Global Warming and Climate Change

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This is an introduction to global warming and climate change prepared by the staff of www.philazine.com: a web zine about the environment.

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Global Warming and Climate Change

  1. 1. It’s Worse Than We Thought Global Warming Prepared for Philazine by Philip Woodard – 2008 – all rights reserved ©
  2. 2. Conservative Estimates <ul><li>Scientists are temperamentally conservative </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all their original estimates about the effects of global warming have underplayed the actual measured consequences </li></ul><ul><li>When their original estimates have been re-measured against actual changes, the effects have most often been more dire than they originally predicted </li></ul>
  3. 3. NASA’s Dr. James Hansen <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>He says scientists have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem </li></ul><ul><li>“The target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Two Examples <ul><li>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 4.1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A gas from the manufacture of liquid crystal displays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2006 estimate was 1,200 metric tons in the atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008 estimate was 5,400 metric tons in the atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NASA scientist says melting ice will cause a 50 cm rise by 2100 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rate of ice loss from Greenland has tripled since 2004 </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100 3.1 <ul><li>A one degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Great Plains from Texas to the Canadian prairies become a desert: Sahara-like with no agriculture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resurgent North African monsoons bring more rainfall to the Sahara (Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No snow or ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro or the Alps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hotter than the one degree rise at both poles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A two degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>European summers routinely as hot as record breaker, 2003 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Southern Mediterranean looses one fifth of its rainfall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenland ice sheet completes its melting; Andean and Peruvian glaciers melt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sierra Nevada snow pack looses 75 percent of its water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30 percent of animal species vanish from habitat loss </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Glaciers
  7. 7. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100 <ul><li>A three degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guaranteed if we don’t significantly reduce atmospheric carbon by 2018 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazonian basin dries up – no longer a jungle but a desert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This is a tipping point bringing about by itself another one degree rise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Much of the planet becomes uninhabitable – Southern Africa and Australia are barren deserts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>100s of millions or billions of refugees migrate north looking for food </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Winter flooding threatens low-lying Western European regions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>A four degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arctic and Siberian permafrosts melt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Another tipping point bringing about another one degree rise all by itself </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey have Saharan like climates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sea levels rise by between 9 and 88 cm (3.5 inches to 35 inches) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A 36-inch increase in sea levels would swamp every city on the East Coast of the United States, from Miami to Boston </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Warming Forecasts
  9. 9. Current Estimates – 6 Degrees Hotter by 2100 <ul><li>A six degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate like the Permian period, 251 million years ago, 95% of species go extinct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil erosion removes most the planet’s plant cover </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deserts in central Europe and near the Arctic Circle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A five degree increase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Crocodiles and turtles in the Canadian high Arctic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tropical breadfruit trees grow on the coast of Greenland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forests grow in central Antarctica </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Polar Ice Caps – The Big Deal <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>Ocean desalinization: fresh water will make oceans less salty, changing ocean currents and atmospheric temperatures </li></ul><ul><li>Species die off: Only the most adaptable of Arctic species will survive </li></ul><ul><li>No ice means no reflection : darker colored ocean water will absorb more sunlight, further warming the Earth </li></ul>
  11. 11. What We Know for Sure <ul><li>Global surface temperatures have increased 0.74 ± 0.18 ° C (1.33 ± 0.32 ° F ) during the 100 years ending in 2005 </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Global surface temperatures have spiked since the Industrial Revolution in 1800 </li></ul>Earth’s Temperature: Last 2000 Years
  13. 13. <ul><li>Surface temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations correlate </li></ul>Consensus Cause
  14. 14. <ul><li>Surface temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations correlate </li></ul>Consensus Cause
  15. 15. Who’s to Blame <ul><li>Green House Gases by Country </li></ul>
  16. 16. What’s Happened by 2008 – Part One <ul><li>One in eight bird species, or 1,226 of almost 10,000 bird species, are at risk of extinction 14.1 </li></ul><ul><li>2007 marked highest ever summer temperatures in the Arctic -- 9 ◦ F or 5 ◦ C above historic averages </li></ul><ul><li>28 of Yosemite’s animal species are moving their range to higher elevations – 1600 feet higher </li></ul><ul><li>150,000 people, says the World Health Organization, die every year by climate-change-related issues 14.2 </li></ul><ul><li>Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets are melting </li></ul><ul><li>Terrestrial carbon is being released from the permafrost regions </li></ul><ul><li>Methane hydrates are being released from coastal sediments </li></ul>
  17. 17. Temperature Changes 1900 - 2000 16.1
  18. 18. What’s Happened by 2008 – Part Two <ul><li>Glaciers not at the North and South poles have decreased by 50% since the end of the 19th century 17.1 </li></ul><ul><li>Summer lasts longer in the Northern hemisphere – just in the last five years 17.2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High temperatures in October are about 1 degree above their historic averages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In September high temperatures are almost 2 degrees above their historic averages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Precipitation is increasing, particularly at northern mid-high latitudes with much of the increase coming in more frequent heavy rainfall events </li></ul>
  19. 19. Spruce Trees Break Thru Arctic Tundra
  20. 20. What’s Happened by 2008 – Part Three <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>Average global temperatures have increased 1.8 ◦ F or 1 ◦ C over the past 100 years </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Hemisphere snow cover has remained below average since 1987 and has decreased by about 10% since 1966 </li></ul><ul><li>Lake Chad, which supports 20 million people, has shrunk to 5% of its size in 1973 </li></ul>
  21. 21. What’s Happened by 2008 – Part Four <ul><li>The five hottest years on record have all occurred since 1997 and the 10 hottest since 1990 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The warmest year on record – 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inhabitants of some small and low island countries are already abandoning their islands </li></ul><ul><li>In American south west, fire frequency is up by 400 percent and land burned is up by 650 percent since 1970 21.1 </li></ul>
  22. 22. Endnotes <ul><li>2.1 Live Science web site, Andrea Thompson, October 23, 2008 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>3.1 Ed Pilkington , “Climate Target is Not Radical Enough,” The Guardian, April 7, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>4.1 Mark Lynas , “Six Steps to Hell,” The Guardian, April 23, 2007 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>14.1 Alister Dolye , “Birds' Decline Shows Wider Damage </li></ul><ul><li>Rueters News, October 9, 2008 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>14.2 Doug Struck , “Climate Change Drives Disease To New Territory, Washington Post, May 5, 2006 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>17.1 Green Facts web site, Update 2007 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>17.1 Munichre , web site, “Retreat of the Glaciers,” 2008 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>17.2 Shaun McKinnon , “It's Official: Summer's Heat Lingers Longer into Fall,” Arizona Republic, Oct. 25, 2008 BACK </li></ul><ul><li>21.1 Natu re Conservancy , website, “Climate Change Impacts,” Oct. 25, 2008 BACK </li></ul>

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