption of weather patterns, coastal flooding, increase in disease-causing organisms, altering natural habitats, and potential extinction of certain plants and animals.
Until 1860 the levels of greenhouse gases remained relatively stable (280ppm). The Industrial Revolution caused an abrupt upswing in CO2 levels. By 2010, gases were recorded at 393 ppm, which was an increase of 40%. What is interesting is that in Spring, the levels of CO2 decrease, and in the Fall, these levels of CO2 actuallyincrease.
To slow the growth of the greenhouse gases, we could plant trees, which take up the Carbon and store it in the roots and leaves. We could also raise the costs of fossil fuels. If the population growth were to slow down, we would not be needing to consume such enormous quantities of products (industry and car use to manufacture our needs), and we could reduce our CARBON FOOTPRINT by being conscious of our driving habits (not running to the store for small things, walking more, using less consumable energy), increase effeciencyof our appliances, and use different sources of energy like hydro-power, solar, wind or geothermal power.
Carbon sequestration means storing the carbon in plants as biomass. Carbon sink occurs when Carbon sequestration is greater (the storing of Carbon) than the release of Carbon into the atmosphere. Forests are the most important part of Carbon sinks, by storing 289 million metric tons of Carbon in trees and plants!