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Global Warming

Essay by   •  February 11, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,401 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,846 Views

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Global temperatures on the Earth's surface have increased by 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit during the last century, faster than any time in the last 1000 years (Rauber 41). Consequently, the 1990s was the warmest decade in the last 1000 years ("Global Warming"). As humans emit fossil fuels, greenhouse gasses slowly warm the Earth's atmosphere ("EPA Global"). This gradual process is known as global warming. As glaciers begin to melt, sea levels rise and coastal areas in Florida may suffer immense losses ("Beach Erosion"). Florida's tourist economy may also suffer a tremendous loss, as well as agriculture ("Florida Scientists"). With a warmer atmosphere, disease will spread quicker and human health will be threatened throughout the state ("Global Warming"). Serious action needs to be taken in order to slow the process of global warming.

Global Warming is an increase in the temperature of the Earth due to the use of fossil fuels and industrial processes that build up to the emission of greenhouse gasses, mostly carbon dioxide and methane ("Global Warming Threatens"). As energy from the sun strikes the surface of the earth, it turns into heat which, in turn, releases the heat as long-wave infrared radiation (Crowe). Gasses in the air, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor, trap some of this radiation as it tries to make its way back out to space (Olgesby). These gases trap in heat as do the windows of a greenhouse; therefore, they are called greenhouse gases (Elston). As an excess amount of these gasses are emitted into the Earth's atmosphere by industries and fossil fuels, the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere gradually increases (Oglesby). Humans escalate the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and by many manufacturing processes (Crowe). In the U.S., from 1990-1997, carbon dioxide emissions have increased 10.7 percent (Elston). This activity and a warming atmosphere are causing drastic changes around the earth, especially in Florida.

Global warming poses a threat to Florida's beaches and freshwater supplies due to a rise in sea level ("Southeast"). Warming the atmosphere will raise sea levels by expanding ocean water, melting mountain glaciers, and melting parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet ("Beach Erosion"). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the local sea levels may rise 8 to 30 inches by the year 2100 ("Global Warming Threatens..."). The horizontal advance can be 150 to 200 times greater than the sea level rise, and even greater in areas with a moderate sloping shoreline (Alvarez et al). Consequently, saltwater will be forced to move landward, which shifts the border between saltwater and freshwater inland and causes the encroachment of saltwater into groundwater aquifers ("Southeast"). Over the longer-term, a three-foot sea level rise could be disastrous for aquifers in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Homestead areas, which are located on the low coastal ridge (Alvarez et al).

In addition, rising sea levels put at risk the stateТs number one status as a retirement and tourist destination ("Global Warming Threatens"). Hotels, homes, and property within 200 to 250 feet of the current shoreline may be flooded ("Florida Scientists"). This, in turn, will alter the $51 billion annual revenue from Florida's tourist economy ("Florida Scientists"). According to the stateТs tourist development agency, 71 million people visited Florida in 2000 (Alvarez et al). Miami Beach alone generates $2 billion a year in tourism revenues, and the Florida Keys generates $1.8 billion annually (Alvarez et al). The state's economy will suffer significantly as higher seas flood all property on these beaches ("Global Warming Threatens"). Many of Florida's cities by the sea, including Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, Palm Beach, Clearwater, Key West, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Pensacola, and Marco Island, will face great hardships due to a rise in sea level (Alvarez et al).

A warming atmosphere will also lead to changes in Florida's agriculture which is highly sensitive to changes in weather and climate ("Southeast"). The production of citrus, sugarcane, and tomatoes adds billions of dollars to Florida's economy ("Florida Scientists"). Global warming's effects on agriculture will vary by location and on the specific crop (Alvarez et al). Warming temperatures and carbon dioxide fertilization will increase citrus production by about 6 to 20 percent

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