| Cars go speeding down a highway or go slowly cruising down a road.
Either way, the cars emit a gas called carbon dioxide (Co2), which is in the
“family” of greenhouse gases; the gases that help us live but are killing us.
Imagine a world without greenhouse gases. “More humans die because of
giant avalanches of ice!” the voice of the newsman comes from the TV. You
worry that soon you too will be covered by sheets and sheets of deathly
ice. This is what would happen if there were no GHGs in the atmosphere.
Luckily, we have enough GHGs to regulate the temperature of Earth.
Humans need the gases that are in the atmosphere naturally, they act like a
blanket and keep us warm.
Sunlight hits earth’s surface, starting an amazing natural process, which, in
this process, includes infrared energy, plants, soil and space! When the
sunlight hits earth’s surface, the sunlight gets turned into infrared energy or
heat. Some of that infrared energy gets absorbed by plants, soil or water,
though a lot of the energy getspushed back towards space and the
atmosphere. Even though a lot of the infrared energy gets lost in that
amazing process, some of it does not.
Some of the remaining energy gets absorbed by water vapor molecules,
carbon dioxide, methane and a few other gases. When this happens, it adds
the first layer to the atmosphere causing the surface of the Earth to warm.
This is how GHGs make the first blanket that keeps the Earth warm, just the
right temperature for us to survive. But imagine a human getting too hot
because there is a second blanket thrown on top of him. Now imagine that
human is the earth.
Monster floods. Huge hurricanes. Deathly droughts. Welcome to global
warming, the effect of too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But
how come there are extra GHGs in the air? Cars, big industrial factories and
other things that pollute put extra GHGs into the atmosphere. The carbon
dioxide emitted from cars and factories gets reflected towards space and
the atmosphere, adding a second blanket to the atmosphere which traps
heat inside while still allowing more heat from the sun in. This warms the
Earth. This is the un-natural process of putting GHGs in the atmosphere, the
process we don’t need.
“Polar bears along with several other species have gone extinct! Lady
Liberty along with The Leaning Tower of Pisa and half of Washington D.C.
has sunk!” You think about your ancestors and their stupid idea of cars and
big factories as you hear the voice from the TV. You curse them. You
wonder again why they had to start global warming. Russia has already
gone underwater. Greenland has too. Soon, you too will be dead.
Eclipses won’t end the world. A zombie apocalypse won’t end the world
(well, it depends on the zombies…). The Mayan calendar won’t end the
world. Global warming will. Return to Kid! April 2013 issue
|Global Warming: Changer of the World
by Reed Solomon
Emit- To release a gas.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) - Special gases that capture heat and keep the Earth
warm. Without GHGs, the Earth would be covered in a gigantic sheet of ice.
GHGs trap heat energy.
Atmosphere (at – mos –fear) - Layers of gases that keep the Earth warm and
Regulate (raig-u –late) - To keep something regular.
Infrared- Infrared energy has a frequency below the frequency of red light.
Humans cannot see infrared light. Most TV remotes use infrared energy
Methane- A type of greenhouse gases twenty-two times more effective than
Carbon Dioxide (car – bin die – ox – ide) (Co2) - A greenhouse gas.