Life As the earth began to cool
Lifeon the planet Earth began as we know it around 3.5 billon years ago, with Earthbeing formed around 4.5 billon years ago. Semi-molten rocks from space formedthe surface, making it extremely hot and filled with large amounts of chemicalssuch as carbon from the molten rocks. As the earth began to cool in surfacetemperature, water vapor from the impact of the rocks was able to condense,forming liquid water and producing rain. Eventually, oceans formed from thecooling of the earth, and molecules that were central to life had the abilityto form in the oceans and waterways. The physical and chemical propertiesof water support the evolution of life by allowing it to be able to dissolvenearly anything and be capable of having many different forms (solid, liquid,and gas) in a small range of temperatures. Since water is able to flow, it isan essential ingredient for transferring substances from a cell to itsenvironment because of its ease of gaining energy from a liquid.
Additionally,water is able to carry things inside and outside of a cell, because of itspolarity of two hydrogen atoms that are bonded to an atom of water. Since wateris an excellent transmitter of elements or other substances, it is exceptionalat transporting essential life-creating substances such as phosphates, whichare able to hold DNA and RNA together, essential for the formation of any neworganisms. Evolution is a never-endingoccurance. Organisms are constantly evolving over time to better become suitedand adapted to their enviornments, increasing their chances of survival. Thisidea of never-ending evolution can be physically seen in the planet Earthitself – its systems and processes essential to the earth are constantlychanging over time. Unfortunately, the aspects of evolution of the earth aren’tall positive. Over the past century, Earth’s systems have been changing atrapid rates, mostly presumed to be due to the pollution and excess chemicalscreated by humans to support industry and a growing population.
This paper willanalyze the earth’s systems from the past century to form predictions on whatlife on earth will be like within the next century. Earth’s Atmosphere As mentioned previously, oxygen is one of the mainfactors that involved the development of life. Oxygen makes up a portion of theatmosphere, which is approximately 218 miles thick, allowing us as organisms tobe able to breathe. As we exhale, carbon dioxide is produced, which in returnalso form a portion of the atmospheric gasses. The main gas forming theatmosphere is nitrogen (78%). Nitrogen is important because it allows forgrowth and reproduction in plants and animals because of it being in aminoacids to form proteins, that in exchange form nucleic acids to make up anindividual organism. The secondary gas making up the atmosphere is oxygen(21%). Next are argon and carbon dioxide, however they form less than 1.
5% ofthe atmosphere. The remaining gases are Trace amounts of neon, helium, methane, krypton andhydrogen, as well as water vapor. However, as time has been going on, carbondioxide levels have been rapidly increasing. This increase is unfortunately dueto the increase in burning of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are, “geologic depositsof organic materials, decayed plants andanimals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oilsby exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over hundreds of millionsof years” (Science Daily). The burning of fossil fuels provides heat fro ourhomes, fuel for our cars, and electricity. However, since they cause a lot ofpollution and release a lot of carbon dioxide when burned, they havecontributed to the extreme increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As you can view in theimage above, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have always been under 300parts per million. However, now they have exceeded that value, and are around385 parts per million. Because of this increase within less than 70 years, itcan only be imagined how the levels will increase within this next century.Since the populations are rising, more housing, vehicles, and food will have tobe produced to support them.
All of this production for the population willrequire the use of fossil fuels to power the process unless a reasonable andbudget-friendly solution for power use can be created. If carbon dioxide levelsin the atmosphere continue to rapidly rise, air temperatures will rise, causingmore water vapor to rise in the atmosphere, making greenhouse heating moresevere. As mentioned briefly above, the greenhouse effect regulates theheat radiated from Earth towards space. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth’saverage temperature would be below freezing. However, many factors created bymankind is contributing to a negative impact created by the greenhouse effect –a rise in overall global temperature. CFC’s, chlorofluorocarbons, emitted byaerosols such as hairspray, get trapped in the atmosphere, warming the planet.
The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere controls the amount of water vaporpresent, determining the size of the greenhouse effect, setting the temperaturesof the atmosphere based on the amount of carbon present. This graph is able toprove the rapid increase of carbon dioxide concentrations and its effect onglobal temperature within an extremely relative short amount of time. Astemperatures are rising more and more every year from carbon dioxide levels, itdoesn’t leave much hope for the future. Most likely, within this next century,temperatures will continue to rise, creating serious impacts on our societysuch as the inability to grow certain crops if the temperatures exceed acertain level.
Overall, new low-cost ideas need to begin to emerge with thenext few years that will help us with electricity, heating, etc., yet won’tcontribute to as much pollution and negativity on our environment andatmosphere like fossil fuels and CFCs do.