How Does CO2 Affect The Atmosphere?

There is CO2 in the atmosphere, and we (and other animals), breathe oxygen in, and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants are different - they breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen.

Heat from the sun reaches the earth, and reflects. Some of this heat is retained within the atmosphere, and this heat helps to keep the earth warm and stops it from freezing over. CO2 and moisture in the air helps to retain this heat within the atmosphere to keep the earth warm. This is what we call the 'Greenhouse Effect'.

Since the industrial revolution, we have been burning a lot more fossil fuel, and so a lot more CO2 is released to the atmosphere. This means that more heat is retained in the atmosphere and as a result, the air and the earth's temperature is rising more than they ought to be. This is what we refer to as 'Global Warming'.

The knock-on effect of a rising earth temperature is glaciers and icebergs melting into the sea. In addition, the thermal expansion of the sea water as a result of the rising temperature. Both of these lead to a rise in sea levels.

As the earth and the atmosphere gets warmer, more moisture is retained in the air which has an effect on the weather. Changes in the climate and weather has resulted in long periods of heavy rain and floods, as well as long periods of drought. CO2 levels also affect the acidity levels of the sea, and the habitats of plants and animals.

This is why it is important for us to minimise the CO2 we are responsible for releasing into the atmosphere - in order to slow down the climate change process.

Next Page - What Is A Carbon Footprint?

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