Fact or Fiction?Global Climate ChangeOcean – Air Interaction
1. What is an abrupt climatechange? Scientist believe if a certain temperature level is reached, there may be an abrupt and large change in the climate.
2. Could an abrupt climate changereally happen? Yes, scientist believe change that occurs over decades, rather than centuries.
3. What is the difference between“global warming” and “climatechange?” "Global warming" refers to the gradual increase of the Earths average surface temperature, due to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. "Climate change" is a broader term that refers to long-term changes in climate, including average temperature and precipitation, as well as changes in the seasonal or geographic variability of temperature and precipitation.
4. Should we worry about globalwarming? Yes, Global temperatures have increased by 1°F over the past 100 years. Although this may seem like a small change, it is enough to harm important ecosystems, change rainfall patterns and raise the sea level. Climate models project additional warming of about 2- 10° F over the next 100 years.
5. Do scientists agree about globalwarming? Although scientists still argue about how fast and how much the atmosphere will warm, the mainstream scientific community agrees on three key points: the earth is warming; the warming is caused primarily by the build-up of GHGs in the atmosphere; and that the warming will continue if we don’t reduce GHG emissions.
6. What is the Atlanticthermohaline circulation? The Atlantic thermohaline circulation, which includes the Gulf Stream, acts like an oceanic conveyer belt that carries heat from the tropics to the North Atlantic region. Warm surface water from the tropics travels northward by the Gulf Stream. As the warm water cools in the North Atlantic, it sinks to the ocean floor, and then slowly moves southward until it returns once again to the tropics. This ocean circulation pattern is caused by differences in water temperature and salinity in the ocean.
7. What are the chances of thethermohaline circulation shuttingdown? We don’t yet know the probability of the thermohaline circulation shutting down. It depends on how much and how quickly the atmosphere warms. In general, it is considered possible but not very likely. If it were to occur, it would probably not happen within the next 100 years, and circulation would eventually recover, after decades or centuries.
8. How can global warming causecold weather? Without the thermohaline circulation, not as much heat would be transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic region.
9. If “The Day After Tomorrow” isfiction, what is the truth aboutglobal warming? The truth is that global warming is happening and that it is already too late to avoid some of the effects. Even under the most optimistic circumstances, atmospheric scientists expect global climate change to result in increased flooding and droughts, more severe storms, and a loss of plant and animal species. These events will occur, even if climate change is gradual.
10. What can be done aboutglobal climate change? Most experts believe that technology will provide the solutions. Technologies that reduce emissions (energy efficiency, hydrogen fuels, carbon storage, nuclear energy and renewable energy) and technologies that remove carbon from the atmosphere may all play a role. Government policies that encourage businesses to develop and use these and other technologies are also very important.