Monday, 10 November 2014

Global Warming Challenges that Every Engineer Must be Aware of

 “Climate change is…a gross injustice—poor people in developing countries bear over 90% of the burden—through death, disease, destitution and financial loss—yet are least responsible for creating the problem.”
-          Barbara Stocking, CEO of Oxfam GB
The earth is constantly exposed to radiations from the sun and other planetary objects. Some of the sun radiations are reflected by the surface of the earth. The remaining radiation is absorbed by certain gases in the earth’s surface. These gases trap the heat of the radiations. Due to the trapping of this heat the earth warms up. This is known as Green House Effect.

The gases which trap the heat are known as greenhouse gases. A few examples of greenhouse gases are ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and water vapour. The term greenhouse effect comes from the concept of a garden inside a glass room. The glass absorbs all the heat. The glass does not allow heat to escape from the garden and eventually heats up the garden. So, the term greenhouse effect became applicable not only to gardens but also to the earth.. A similar example is how heat enters a car through the glass windows. If the car windows are closed the heat cannot escape and the car warms up.

The greenhouse effect is essential to maintain adequate warmth of the globe as well. If the greenhouse gases volume increases too much then it leads to an increase in global warming. There are lot of human activities that generate gases that trap sunlight. Some common activities are:

·          Cutting trees and burning them
·          Burning of oil, coal, and natural gas – fossil fuels
·          Burning of solid waste
·          Decomposition of organic waste
·          Industrial output and agricultural processes

Of all the most common gases, carbon-dioxide, due to its large quantities, causes most of global warming. If human beings control the activities that lead to greenhouse gas generation, then global warming will also be controlled. While preparing for the Professional Engineer Exam, the engineer will be able to understand global warming challenges.

Consequences of Global Warming

Impact on Weather: Some regions of the earth will become warmer, while other regions become colder. The weather changes will have an impact on the types of crops that can be grown in certain regions. Animals, plants, and human beings will be affected by these significant weather changes.

Impact on Sea Level: As ice melts due to global warming, the sea level also increases. This increase in sea level by 20-40 cm will lead to floods that can destroy livelihood and farmlands.

Impact on Farming: Every crop needs a optimal temperature to provide a good yield. But due to global warming the temperature fluctuates and so crops will not have the desired temperature and yield less. Less crop yield may lead to hunger in certain parts of the globe.

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