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Greenhouse Effect (Part 2)

Effetto Serra (Parte 2) - Erynoole

Part 2

Now that we understand how the greenhouse effect works, let's try to understand why it is so dangerous.

High concentrations of greenhouse gases lead to a rise in the earth's temperature, so said it doesn't seem too bad a thing. So what's the problem?

The truth is that there is no problem, there is a ripple effect of problems resulting from the increase in temperature, which is nothing more than the starting link in the chain of the greenhouse effect. < / p>

The rise in the earth's temperature creates a series of serious problems which in turn cause other problems, which in turn cause others and so on.

Let's look at some of them now:

Desertification: some areas of our planet due to heat waves and drought due to lack of rainfall risk turning into deserts, this puts various species of plants and animals at risk and consequently humans who will no longer have such land to cultivate and raise plants and animals useful for their nutrition.

Melting of glaciers: currently glaciers make up about 10% of the land on our planet, in the past this percentage was considerably higher. Furthermore, they are the largest fresh water reservoir we have. It doesn't take much to understand that the rise in Earth's temperature causes the ice to melt, but what are the consequences of this phenomenon?

First of all, it causes oceans to rise, a problem that leads to flooding and that afflicts urban centers located near marine areas, the biggest changes occur in cities such as Venice, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New Orleans, Bangkok and many more.

Furthermore, the melting of glaciers gives rise to avalanches, landslides, flooding of reservoirs such as rivers and lakes, and other destructive phenomena of this magnitude. Not to mention the disruption of the habitats of numerous animals and plants, which due to this risk extinction, just think of polar bears.

The melting of the ice is caused by the greenhouse effect, but the greenhouse effect is also a consequence of the melting of the ice, let's now try to better explain this dynamic: the polar caps are decimated by the heat caused by the greenhouse effect, of consequence where there should be ice there is water, so looking from space towards the Earth, where there should be the white of the ice there is instead the dark blue of water, from space this looks like just a change of color on the surface terrestrial, but the consequences are much more serious, in fact the white color reflects the sun's rays, while dark colors, such as the deep blue of the ocean absorb them, thus causing an increase in temperatures with all the ensuing consequences: acidification of the oceans , heating of the waters, and the consequent emission of CO 2 into the atmosphere. To better understand this phenomenon let's imagine wearing a black t-shirt on a summer day, the black fabric absorbs the heat coming from the sun, making us sweat more and making us feel very hot, now let's imagine wearing a white t-shirt, we still feel the heat of the sun but since white reflects the sun's rays we will feel fresher and less sweaty than in the example with the black t-shirt.


In this photograph we can see the contrast between the colors very well, until a few years ago this photograph would have been almost entirely white, now with the melted ice we can see the deep blue of the ocean, in much greater quantities than the white of the ice.

Ocean warming and acidification: in addition to rising, there is also the problem of ocean warming and acidification. Marine waters contain a large amount of dissolved CO 2 and the warming of the seas causes its emission into the atmosphere. Furthermore, this leads to a significant increase in the production of water vapor, further increasing the global temperature. Another effect of the warming of the oceans is the acidification of the oceans, that is the reduction of the pH due to the increase of CO 2 in the atmosphere and consequently the increase of the quantity dissolved in water. In fact, CO 2 dissolved in water forms carbonic acid, which increases its acidity. Many aquatic organisms need specific pH values ​​to allow their life, such a drastic imbalance of these values ​​can lead to extinction, just think of coral reefs, which due to acidity are disappearing from our seas, and with them the thousands of fish species that populate them, another huge chain reaction that damages and seriously endangers all the varieties of fish and marine flora we eat. In fact, due to this phenomenon in the oceans of all the less there is a drastic decrease in the species useful for our diet and consequently an increase in other marine species, such as jellyfish, which alas are not useful for our diet.

These are the most serious problems caused by the greenhouse effect and the rise in temperatures associated with it. Obviously there are other problems of lesser entity related to this phenomenon and also deriving from these same problems, because as we said previously, it is a chain of problems arising from the same cause.

So why is the greenhouse effect hitting our planet only now? And not in past centuries?

To answer this question we must first understand what caused the greenhouse effect and how it has become such a huge problem in such a short time; small spoiler: the evolution of the human race.


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