To begin with, humans causing global warming tends to bring up images of a planet getting hotter and hotter. Actually, average temperatures have been going steadily up over the past century or so. However, global temperatures were not rising much in the past decade, and you may have noticed that it is still cold in the winter. This is for a couple of reasons.
GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
First of all, the warming is gradual and averaged over time and space. The warming is not like a pan of water on the stove that keeps evenly heating up until it boils. The warming is spread out over the globe and averaged. Increases are small by our senses, only a degree or so Centigrade. You would probably not feel the difference. However, rather meticulous records do show a continuous upward trend over time. It is this trend that is really important, since trends in nature tend to continue unless interrupted.
For example, in 1997-98 there was an an El Nino ocean warming event. The water in a long band across the Pacific Ocean roughly offshore of Peru and parallel to the equator warmed only 3-4 degrees or so centigrade. This seemingly small warming proved truly catastrophic however from drought in China to floods in the Americas. The natural system we live in is actually pretty sensitive to temperature changes. If we were highly tolerant bacteria it wouldn’t matter. However, humans tend to be strongly affected by drought and flood conditions.
Secondly, temperature changes are not equally and uniformly spread out. It might be warmer in one place, and cooler in another. It is the global average that matters. Personally, we would like to see the term Global Climate Change used in place of Global Warming. Again though, the trend is up. Sooner or later the warming will even out and be felt in some amount everywhere on the planet. This appears to be the case in places like the Arctic Ocean where ice is melting more and more every summer. The North pole may become a summer swimming hole in a few decades at the present rate.
HOW YOUR CAR CONTRIBUTES TO GLOBAL WARMING
Over 99% of cars and trucks these days burn either gasoline or diesel fuel to move them down the road. It is a chemical fact that every gallon of one of these fuels burned in an internal combustion engine produces about 20 pounds weight of Carbon Dioxide. You can find the equations for this in many places like the US EPA.
So, every gallon of fuel you burn in your car is producing 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.
HOW MUCH IS 20 POUNDS OF CO2 GAS ANYWAY? A HOUSE PER GALLON.
1. 20 pounds of CO2 gas occupies about 170 cubic feet, enough to fill 23-55 gallon drums with pure gas.
2. The gas that comes out of your tailpipe gets dispersed into the atmosphere however. This is a good thing, or we would suffocate on the CO2. How much it disperses is really interesting. As it happens, the CO2 from one gallon of gasoline dispersed to 450 ppm is 375,000 cubic feet. That is enough to fill a 200′ x 187.5′ x 10′ high sq ft warehouse!
Every gallon of gasoline you burn puts a warehouse full of dispersed CO2 into the air. A warehouse per gallon.
WHAT TO DO?
As you can see, what you do is important, especially if other people follow your example. Try to burn just a few gallons less fuel per week to start. Drive an electric car. Walk or ride a bike, it is good physical conditioning anyway. Take public transport if it works out. Combine errands. There are things you can do.
To read the details and view graphics regarding the numbers in the article above, just visit: http://evsroll.com/Humans_causing_global_warming.html