Global Warming, Chapter One

August 12, 2007 at 5:39 pm (Climatology, College Related, Global Warming, Politics)

Before I begin, I need to explain a little about this post and those that will follow. I have decided to post the book I wrote in Advanced Composition about Global Warming, a very controversial subject. I recieved an A for the paper, so I feel it deserves some views, but if you disagree, that is fine.
I will only be posting one chapter at a time, to save eyes and brains from feeling the need to read the WHOLE damn thing (28 appleworks pages) all at once. Hope you all enjoy.

Chapter One:
The Debate over Global Warming

Strange rains, hot summers, sheets of ice falling into the Arctic Ocean have all contributed to a thirty year debate on the state of the atmosphere. Droughts in the Sahel area in Africa have caused alarm to that region in the late 1960’s through the 1970’s. For example, during 1972 the monsoons in India failed to produce rain in certain regions causing an eight percent drop in rice production, a failure in production of anchovy in Peru, and droughts in Australia and South America (Gribben 20).

Scientists attributed the failure of the monsoon winds and rains in Africa and India to the failure of the Inter–tropical Convergence Zone (ICZ) to move as far northward as it normally did during the northern hemisphere summer. The ICZ is the area that has the highest incoming solar radiation, or insolation, due to it’s proximity to the equator. Through wind and weather, this radiation is distributed all over the Earth. Due to the Earth’s tilt on its axis, the ICZ moves northward and southward throughout the course of the year. Scientists suggest that the weakening of the winds in the circumpolar vortex caused pressure on the warm air in the ICZ which pushed the rains southward, causing the monsoons to fail. In his book, Future Weather and the Greenhouse Effect, John Gribben explains, “All the evidence suggests that the climatic trials and tribulations of the 1970’s and early 1980’s…can be directly related to an expansion and weakening of the circumpolar vortex.” (20). Because the insolation was not distributed effectively, the region did not produce its normal rainfall.

Scientists agree that the failure of the monsoons and other strange weather patterns show that the earth’s climate is changing However, climate changes have occurred many times in Earth’s history, such as the Ice-Age. The question that climatologists are asking is what is different about the abnormal weather patterns that are occurring today and why are these changes occurring so rapidly?

The majority of scientists attribute this climate change to rapid warmth in the Earth’s atmosphere called global warming. These scientists have theorized that different gases released into the environment due to human industrialization has trapped solar radiation in the atmosphere and has caused the Earth’s overall temperature to rise about one degree over the past century. According to Beating the Heat: Why and How We Must Combat Global Warming, by John Berger, “The decade of the 1990’s was the hottest since 1860, when instruments first began to be widely used to track temperatures, and seven of the ten warmest years on record occurred during that decade” (35). The lack of monsoons over India in the 1970’s and record-setting summers in the 1990’s support the theory that global warming is occurring.

The gas related most significantly to global warming is carbon dioxide, or CO2. In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions scientists and study groups suggest putting strict standards on industries that burn fossil fuel, such as power plants that burn coal to produce electricity. Carbon dioxide is a heat trapping gas that naturally occurs in the atmosphere, but is being released at far greater than natural rates by these fuel-burning industries. Capping the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere would slow the rate of the Earth’s warming. New and better technologies would have to be used or innovated to comply with these proposed regulations.

There are two sides of the global warming issue: the skeptics that believe climate change is not related to human activity and is not harmful to the earth, and the advocates of policy change, which make up the majority of climatologists. The latter believe that the warming is directly related to human activity such as burning fossil fuels for energy, and that the results of a warmer earth could be disastrous. The few skeptics believe that climate change is a natural occurrence.

Despite evidence and the warnings of most climatologists, there is a small following of scientists that are against reducing greenhouse emissions standards for industrialized nations. Skeptics pose the argument that the climate is not going to change as rapidly as current models predict, and even if the change does occur, it will be natural and not related to the actions of human beings. Doubters also argue that significant changes won’t occur until the next century and that by then technology will allow us to produce fewer emissions. This handful of scientists also argue that the majority of climatologists that are advocating reduction of emissions are exaggerating the effects of global warming, such as higher sea levels and food shortages that have been predicted. Waiting and gathering data is the skeptics’ solution to the problem. Some argue that there will be no negative consequences at all. The conclusion that they have drawn from their research is that reducing pollution is an unnecessary cost to gross-polluting industries.

The debate rages on, with one side calling for immediate, drastic action, while the other side insists that the best action to take is allow scientists time to do more research. A valid point is made by the advocates for policy change when it is mentioned that in waiting for still more evidence human beings may seal the fate of the planet and it may soon be too late to reverse the effects of global warming. This book will show why policy change is the best course of action to take and what individuals can do to help begin the process of eliminating the global threat to the environment.

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2 Comments

  1. atomicsolarstorm said,

    good but you need more traffic

  2. music said,

    very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

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