Reflectivity And Climate Change

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Climate change is one contemporary issue that has created several impacts on the environment and communities. Climate change, also called global warming, refers to the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth. This also includes changes in the patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. (Washington Department of Ecology, 2016) One of the main factors contributing to climate change is the abundant release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Since the Industrial Revolution began around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially to climate change by adding CO2 and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. These greenhouse gas emissions have increased the greenhouse effect and caused Earth’s surface…show more content…
When sunlight reaches Earth, it can be reflected or absorbed. The amount that is reflected or absorbed is dependent on the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. Light-colored or white objects and surfaces, like snow and clouds, tend to reflect most sunlight, while darker objects and surfaces, like the ocean, forests, or soil, tend to absorb more sunlight. The term ‘albedo’ refers to the amount of solar radiation reflected from an object or surface, often expressed as a percentage. Earth as a whole has an albedo of about 30%, meaning that 70% of the sunlight that reaches the planet is absorbed. Absorbed sunlight warms Earth’s land, water, and atmosphere. Reflectivity is also affected by aerosols. Aerosols refer to small particles or liquid droplets in the atmosphere that can absorb or reflect sunlight. Unlike greenhouse gases, the climate effects of aerosols vary depending on what they are made of and where they are emitted. Those aerosols that reflect sunlight, such as particles from volcanic eruptions or sulfur emissions from burning coal, have a cooling effect. Those that absorb sunlight, such as black carbon (a part of soot), have a warming…show more content…
The industrial activities that modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50

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