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Green House Effect Exploration

Since 1997, more than 16,000 people have been killed worldwide by all types of severe weather conditions and nearly $50 billion in damage has occurred! (Life Magazine, 8/98). By most standards, the recent violent weather has been quite extraordinary. Some scientists believe that these weather events are just a natural cycle, while others believe that humans are changing their environment and contributing to the problem. One of the changes that is occurring is the gradual warming of our atmosphere from a process called "the Greenhouse Effect."

The climate of our planet is enormously affected by natural greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. As an example, look at Venus and Mars, our two nearest galactic neighbors. Venus, with its thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, has a "major" greenhouse effect. This contributes to an average surface temperature of 900 degrees (F), hot enough to melt lead! Mars, however, has an average surface temperature of only 80 degrees below zero! It's atmosphere of carbon dioxide is so thin there is virtually no greenhouse effect. (Sources: Environmental Defense Fund and USA Today)

Aren't you glad Earth's atmosphere and greenhouse effect are just right for supporting life? But we can have too much of a good thing. Humans do many things humans that cause our planet to get warmer. Let's learn more about "The Greenhouse Effect."

Below are a series of questions to guide your lightning explorations. To find the answers to each of these questions, click on the links below.

By the year 2030, the number of cars will increase by what percentage?
http://host.envirolink.org/edf/ [Hint: Read the scroll bar at the bottom of the camera]

Why is the Earth's atmosphere like a greenhouse?

What would the Earth's temperature be if there we no greenhouse gases?

How much has the Earth's average temperature increased over the last century?

How much is the Earth's average temperature projected to increase over the next century?
http:// www.worldbook.com/fun/wbla/earth/html/ed24.htm

What natural events and human actions affect global warming?
http://host.envirolink.org/edf/games/index.html [Hint: You'll find the answers in the Interactive graphic]

What are the top three countries emitting greenhouse gases?
http:// www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/global.warming/causes/

What are some things we can do to reduce global warming?
http://host.envirolink.org/edf/games/index.html; then click on "CO2 Emission Puzzle"

What does the greenhouse effect have to do with storms and climate change?
http:// www.usatoday.com/weather/askjack/wfaqhurw.htm
http:// www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/global.warming/signs/


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