The greenhouse effect

Greenhouse effect by e3000 on flickr

We all know a little about this important topic.  For our syllabus we must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the carbon cycle?  What are the main processes involved in it and how are they connected? The Carbon Cycle
  • What changes have taken place in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past century? Biology – Carbon Dioxide Level – Chenille & Hori
  • What gases contribute to the greenhouse effect?
  • What is the relationship between the levels of these gases and the enhanced greenhouse effect? GREENHOUSE GASES
  • What is the precautionary principle?
  • Is the precautionary principle valid when dealing with the greenhouse effect?
  • What are the potential consequences of global warming on arctic ecosystems?

Start with this presentation.  This link is helpful in explaining what the greenhouse effect is NOT.

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2 Responses to “The greenhouse effect”

  1. Alisa and Aki says:

    1. What is the precautionary principle?
    “Guilty until proven innocent.”
    – The company, factory, or whoever is going to initiate the activity, has to prove that it is not harmful to the environment before doing so, instead of carrying out the activity and waiting to be proven guilty.

    2. Is the precautionary principle valid when dealing with the greenhouse effect?
    Yes, it is valid because if this principal is used, then it can prevent further emissions of greenhouse gases. Companies should prove that their activities will not cause global warming by emitting gases such as CO2. However, the increase in greenhouse gases are not directly proven to cause global warming. If we were to wait for scientific proof, then the consequences would have “reached a catastrophic level”.

  2. Alexander and alessandra says:

    What are the potential consequences of the global warming on the artic ecosystem?
    In arctic ecosystems there are huge quantities of carbon that’s accumulated in the frozen soil and buried organic material. The latter is a potential source of major emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). So if global warming causes the frozen soil to melt and release the carbon dioxide and methane, more greenhouse gases will build up in the atmosphere, causing more of the arctic to melt, thus releasing more greenhouse gases…. It’s a vicious cycle.
    Affects to animals
    • Melting sea ice (affects marine mammals, polar bears and caribou)
    • This melting sea ice can create a breakwater(barrier built in a body of water)
    • Melting ice creates huge storm surges and therefore causes erosion
    • Animals in the area have to adapt to the changes in their habitats
    • For example the warming is melting the sea ice platforms in which seals hunt from.
    • Caribou are falling through once solid ice into freezing cold sea temperatures
    • Polar bears live on sea ice while hunting their prey (seals and wallrusses) and warming has reduced the size of the ice and therefore shortened the feeding periods and the accessibility to their prey.
    • The sea ice in the arctic ecosystems are being melted by the heat. Not only does this cause water levels to rise slightly, it also limits the ability for polar bears to hunt their main food- seals. This could cause a problem for both the polar bear population, which would rapidly decline, and also for the seal population, which will increase, thus affecting other water life.
    Birds and vegetation
    • What little vegetation that there is will expand, thus suppressing the vegetation already growing there. Additionally, the species composition of plant communities will change, affecting the animal species that rely on the disappearing plants for sustenance. There could be a massive alteration in the biodiversity of the arctic ecosystems.
    • The one possibly positive consequence of global warming on arctic ecosystems is that earlier snow-melting and increased summer temperatures will be beneficial for successful nesting of birds that reside in Arctic. This is because most birds only stay in the Arctic for about 3 months a year, so their nesting places during that time will be easier to access.
    Useful sites

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