Global warming


8.6.5 Outline some of the mechanisms that may increase the rate of global warming.


The main mechanism that leads to global warming is the greenhouse effect. When the rays of ultraviolet light from the sun reach the Earth, around 30% is reflected off into space, and 70% is absorbed. This 70% is absorbed by the surface of the earth and released as infrared waves, which creates heat. Some of these infrared rays travel back into space, although some greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor keep the infrared rays from exiting the Earth's atmosphere. Recently, the increase in the amount of green house gases (most gases with more than 3 atoms), such as CO2 from cars and factories, has led to more infrared waves' being trapped and therefore an increase in the Earth's temperature. This increase in the Earth's temperature causes more infrared rays to be produced from the surface.

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This is a visual representation.

The reason that greenhouse gases increase in temperature due to infrared rays is due to the fact that the natural frequency of these gases are close to the frequency of the infrared.
This causes resonance and makes the greenhouse gases vibrate with a higher amplitude and therefore causes an increase in the temperature.

This mechanic will lead to the increase in the temperature of the Earth Surface, and this may in turn cause more water vapor to be in the atmosphere.
Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, and will also lead to an increase in temperature.
Ice reflects a lot of the UV light so when the increased temperature causes ice to melt, it also increases the amount of light that the Earth absorbs.
Therefore, the "global warming" becomes a chain-like cycle in which the rate of the Earth's temperature increase will seem to accelerate.
Also, deforestation also adds to global warming through releasing Carbon Dioxide as well as reducing carbon fixation, which is the conversion of gas carbon dioxide into solid carbon.


Kirk, T.K. (2003). Ib study guide physics.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mechanism of global warming. (n.d.).
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