Mar 6, 2019 in Research

The Effects of Greenhouse Gases

The enhanced natural greenhouse effect is caused by different human activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels and the cutting down of trees. The gases that affect the progressive warming of the planet surface are those that persist in the atmosphere and eventually accumulate over time. Continuous global warming is expected to have significant effects. The human health is affected because the extreme weather risk several people, of getting infectious diseases. The greenhouse gases have environmental effects besides global warming. They include; acidification of the oceans, smog pollution, depletion of the ozone layer and the alterations of the plant growth and their nutrition levels. There is also an impact on the economy sector; tourism, forestry, agriculture and damage to infrastructure. These effects could be reduced by diminishing the gases emitted could reduce at our homes and even in our daily practices. Change can be made by adjusting our behavior and making life choices that aid in decreasing the emissions.

Introduction

The greenhouse effect involves the absorption of the thermal radiation by the atmospheric greenhouse gases and is distributed in different directions. Distribution may occur towards the earth’s surface, it elevates the surface temperature to higher levels than it would if the gases were absent. The mechanism that causes the changes of the temperature, actual surface and effective temperature because of the atmosphere is referred to as the greenhouse effect. The natural greenhouse effect of the earth is vital in ensuring there is the existence of life. Of major concern is the enhanced natural greenhouse effect caused by different human activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels and the cutting down of trees. The increased natural greenhouse effect causes global warming.

There are different types of greenhouse gases. Water vapor is the most common in the atmosphere, but it does not change in the concentration. The gases that affect the progressive warming of the planet surface are those that persist in the atmosphere and eventually accumulate over time. Regardless of their low concentrations in the atmosphere, their persistence makes a tremendous effect on global warming. The persisting greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons. Greenhouse effect has potential significance on the environment, human health and the economy sectors.

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Effects of the Greenhouse Gases on the Above-Mentioned Sectors

Impact on Human Health

The greenhouse gases have had a crucial impact on the health of human beings particularly those who reside in areas where the effects of the gases are experienced. With the increasing temperature and the overall climate alterations, there are consequential extreme weather patterns whose impact are significant in the infectious disease occurrence, some of which are new and others re-emerging. The alterations have caused extension of the weather seasons, in some regions: the rainy seasons and others drought. In some areas there is the introduction of new climates which have never been experienced before. These seasons are acting as habitats for disease vectors, enhancing their rapid reproduction and others permitting the existence of new vectors.

The extreme weather risk several people, of getting infectious diseases. El Nino is considered an extreme weather pattern characterized by enhanced precipitation causing increased flooding thereby creating a favorable breeding environment for various vectors that act as both carriers and causative agents. The hurricanes cause damage and enhance the chances of survival and replication of vectors thus increasing the occurrence of infectious diseases. Strong winds improve the mobility of the vectors over large distances, thereby new introducing disease causing agents to areas that have never been experienced before. This increases the vulnerability of the people in these areas.

The warmer and wetter climates are favorable for mosquito- borne illnesses which pose a huge threat to people. These illnesses include; malaria, elephantiasis, yellow fever and the dengue fever. These illnesses are more common in regions with extreme flooding and drought. Floods create grounds for the breeding of mosquitoes and the warmer weathers promote the vectors’ feeding and growth. Ticks also replicate in warmer weather permitting them to feed and grow at a high rate. Lyme disease is caused by black legged tick and when it is not feeding it is buried in the soil. The ticks die in climates which are too cold or too dry. Naturally, the tick numbers should be regulated, the warmer and wetter conditions are permitting the ticks to multiply and grow at a faster rate, thereby increasing the occurrence of Lyme disease in the previously existing regions and the ones never experienced before. Other illnesses that are increasing because of the extreme weather are; tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, hantavirus and river blindness.

Other human health effects include the increased risk of suffering from illnesses associated with the respiratory system and the cardiovascular. There are kinds of cancers which can be caused due to the increase in temperature and improved pollution of air.  Regions characterized by increased temperatures and frequent and severe extreme weather incidents cause the likelihood of deaths resulting from dehydration and heat stroke, and injuries from the incredible weather alterations. The populations, including the kids and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the climate changes.

Environmental Impacts

The greenhouse gases have environmental effects besides global warming. They include; acidification of the oceans, smog pollution, depletion of the ozone layer and the alterations of the plant growth and their nutrition levels. The average greenhouse house gas emissions have risen to approximately 80 percent since 1970. This is due to the increased industrialization. With the elevated amounts of these gases daily, the greenhouse effect is more prominent that too much heat is in the planet’s atmosphere. The resulting global warming is damaging the environment in numerous means such as; desert formation, enhanced melting of snow and ice, increase in the sea level, experiencing of stronger storms and other extreme incidents.

Ocean acidification has been experienced due to the rise in the concentrations of carbon dioxide by more than 30% because of the industrial revolution. The gases sink in the waters, which then reacts with the ocean water to form carbonic acid. This means with the increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, the more the oceans are acidifying. The surface ocean pH could reduce to below 8.2. In the future, acidification of the ocean could pose threats to the survival of the water organisms. The organisms include fish, coral reefs and other protected species. Other natural resources that are valuable to the society could be affected too.

The Ozone layer has also been depleted due to the greenhouse effect. The Nitrous oxide emitted damages the ozone layer. This gas is the most significant ozone depleting substance and the most essential cause. The Montreal Protocol (MP) did not abolish this gas, therefore, while other ozone depleting substances are reducing, the nitrous oxide amounts are continuing to swell.

There have been alterations in the patterns of plant growth and the nutrition degrees. Plants demand carbon dioxide for growth functions, therefore the increase of the concentrations promotes the growth of plants. However, plants require other sources of nutrients such nitrogen for growth and survival. If these other nutrients are not improved, then the overall quality in terms of nutrition diminishes. Finally, greenhouse gases cause pollution of the ozone and smog. Elevations of the methane and nitrogen oxides by humans, has increased the worldwide background ozone levels. Ozone is considered a source of pollution and is the main component of smog, which hazardous to both plants and humans.

Economic Impact

There are a number of negative effects of greenhouse gases to the economy. The agriculture sector is affected negatively because of the loss of plants due to flooding, imbalance in nutrition level and other extreme conditions that do not support crop growing. Livestock is also affected because of the illnesses caused by ticks and other disease vectors. Agriculture is a crucial component of the economy and these negative impacts cause a decline in the sector. Another economic sector affected is the tourism and recreation. The extreme changes in weather discourage most tourists and other people from engaging in other recreational activities. These trends are detrimental since there a number of economies which depend hugely on these sectors for survival.

The above mentioned human health effects have additional negative economic effects on the health and the social support systems. With the increase in the susceptibility to infectious diseases, the health care facilities are strained in the course of service delivery to the affected people. Finally, there is damage caused to the existing infrastructure. During extreme weather seasons such as flooding, roads and bridges are usually destroyed impacting negatively on the economy. 

Conclusion

The greenhouse gases emitted; nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, ozone, methane and carbon dioxide and water vapor have critical effects on major sectors of life. The elevated temperature and general climate change cause extreme weather conditions whose impact are significant in the infectious disease occurrence. Some of the illnesses are new and others are re-emerging. The environmental effects include; global warming, acidification of the oceans, smog pollution, depletion of the ozone layer and the alterations of the plant growth and their nutrition levels. Finally, the economy suffers from the effects of the greenhouse gases. The agricultural sector is affected negatively because of the loss of plants due to flooding, imbalance in nutrition level and other extreme conditions that do not support crop growing. Livestock is also affected because of the illnesses caused by ticks and other disease vectors. Of importance to note is the significance of the agriculture sector in the world’s economy. Other sectors affected are tourism and recreation. The greenhouses emitted could reduce at our homes and even in our daily practices. Change can be made by adjusting our behavior and making life choices that aid in decreasing the emissions.

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