Chronicles of Global Warming

Shivantha Withanage


Today the main topic of every field in world is Global Warming. Most of the medias are trying to give awareness about global warming, what kind of affects could be happen by that and what can we do to stop them. Global warming is something that planet earth needs for the natural existence. Without global warming earth could be a very cold place. Everywhere in earth will be like Antarctica. So we cannot stop this scientific incident. We can only control it in the correct range that is safe for every living being on the planet.


The scientific reason for global warming is explained according to a universal phenomenon called the green house effect. Most people know about this scientific explanation but don’t know about the invention or the inventor.


Charles David Keeling is the scientist who explained about the environmental scientific basis of the global warming at the first place. In 1958 he set up an instrument called Manometer a devise which can measure the gnarliest green house gas of all; carbon dioxide (CO2). Then for a year he took daily measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where he set up his manometer. After that he made a graph using his readings. He found the CO2 level in summer has decreased and in winter it has increased. It was because; in the summer plants are grown and full of leaves. Through a reaction series called photo reaction and dark reaction CO2 is turned in to carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids inside the chloroplast in the leaves. This process is well known as the Photosynthesis. So if there are many leaves they can absorb extra CO2 and then the CO2 level has decreased. That’s the reason for calling plants as CO2 sinks. In the winter leaves have fallen and the photosynthesis is not going so well. So the CO2 level has increased because less amount of CO2 has been consumed. He called this as the Annual Cycle of atmospheric carbon dioxide


Keeling was fascinated from this discovery and continued his researches for another three decades and took daily measurements. After he graphed all his readings he was bemused from what he has found. He noticed that the high CO2 concentration in winter is increasing annually and the low CO2 concentration in the summer is also increasing annually. After analyzing all his data, he found that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing and let the world know this. The graph that Keeling made from his readings is now famous as the “Keeling Curve“.


In 2004 British Antarctic Survey team known as the “BAS” did a research based on Antarctic ice cap. They drilled the ice cap about 3 kilometers and took samples of the ice core. The oldest layers among those samples were about 650,000 years old. Then they analyze the air bubbles which had been trapped inside the frozen ice. After these analyses they found that CO2 concentration has increased from 27% in past 650,000 years. They also found the slow increase of CO2 concentration through past 650,000 years, when it took us modern day humans just 17 years to cause the same kind of increase. Again the connection between CO2 and global warming has proved.


The latest calculations shows that CO2 is the main green house gas (GHG) and its involvement for global warming is about 85%. The main source of this CO2 is burning fossil fuels. Daily 100 million tons of CO2 is released to atmosphere by human activities. So how could a world like this make statement about carbon neutralization? Through the way to conventions authorities should be more practical. Otherwise world would have no good but more Carbon Disasters.

Shivantha Withanage is a science student who is now studying at medical college. Since 2009 he is publishing on various fields of science. In 2010, he came up with his debut science project, “Traditional Ways of Water Purification“, where he attempted to evaluate the scientific basis of traditional wisdom of water purification in Sri Lanka. He is the son of senior environmental scientist Hemantha Withanage, who is based in Sri Lanka. 

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