how does an imbalance in the levels of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and ozone gases can have a detrimental effect to life on Earth.?

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  • 4 weeks ago

    Did your teacher write this question?  He or she is a nincompoop.  An "imbalance" can exist only relative to some imaginary balance.  

    Ozone as an example:  Mankind evolved in an environment with plenty of stratospheric ozone, but very little tropospheric ozone.  When we were manufacturing Freons for use in refrigeration, we were unwittingly destroying the stratospheric ozone that protects us from harmful UV radiation; automobile emissions can cause a build-up of tropospheric ozone which is a major component of smog and has negative effects on human health.

    There is no such thing as a "balance" of carbon dioxide.  It is widely agreed that high concentrations of CO2 have been and/or will be associated with high terrestrial temperatures, but high temperatures have not always been "bad."  However, a rapid change in surface temperature is likely to change a major extinction event, and humanity presumably is hoping not to be one of the extinguished species.

    Like CO2, methane is a greenhouse gas which, should its concentration increase, is likely to contribute to global warming.  Furthermore, hydrocarbons like methane are involved in the low-altitude chemistry that produces tropospheric ozone (see above).

    Water vapor?  Its concentration varies significantly with the weather.  Maybe what your teacher means by an "imbalance" is the "moist greenhouse" that could accompany a runaway global warming, where the seas evaporate and all the water is in the atmosphere.  We will all be dead long before that happens, because we cannot tolerate temperatures anywhere near the boiling point of water.

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