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ID number:668212
Evaluation:
Published: 14.11.2005.
Language: English
Level: Secondary school
Literature: n/a
References: Not used
Extract

Global warming is the gradual increase in global temperatures caused by the emission of gases that trap the sun's heat in the Earth's atmosphere. Gases that contribute to global warming include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and halocarbons (the replacements for CFCs). The carbon dioxide emissions are primarily caused by the use of fossil fuels for energy.
Energy from the sun drives the earth's weather and climate, and heats the earth's 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 the glass panels of a greenhouse.
Without this natural "greenhouse effect," temperatures would be much lower than they are now, and life as known today would not be possible. Instead, thanks to greenhouse gases, the earth's average temperature is a more hospitable 60ºF. However, problems may arise when the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases.

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