Firas A. IB-1 A 1.

Defenition of the greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, for example) trap energy from the sun. Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. Because of how they warm our world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases. 2. Golbal warming potential Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the gas in question to that of the same mass of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is by definition 1). A GWP is calculated over a specific time interval and the value of this must be stated whenever a GWP is quoted or else the value is meaningless. 3. Storm frequency While most climatologists do not believe that global warming will increase the frequence of hurricanes, they are in accord that with more heat stored in the oceans, the intensity of these storms will increase. Melting ice in the Arctic may destablize the climate of the Arctic in one way, but overall ocean temperatures will increase with global warming. • • • Heat stored in oceans Melting ice in the Arctic Overall ocean tempratures wil inacrease (especially the surface, causing storms)

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Firas A. IB-1 A

4. Methane, Carbon dioxide and CFCs CO2 is not the only man made gas of concern. Others include methane (industry, garbage, cattle raising etc), nitrous oxides (a byproduct of combustion - comes primarily from automobiles), and of course CFC's. Shown in the table below are the concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in 1800 before the industrial revolution compared to the values measured in 1999. Also shown is the rate of change and the average lifetime of one of these gases in the atmosphere. So while CFC's have a small concetration they are relatively inert in the atmosphere, lasting 50 to more than 100 years. Gas Water Vapour Carbon Dioxide Methane Nitrous Oxide CFC-11 CFC-12 1800 3000 ppm 280 ppmv 0.8 ppmv 288 ppbv 0 0 1999 3000 ppm 353 ppmv 1.75 ppmv 310 ppbv 280 pptv 484 pptv Change/year unknown ppm 1.8 ppm (.5%) 0.015 ppm (.9%) 0.8 ppb (.25%) 9.5 ppt (4%) 17 ppt (4%) Atms. Lifetime unknown 40 years 11 years 130 years 55 years 116 years

Table: http://www.environmentalsciences.homestead.com/greenhousegases.html

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