Our world is constantly changing, which is impacting the environment’s different plants, animal species & humans. One major impact on our environment is climate change. Since the mid 20th century, scientists have been collecting an abundant amount of data about our planet on a global scale, which has indicated that the climate is changing. The cause of the climate change is an amplification of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the process by which gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat which is radiating from the Earth towards space. The greenhouse effect is extremely important because it allows the Earth to stay warm & temperatures to be regulated. Since life on Earth depends on the sun for survival, the shortwave radiation from the sun moves through the atmosphere and is absorbed by land and the oceans. Radiation is reemitted from these bodies as long wave radiation, which can be absorbed by greenhouse gases. Some of the gases that are a part of the greenhouse effect are water vapor, nitrous oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
The greenhouse effect is extremely important for our atmosphere because it keeps a balanced temperature for the Earth to allow life to grow and survive. The greenhouse effect does not give the same balance to other planets in space due to their atmosphere. For example, the planet Mars has a very thin atmosphere with a very weak greenhouse effect caused by no methane or water vaper to contribute to the effect. This in turn causes Mars to have no signs of life due to the large frozen surfaces. Additionally, problems can occur when an atmosphere has too much of a greenhouse effect. For instance, the planet Venus’ atmosphere contains almost all carbon dioxide. Having too much of a greenhouse effect in an atmosphere can cause excruciating temperatures that are too hot to allow life to occur. It’s important to understand that the Earth’s atmosphere is extremely unique because of the balance of temperatures allowing life on Earth to exist and thrive.
Connecticut is located in the eastern coast of North America, it’s geographical location allows the state to experience cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Typically temperatures average 26°F in January and 72°F in July. Since the beginning of the 20th century, temperatures have increased about three degrees Fahrenheit. More recently, above average temperatures at night, exceeding 70°F, have been recorded in the last five years. While Connecticut’s temperature increasing about three degrees may not sound like a large change, it does impact our weather in a large way. For instance our winters now consist of more rain than snow. Furthermore, climate change is resulting in our summers becoming dryer and more humid with higher heat indexes. In turn, these temperatures are leading to climate change in our area with an increased number if of species and coastal communities and habitats being threatened.