Biology

Anthropogenic Factors of Global Warming

Many of the side effects considered to be the direct result of global warming are a rise in sea water levels and in the warming temperature of the planet. Melting ice caps have contributed both to the quantity of water contained in the ocean basins and the slowing of ocean currents which affects water temperatures and rainfall. Scientists have long blamed global warming for significant changes in the form of global rainfall causing flooding in some areas and extreme drought in others. Increased temperature of the planet reduces the ability of some plants and animals to survive, which can have an effect on humans. Many of these changes are considered to be man-made as humans are directly responsible for air pollution, pumping large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is a pollutant inducing global warming. Air pollution can be reduced and the detrimental effects mitigated by adopting widespread wind power instead of burning fossil fuels.
The production of CO2 is a natural process. External respiration (breathing) is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between an animal and its environment. This natural gas exchange takes place through the process of diffusion. The term diffusion refers to the random movement of particles in space. This movement forces the transference of molecules from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. Oxygen is taken into the animal’s body because there is less oxygen inside the animal’s lungs than there is in the outer environment, while carbon dioxide, because of its higher inner concentration, gets pushed out. Thus, the simple process of respiration results in ‘air pollution.’ Once an animal or plant dies, more carbon is released as the material structure breaks down or is burned – as in the case of burning wood, coal or oil. The carbon cycle is the process by which CO2 moves through the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, and geosphere in some form. Biology obviously plays a key role in the apparent movement of carbon between land, ocean, and atmosphere through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.

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