Global Warming By: Jon Bachmann

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What is Global Warming
Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising. The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it’s already happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. We’re already seeing changes. Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing.

Discovery of Global Warming
Roger Revelle was the first to discover global warming. In 1957 they started sending out weather balloons in the Pacific. They measured the C02 levels and found that C02 was rising dramatically. He, along with his team, discovered that after a while the charts started going up, then down, but slowly increasing. This up and down movement is due to when the northern hemisphere is facing the sun the trees breathe in the C02 and the amount goes down. When it is pointing to the southern hemisphere it exhales the C02 and the amount goes up.

Death from Global Warming will double in just 25 years this would be 300,000 deaths. Heat waves will become more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wild fires will occur more often. The Arctic Ocean could be ice free if we continue the path we are on and what is already happening, by the summer of 2050. More than a million species could be driven to extinction by 2050. Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.

The Earth has a natural CO2 cycle that moves massive amounts of CO2 into and out of the atmosphere. The oceans and land vegetation release and absorb over 200 billion metric tons of carbon into and out of the atmosphere each year. When the cycle is balanced, atmospheric levels of CO2 remain relatively stable. Human activities are now adding about 7 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, which is only about 3-4% of the amount exchanged naturally. But that's enough to knock the system out of balance, surpassing nature's ability to take our CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. The oceans and land vegetation are absorbing about half of our emissions; the other half remains airborne for 100 years or longer. This is what is causing the rapid buildup of CO2, a buildup that surpasses natural fluctuations.

CO2 Past and Present
Ice cores have been collected from Antarctica and Greenland which contain information stored in the ice that can be used to reconstruct climates thousands of years ago. As snow accumulates on ice caps and ice sheets where temperatures usually remain below freezing year round, it lays down a record of the environmental conditions at the time of its formation. Over time the snow, buried under further accumulations, is compacted to ice, preserving the climatic information. Air bubbles trapped in the ice can be analyzed to reconstruct the atmospheric composition at the time when the ice formed. Measurements of the amount of greenhouse gases in these bubbles show that the "pre-industrial" amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 280 parts per million, about 100 below today’s value.


Solving Global Warming will not be easy, but if we start taking small steps we could make are personal emissions 0. Start out by recycling and composting, and use REUSABLE items. Buy green appliances for your home especially florescent bulbs. Promote/use renewable energy sources for your home. Some of these renewable sources are Solar, Wind, Hydroelectric, Tidal Power, Wave Power, and Geothermal. For transportation if possible walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation. If not possible by fuel efficient cars, like hybrids or “plug in” cars. Soon more of these non gasoline powered cars will be on the market like bio diesel powered cars, hydrogen fuel cell powered cars, and electric. This will not be easy but if we act now we can solve the man made problem of Global Warming.
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