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Global Warming: It's Worse Than We Thought
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Global Warming: It's Worse Than We Thought


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An introduction to the current state of concern about Global Warming and Climate Change.

An introduction to the current state of concern about Global Warming and Climate Change.

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  • 1. It’s Worse Than We Thought Global Warming Prepared for Philazine by Philip Woodard – 2008 – all rights reserved ©
  • 2. Conservative Estimates
    • Scientists are temperamentally conservative
    • Almost all their original estimates about the effects of global warming have underplayed the actual measured consequences
    • When their original estimates have been re-measured against actual changes, the effects have most often been more dire than they originally predicted
  • 3. NASA’s Dr. James Hansen
    • One of the world's leading climate scientists warned in October 2008 that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink their targets for cutting carbon dioxide 3.1
    • He says scientists have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem
    • “ The target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster”
    • Arctic Ice is melting 20 years ahead of schedule
  • 4. Effects Will Last for a 1000 Years
    • A 2009 study found that changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible
    • If carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions are stopped at around 450 ppm, the effects will last at least 1,000 years issues 4.1
  • 5. Ocean Acidification
    • Too much CO 2 in the oceans leads to acidification; marine life starts to die
    • This so-called 'tipping point' had been predicted to occur when atmospheric CO 2 levels hit 550 parts per million, around the year 2060
    • Current thinking has revised that tipping point to far lower atmospheric CO 2 levels – around 450 ppm: the goal set by many scientists to try to attain.
  • 6. Two More Examples
    • Nitrogen trifluoride, a green house gas that traps about 17,000 times more heat than carbon dioxide, wasn’t even counted in the 1997 Kyoto protocols 6.1
      • A gas from the manufacture of liquid crystal displays
      • 2006 estimate was 1,200 metric tons in the atmosphere
      • 2008 estimate was 5,400 metric tons in the atmosphere
    • NASA scientist says melting ice will cause a 50 cm rise by 2100
      • Rate of ice loss from Greenland has tripled since 2004
  • 7. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100 3.1
    • A one degree increase
      • The Great Plains from Texas to the Canadian prairies become a desert: Sahara-like with no agriculture
      • Resurgent North African monsoons bring more rainfall to the Sahara (Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon)
      • No snow or ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro or the Alps
      • Hotter than the one degree rise at both poles
    • A two degree increase
      • European summers routinely as hot as record breaker, 2003
      • Southern Mediterranean looses one fifth of its rainfall
      • Greenland ice sheet completes its melting; Andean and Peruvian glaciers melt
      • Sierra Nevada snow pack looses 75 percent of its water
      • 30 percent of animal species vanish from habitat loss
  • 8. Glaciers
  • 9. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100
    • A three degree increase
      • Guaranteed if we don’t significantly reduce atmospheric carbon by 2018
      • Amazonian basin dries up – no longer a jungle but a desert
        • This is a tipping point bringing about by itself another one degree rise
      • Much of the planet becomes uninhabitable – Southern Africa and Australia are barren deserts
        • 100s of millions or billions of refugees migrate north looking for food
        • Winter flooding threatens low-lying Western European regions
    • A four degree increase
      • Arctic and Siberian permafrosts melt
        • Another tipping point bringing about another one degree rise all by itself
      • Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey have Saharan like climates
      • Sea levels rise by between 9 and 88 cm (3.5 inches to 35 inches)
        • A 36-inch increase in sea levels would swamp every city on the East Coast of the United States, from Miami to Boston
  • 10. Warming Forecasts
  • 11. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100
    • A six degree increase
      • Climate like the Permian period, 251 million years ago, 95% of species go extinct
      • Soil erosion removes most the planet’s plant cover
      • Deserts in central Europe and near the Arctic Circle
    • A five degree increase
      • Crocodiles and turtles in the Canadian high Arctic
      • Tropical breadfruit trees grow on the coast of Greenland
      • Forests grow in central Antarctica
  • 12. Polar Ice Caps – The Big Deal
    • Sea level rise: with 5,773,000 cubic miles of water in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow, a complete melt means the seas would rise about 230 feet
    • Ocean desalinization: fresh water will make oceans less salty, changing ocean currents and atmospheric temperatures
    • Species die off: Only the most adaptable of Arctic species will survive
    • No ice means no reflection : darker colored ocean water will absorb more sunlight, further warming the Earth
  • 13. Glacier Melting Since 1970
  • 14. What We Know for Sure
    • Global surface temperatures have increased 0.74 ± 0.18 ° C (1.33 ± 0.32 ° F ) during the 100 years ending in 2005
  • 15.
    • Global surface temperatures have spiked since the Industrial Revolution in 1800
    Earth’s Temperature: Last 2000 Years
  • 16.
    • Surface temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations correlate
    Consensus Cause
  • 17. Atmospheric Gases
    • From 1750 to 2000 (about 250 years) a half-trillion tons of carbon were burned
    • From 2000 to 2040 (about 40 years) another half trillion tons are scheduled to burn
  • 18. Who’s to Blame
    • Green House Gases by Country
  • 19. Current U.S. Energy Consumption
  • 20. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part One
    • One in eight bird species, or 1,226 of almost 10,000 bird species, are at risk of extinction 19.1
    • 2007 marked highest ever summer temperatures in the Arctic -- 9 ◦ F or 5 ◦ C above historic averages
    • 28 of Yosemite’s animal species are moving their range to higher elevations – 1600 feet higher
    • 150,000 people, says the World Health Organization, die every year by climate-change-related issues 19.2
    • Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets are melting
    • Terrestrial carbon is being released from the permafrost regions
    • Methane hydrates are being released from coastal sediments
  • 21. Temperature Changes 1900 - 2000 16.1
  • 22. Historic Draughts -- 2008
  • 23. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Two
    • Glaciers not at the North and South poles have decreased by 50% since the end of the 19th century 17.1
    • Summer lasts longer in the Northern hemisphere – just in the last five years 17.2
      • High temperatures in October are about 1 degree above their historic averages
      • In September high temperatures are almost 2 degrees above their historic averages
    • Precipitation is increasing, particularly at northern mid-high latitudes with much of the increase coming in more frequent heavy rainfall events
  • 24. Spruce Trees Break Thru Arctic Tundra
  • 25. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Three
    • Mean sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1.7 mm/year (plus or minus 0.5mm) over the past 100 years. Since 1993, sea has been rising 3.3 mm/year: doubling the average increase
    • Average global temperatures have increased 1.8 ◦ F or 1 ◦ C over the past 100 years
    • Northern Hemisphere snow cover has remained below average since 1987 and has decreased by about 10% since 1966
    • Lake Chad, which supports 20 million people, has shrunk to 5% of its size in 1973
  • 26. Current Patterns of Warming
  • 27. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Four
    • The nine hottest years on record have all occurred in the last eleven years
      • The warmest year on record – 2005
    • Inhabitants of some small and low island countries are abandoning their islands
      • Carteret Islands are off the coast of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. 2,600 people are forced to move
    • Parts of Australia, China, the Middle East, Argentina, California, and Texas are experiencing droughts simultaneously
    • In American south west, fire frequency is up by 400 percent and land burned is up by 650 percent since 1970 21.1
  • 28. Current Patterns of Warming
  • 29. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Five
    • One fifth of all the coral reefs in the ocean have been lost to warming and acidification
    • 2100 sea level rise now pegged at 150 cm (60 inches or 5 five)
    • An irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years
    • Arctic ice shrank to 1.74 million square miles, 0.86 million square miles below the average from 1979 to 2000
    • Trees in Western U.S. are dying at twice their historic rate
  • 30. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Six
    • End of the traditional African monsoon rains have helped spark the killing in Darfur 27.1
    • Because of increase in storms, home insurance on U.S. Gulf Coast is much more expensive
    • Spread of dengue fever and other tropical maladies, such as malaria, borne by mosquitoes is increasing
    • Northern Europe’s grape growing regions are changing characteristics of their wine
  • 31. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Seven
    • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef hit its tipping point in 1990
      • Shrinking ever since
      • Gone by 2050
    • Ten ice shelves have receded or collapsed around the Antarctic peninsula in the past 50 years
      • In total, about 25,000 sq km of ice shelves have been lost, changing maps of Antarctica – the shelves had been in place for at least 10,000 years
      • Antarctica's ice sheets contain enough water to raise world sea levels by 57 meters
  • 32. What’s Happened by 2009 – Part Eight
    • Chacaltaya, an 18,000 year-old glacier, tucked away at 17,388 feet above sea level has completely melted away
    • The level of Lake Mead, Nevada – U.S. largest reservoir has dropped by 100 feet since 2000
  • 33. One Key is Conservation
    • Escalators in the U.S. are estimated to use 2.6 billion kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to powering 375,000 houses at a cost of roughly U.S. $260 million
  • 34. Endnotes
    • 3.1 Ed Pilkington , “Climate Target is Not Radical Enough,” The Guardian, April 7, 2008
    • 4.1 “Global Warming is Irreversible,” BBC website, January 27, 2009 BACK
    • 6.1 Mark Lynas , “Six Steps to Hell,” The Guardian, April 23, 2007 BACK
    • 19.1 Alister Dolye , “Birds' Decline Shows Wider Damage
    • Rueters News, October 9, 2008 BACK
    • 19.2 Doug Struck , “Climate Change Drives Disease To New Territory, Washington Post, May 5, 2006 BACK
    • 17.1 Green Facts web site, Update 2007 BACK
    • 17.1 Munichre , web site, “Retreat of the Glaciers,” 2008 BACK
    • 17.2 Shaun McKinnon , “It's Official: Summer's Heat Lingers Longer into Fall,” Arizona Republic, Oct. 25, 2008 BACK
    • 21.1 Natu re Conservancy , website, “Climate Change Impacts,” Oct. 25, 2008 BACK
    • 21.1 Scientific American, website, “Ten Places Affect by Climate Change,” Dec. 23, 2008 BACK