Friday, May 4, 2012

Green Energy Wake-Up Calls: Global Warming, Acid Rain, and Smog

The particles and gases from auto exhaust pipes can create photochemical smog. This form of smog is very often found in hot, dry and bright cities like Athens in Greece, Cairo in Egypt and Mexico City. The automobile exhaust pipes pump out gases like nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and ozone that react together in the sunlight. The result is a smoggy haze over the city.

LA in California, USA, has suffered badly during the past from smog. The smog was due partly to the exhaust fumes from millions of cars, but also from the local geography. The town lies by the coast and is encircled by mountains. In certain climatic conditions, the smoggy air would be encircled over the city, and air quality would fall steadily until atmospheric conditions changed and the smoggy air was replaced by cleaner air. A hazy layer can still be seen over Los Angeles, but the level of pollutants has fallen dramatically due to new legislation and improved pollution control on vehicles.

Acid rain

Coal-fired power stations release sulphur dioxide, particularly those burning lignite coal. This gas, together with nitrous oxides from car exhausts, reacts with water in the air to form puny acids. These acids create acid rain — rain that has a lower pH than ordinary. Acid rain erodes and damages the exterior of buildings and statues, especially than made of limestone.

Acid rain falling on conifer forests in mountainous areas of Scandinavia, North America and central Europe has caused long—term damage to the trees. The soils get more acid and this causes noxious compounds, such as aluminum, to be released. The 1st appearances of damage are a tree\’s needles turning brown and whole branches dying. Increased acidity in the soil damages trees \’ roots, and this reduces their capability to take up water and nutriments. The trees become even more exposed to frost and disease. Ultimately, they die.

Lakes are also exposed. The acidic rainwater drains off soils into the lake, making it become even more acid. Aluminum in the water causes the gills of fish to supply more mucus, and this prohibits them from getting sufficient oxygen from the water. In extreme cases, all life in the water may die.

Global warming

Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is described as a \’greenhouse \’ gas, because it traps heat in the atmosphere. The presence of some greenhouse gases keeps the Earth at a temperature of approximately 15C, which permits life to survive. A recent increase in the usage of fossil fuels has caused the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to extend, too. More carbon dioxide implies that more heat is surrounded, and this has caused the average world temperature to rise. This is named global warming.

The exposed solar power effects of global warming are uncertain, but it\’s probable that the skyrocketing temperatures will disrupt climates around the globe, causing some regions to have lower rainfall and other regions to have more. The hotter temperatures will cause ice caps and glaciers to melt, which, mixed with the growth of water in oceans, will cause sea levels to rise, flooding low lying areas which are heavily populated. Acute weather events such as droughts and storms could also become more common.

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