Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Climate Change/Warm Weather




It is evident in the world around us that very dramatic changes are taking place. One of those changes happens to be warm weather. When talking about “warm weather,” I mean to say that the temperature has gone up. Unfortunately, temperature increases are taking place all over the world today, including the oceans. Watching a video on global warming provided me a lot of great information. I learned that the climate is actually a global system powered by the heat of the sun. What happens is most of the energy gets reflected straight back into space by white surfaces of clouds and ice. The rest functions as a kind of pump, which drives ocean currents, evaporation, snow and rain. The warmer the air, the more active and energetic the system becomes, which then leads to extreme weather worldwide (“Be Prepared for Global Warming”).

Sadly, the planet we live in approaches sustained higher temperatures today than ever before. Today, I came to know that our climate is changing faster than it has ever since the past 10,000 years. As I was watching a video called, “Be Prepared for Global Warming,” I couldn’t believe that the hottest years on record were the years 1998, 2001, and 2002! Along with watching this video, I read on ABC news that warm days and warm nights have tremendously increased over the past 20 years. Over the 20th century, the average global temperature has already increased by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Well, we know that temperatures are increasing, but how fast? I cannot say that I know how fast the temperatures are increasing, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that temperatures are going to increase by 1.8-4.0 degrees Celsius this century.




Climate change is happening today, but has anyone ever had the curiosity to know why this is happening? Seeing the "Global Warming: What's Up With the Weather," video informed me that human activities could possibly be the reason. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “Scientists have estimated the contribution to warming made by a range of gases, dust and solar radiation. They have a high level of certainty that greenhouse gases contribute the most to warming, with increases in CO2 as the greatest contributor with about 1.4 watts/meter2 and methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons making smaller contributions.” To put this in simpler terms, the Earth is heating up because gases produced from vehicles, power plants, deforestation, and other sources are building up in the atmosphere, acting like a thick blanket over the planet.




According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture- further endangering food security, sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases.” Sadly, climate change is already affecting our lives and there is no preparation done for it. It sounds hard to believe, but Scientists have determined that there really is nothing that can be done to stop climate change. Even if precaution is taken, sea levels and temperatures will still continue to rise. Still, carbon emissions are suggested to be reduced because if precaution is not taken, situations will only get worse.

References:

Be Prepared for Global Warming. DVD Video. Films for The Humanities & Sciences. A Films Media Group Company, 2005.

"Climate Change." United Nations Environment Programme.
2007. UNEP. 20 Nov 2007 . <http://unep.org/themes/climatechange/about/index.asp>

GLOBAL WARMING: What’s Up With The Weather? Dir. Alan Ritsko. Videocassette. A Frontline/NOVA co-production with The Palfreman Film Group, Inc., 2000.

"Global Warming and Warm Weather: Connected?." ABCNews.
2007. ABCNews Internet Ventures. 20 Nov 2007 . <http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2775291&page=1>


"Human Activity And Greenhouse Gases." Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007. National Academy of Sciences. 20 Nov 2007 . <http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/causes03.jsp>


"Modeling of long-term fossil fuel consumption shows 14.5-degree hike in Earth's temperature" Public Affairs. 29 Oct 2007. 20 Nov 2007. <http://www.llnl.gov/PAO/news/news_releases/2005/NR-05-11-01.html>

2 comments:

bryon said...

Another great post! Ever since we started blogging on global warming I have realized that it might have been either a serious mistake or a wonderful idea. The reason I wish I hadn't started learning about global warming is I actually think I have learned to much and have realized we are in major trouble. I can't help but think of my two daughters (1 of which was born this past Sunday) and know they will have to deal with these problems more than we will. I also feel glad about learning about global warming because I have actually started altering my life a little bit to be more earth friendly and do my part to make this world better for our future generations. Good job.

Bryon

Julie P. said...

This was a great, informative post. You have really captured my attention with the discussion of warm weather (making me think, specifically of the day before Thanksgiving and even Thanksgiving morning, when I was contemplating running outside instead of at the gym).

I know it's hard to write about this stuff, but your and Bryon's work is just helping prepare us for our future and that of our extended families. The more we know the better prepared we can be, and the better decisions we can make politically, environmentally, and ethically (even though they're all related, really).

Good data!