Dioxide Concentration Impact
Energy from the sun heats
the earths surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back
into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide,
and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat
somewhat like a greenhouse. This natural effect keeps the earths
average temperature at about 60°F and allows life as we know
it to flourish. However, increases in atmospheric concentration
of greenhouse gases have enhanced the heat-trapping capability of
the earths atmosphere. Since the beginning of the industrial
revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased
nearly 30%. Scientists generally believe that the combustion of
fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for
the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Energy consumption
is responsible for about 80% of society's carbon dioxide emissions.
Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production,
and mining also are major contributors.
The graph shown provides
information about the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide
since 1960, measured in parts per million.
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