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You've heard of global warming before. It's when there are too many greenhouse gases, keeping in heat, like the pictures below. You can also look at responsible gases .We bet it's more serious than you thought.
A greenhouse gas is a gas that keeps in heat and sunlight.
Global warming before (top) an global warming after (bottom).
CO2 is a widely known greenhouse gas. Although CO2 causes the most damage, it isn't the only greenhouse gas. Below is a table. The GWP (Global Warming Potential) is the amount it contributes to Global Warming compared to CO2, based on time. CO2 is always 1 GWP, for any amount of time. After 20 years, methane has a GWP of 56. That means that it contributes 56 times more than CO2. However, after 100 years, methane has a GPA of 21, or after 100 years, it has contributed 21 times more than CO2. That's because methane breaks down after 12 years into CO2. After that, it doesn't contribute very much.
|Molecule Name||Lifetime (years)||GWP 20y||GWP 100y|
|Carbon Dioxide - CO2||Variable||1||1|
|Methane - CH4||~12||56||21|
|Nitrous oxide - N4O||120||280||310|
|Fluoroform - CHF3||264||9100||11700|
|Difluoromethane - CH2F2||5.6||2100||650|
|Fluoromethane - CH3F||3.7||490||150|
|2,3-dihydrodecafluoropentane - C5H2F10||17.1||3000||1300|
|Pentafluoroethane - C2HF5||32.6||4600||2800|
|Sulphur hexafluoride - SF6||3200||16300||23900|
|1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane - CH2FCF3||14.6||3400||1300|
|1,1-Difluoroethane - C2H4F2||1.5||460||140|
|1,1,2-Trifluoroethane - C2H3F3||3.8||1000||300|
|1,1,1-Trifluoroethane - C2H3F3||48.3||5000||3800|
|1,1,1,2,3,3,3-Heptafluoropropane - C3HF7||36.5||4300||2900|
|1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoropropane - C3H2F6||209||5100||6300|
|1,1,2,2,3-pentafluoropropane - C3H3F5||6.6||1800||560|
|Perfluoromethane - CF4||50000||4400||6500|
|Perfluoroethane - C2F4||10000||6200||9200|
|Perfluoropropane - C3F8||2600||4800||7000|
|Perfluorobutane - C4F10||2600||4800||7000|
|Perfluorocyclobutane - c-C4F8||3200||6000||8700|
|Perfluoropentane - C5F12||4100||5100||7500|
|Perfluorohexane - C6F14||3200||5000||7400|
More Serious Than You Thought
If we don't watch out, we could be devastated. Starting off, now it's rare to see a glacier. Some places that had glaciers twenty years ago have none today. Glacier National Park could have no glaciers in 2070. But most of the effects happen on the poles and equator.
Hurricanes like warm water. Hurricanes are formed when there is water at 81 or higher degrees. That is only a small part of the ocean, near the equator, often off the coast of Africa. Now suppose... the ocean is 81 degrees all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. So now, Quebec is having horrible hurricanes, occasionally like Hurricane Katrina. Of course, it's not that bad, but bigger storms are becoming more common.
Sea Level Rise
Now again, this isn't going to happen, but suppose, that the whole Antarctic Ice Sheet melted. That would be about 10m, or 32 feet sea level rise. Almost all ocean side houses would be covered in water. Most of Florida would be gone. Half of Long Island would be submerged in water, as well as a lot of New York City. A bunch of Louisiana and Mississippi would be missing. The west coast would be pretty much okay, but probably at least $20 billion would be lost. Even if there was a 6m rise in sea level, a lot of Florida would be destroyed. If there was e 1m rise in sea level, the United States would be okay, but places like Bangladesh would seriously be suffering. Recently, a boat crossing the Artic revealed that the Artic has almost no ice left!
The ocean is a carbon sink, or something that absorbs carbon dioxide. Now that there's more carbon dioxide in the air, there's more carbon dioxide in the sea. Some people estimate that there's 33% of our carbon dioxide in the sea. A lot or people think, "that's good, we're getting rid of CO2". We are getting rid of CO2, but we're changing the pH of the ocean. It used to be 8.25, but now it's 8.14. Click here to learn about what a pH is. Now, because of the change in acidity, some fish are having a hard time surviving. You wouldn't like a shortage of water - and have to drink vinegar!
You'd never guess Global Warming had anything to do with the economy. First of all, CO2 would become a lot cheaper, because of carbon dioxide capturing machines. That's part of the economy, but it's good for the environment. The other things are, storms will make production of things down. Also, fish are not very abundant because of too acidic environments. The fishing industry will be in trouble.
Being ready in this situation is hard. This involves everyone - companies, homeowners, landlords, governmental people - to help. Actually, you can help. First, you can get more energy efficient appliances, like CFL's, or even LED's for lighting. You can get energy star refrigerators, computers, computer screens, washer and driers, stoves, and anything that you can think of that uses a lot of electricity.
This step doesn't help with global warming much, but buy rechargeable batteries. After you've done that, you might be ready to get some solar panels to offset your electricity costs. You can get an estimate here. It's best to offset 100%, or even more. If you offset more, than you might be able to sell electricity back to your supplier! Some electric places don't do that, and just give you points. A point is basically some electricity, so you can get some free electricity. How useful when you don't need any electricity anymore!
If you live in a windy area, you can get a windmill or make a windmill. There's two ways to live when you're using renewable energy: On-grid and off-grid.On-grid - Your house is still connected to the grid. If you have too much energy, the energy goes into the grid, where another house can use it. If you don't have enough, it will bring energy from a power plant for you to use.
Problems With Solar
- So far, Solar is very inefficient. It is normally around 16% efficient, and gets less as it's life goes on.
- As much as we like solar, it costs sky-high. Most people are going to spend that $30,000 on a car, not solar panels (as strange as that sounds).
On-grid - an on-grid home is a home connected to the grid. If you need electricity, you'll take it off the grid from a power supplier or other solar-power home with too much energy. If you have too much energy, you'll give the energy to some other house. The other house pays your utility company for that, and your utility company pays you. You can't do an on-grid home yourself - it's illegal. Below is a diagram of an on-grid and off-grid home.
Off-grid - an off grid home is a home that's not connected to the grid. All the electricity goes into a bunch of batteries. When you need electricity, you'll get it out of the batteries, through an inverter. For an off-grid home, you'll need to know about solar. Below is a diagram of an on-grid and off-grid home.
On-grid is simple. Hire some people, and they'll do it for you. But if you want to do it yourself, try a small off-grid home first. What you need:
- Solar Panels - Look at some here. If you want a small one, click here. If you want a kit, click here. A kit will give you basically all you need.
- Charge Controller - A charge controller - well, controls the charge. A 12v solar panel typically puts out 21v. You need something to control that. Look at a list here. You can get a small one here, 4a. You can also get a big one (30A) here.
- Batteries Batteries are necessarily, as well as solar panels and charge controllers. You can get a 175 watt inverter here. You can get a lead acid battery here. You should get at least 55aH. 12*55 = 660, so it would take a little more than a day to charge that battery with a 80 watt solar panel. With a 5 watt solar panel, it would take about 132 hours of full sunlight to charge it, or about 20 days. That's good enough on a boat.
- Inverter - This is one thing you don't need sometimes. It turns 12v DC into 120v AC, or wall current. You can get a small one (175 watts coming out) here. It's not enough to power a microwave, but you might be able to run a computer off it, although it might shut down. You can look at more here.
That's about it. You can comment, question, and suggest things in our contact-us page.