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Caring for Earth
The Gas Effect, Part 2



The Gas Effect, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.88

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    climatologists, databases, methane, burning, reduction, mileage, grazing, coastal, production, traps, altogether, greenhouse, agriculture, atmosphere, contribute, predict
     content words:    In The Gas Effect, United States


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The Gas Effect, Part 2
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Scientists and environmentalists may agree that the Earth's temperature has increased during the last century. However, scientists are not sure if the increase in temperature is from the activities of humans or if it is part of the Earth's natural climate cycle. In The Gas Effect, Part 1, you read about greenhouse gases and their relation to global warming. Let us look at the human activity that may contribute to global warming.
 
2     Scientists believe that burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum may cause global warming. The burning of these fuels produces CO2, N2O, and methane as waste. As the world's need for lumber increases, we continue to cut down more trees than we replace. This is called deforestation, and it may be another reason there is more CO2 in our atmosphere. Livestock production may also add to global warming. When there is an increase in cattle production, there is an increase in animal waste, which produces methane gas. Larger numbers of cattle require more grazing land (deforestation), and more fossil fuels are used for the machines on livestock farms. All of this adds up to increases in greenhouse gases, which traps more heat and increases global temperatures. Keep in mind, scientists have used their observations to develop possible reasons for global warming. However, any scientist will tell you that it is difficult to predict the Earth's future climate.
 
3     Scientists have debated the methods used for predicting the effect of global warming on the Earth's environment and for modeling the Earth's future climate. Some scientists have predicted that global warming may cause the melting of polar ice caps. Melting ice caps could cause rising sea levels and coastal flooding. Changes in rainfall patterns and an increase in tropical storms may affect the world's agriculture. Certain crops could disappear or grow erratically in different parts of the world. These changes can also influence the environments of different species of animals, causing their numbers to decrease or disappear altogether. Just think, if what scientists predict is true, then our land, water, climate, and quality of life will be affected greatly by global warming.

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