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The Warming Planet

Authors
Publisher
National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Global Warming
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Permafrost
Disciplines
  • Physics

Abstract

__ J. Natn.Sci.Foundation Sri Lanka 2005 33(4): 233-237 GENERAL ARTICLE THE WARMING PLANET CHARLES SANTIAPILLAI* Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya. Abstract: Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous warms UD the earth. The earth then reflects some ~ - ~ ~ - - - - - - - oxide are responsible for the greenhouse effect. Atmospheric ofthis Solar energy back into space in the form of carbon dioxide levels have increased from 270 ppm in 1780 to infrared radiation. Gases such as carbon dioxide, 380 ppm today. For a doubling of carbon dioxide levels, the global t em~era ture is likelv to rise bv between 2.5OF and 8OF. methane and nitrous oxide absorb the infrared - When polar ice caps melt, sea levels will rise, leading to the radiation and then re-emit a part of it into outer pollution of inland aquifers with salt. Drastic and sudden space and the rest back to the earth. These gases change in climate may have triggered the collapse of some of act like the glass of a greenhouse -trapping the ancient civilizations. Reduction of global warming would of the heat insidemand thereby making the earth need drastic change in how we live and consume the planet Earth's resources. a pleasant place to live. Otherwise it would have been an inhospitably cold planet. Key words: Global warming, greenhouse effect, permafrost. Unlike oil, no one owns climate. Nevertheless, humans have disturbed it by clearing forests, burning coal, oil and gas, and introducing massive quantities of carbon dioxide and other heat- trapping gases into the atmosphere faster than plants and oceans can remove them. Therefore, as Elizabeth Kolbersl points out, "The world is now warmer than it has been a t any point in the last two millennia". Although the implications of a warming planet were highlighted in the 1970's , it was the Irish Physicist named John Tyndall whose research on atmospheric physics at the Royal Institution (London) in 1859 firs

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