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Rising sea levels from global warming to claim Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and part of Texas! What is global warming, and is it a sign of the coming extinction of Man? The American Heritage College Dictionary defines global warming as “an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, esp. a sustained increase sufficient to cause climatic change”(591). The greenhouse effect is nothing more than a particular set of gases that allows approximately 51% of the sun’s energy to pass through atmosphere to reach the Earth’s surface. That energy is then radiated back towards space in the form of infrared radiation. Not all of the infrared radiation reaches space though, the majority of the infrared radiation is captured by the greenhouse gasses and redirected back towards the Earth’s surface, where it is once again warmed and redirected back towards space in an unending cycle. The greenhouse gases do allow portions of the infrared radiation to escape, however with an increase in greenhouse gases, this allows less of the infrared radiation to escape, thus contributing to the global warming. Scientist argue that CO2 concentrations have increased since the industrial revolution from 280 Parts Per Million (ppm) to 380 ppm in 2005.
With this increase in co2 emissions scientists predict an average of 1 degree Celsius to 3 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years. Due to the increase in greenhouse gases several climate changes are predicted to occur, Hurricanes are likely to become stronger and more intense, more droughts and longer heat waves, changes in precipitation patterns, longer growing seasons, temperatures will continue to rise, sea levels will rise approximately 1 to 4 feet, and the Arctic will likely become ice free. Who or what is responsible for the changes the Earth is experiencing, and what can be done to mitigate these changes? The news and politicians are reporting that global warming is heavily influenced by man with Co2 emissions produced from the burning of coal, fossil fuels, and wood. When deforestation occurs, carbon emissions are either immediately released into the air when the forests are burned or released over a period of time through the decomposition of un burned organic matter. Deforestation is conducted to make room for small and large agricultural farms, cattle ranches, logging, infrastructure expansion, overpopulation, palm oil production, and mining, just to name a few. Eli Kintisch describes one widely accepted fact, and that is, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground to form wood, oxygen is then released as a byproduct from the trees. Standing forests are labeled “carbon sinks” because they absorb more carbon dioxide than they emit. Mrs. Archana, K. states that cultivation of deforested areas also “[oxidize] 25-30% of the organic matter in the upper meter of soil and releases that to the atmosphere” ( 2). While methane and nitrous oxide are not a direct byproduct of deforestation, the release of these gases can occur when forests are converted to agricultural farms and cattle ranches through emissions from livestock (methane) and from the use of fertilizer (Nitrous oxide).
The Global Canopy Programme (GCP) reports that “deforestation accounts for up to 25% of global emissions of heat trapping gases, while transport and industry account for 14% each, and aviation makes up only 3% of the total” (Global Warming 93). As the GCP concludes their report, they stated it best “…when we lose our forests, we lose our battle with climate change” (Global Warming 94). Since agriculture is the main cause of deforestation in the Amazon, what alternatives are being looked at to lessen this impact? Could the scientists and politicians be wrong about the cause of global warming, and if so what other factors could contribute to this climate change. Not all scientists agree that global warming is man’s legacy, but instead is a product of nature. Some scientist argue that volcanic eruptions, El Niño, and even solar spot activity are the real reasons for global warming and not so easily explained as human pollution. If the sun is directly related to the warming of the Earth’s surface, could it cause the different temperature readings since the industrial revolution? Nicola Scofetta writes, “changes in Earth’s average surface temperature are directly linked to two distinctly different aspects of the Sun’s dynamics: the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun’s irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles” (50).
Several factors must be taken into account when talking about Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). TSI is defined as taking in the full light output of the full disk of the sun. Variations in the TSI include: the number, frequency, and size of solar flares and sunspots. The duration and frequency of dark spots also play an enormous role in the regulating of the Earth’s average temperature over a given period of time corresponding to the frequency trend stated above. The reports issued from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are based on the findings of the general circulation model (GCM), do not take into account, the full spectrum of solar activity but instead, identify these anomalies as environmental noise. There are two separate phenomenological solar signature models have been developed that directly correspond to an 11 year and 22 year warming trends and even account for the cooling trends of Earth’s climate. These two models show that the reports issued by the IPCC overly contribute human pollution activities to global warming, and also show that the sun “could account for as much as 69% of the increase in Earth’s average temperature, depending on the TSI reconstruction used” ( Is Climate Sensitive 51). If the sun is the main cause of global warming, then there is little to do but adapt to the changing environment, and keep our tax dollars out of the pockets of greedy scientist and politicians who state the “sky is falling”.
There are a few scientists who do not agree with either of the scenarios lisedt above, but instead argue that global warming is just a natural cycle of the changing Earth and that the global warming hysteria is another political get rich scam. Both viewpoints and the proponents of solar caused global warming state that the two climate models used to determine climate warming, the Energy Balance Model (EBM) and the GCM, are both insufficient in determining the many climate sensitivities. Nicola Scafetta writes “… is that the physics implemented within the models may be severely incomplete. Specifically, some key variables such as the climate sensitivity to CO2 changes is severely uncertain” (Empirical Analysis 1). When Science admits that 95% of the world’s oceans remain unknown, or that science only understands 10% of all living things, how could we trust the word of even the most altruistic of scientists who claim the Earth is doomed in the foreseeable future. When taken into account that approximately 97% of the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from volcanoes, swamps, wetlands, forests, and even insects, how could mankind’s contribution of co2 compare to what nature produces. So why are all the scientists and politicians ready to claim that the sky is falling? Tax dollars! Research is funded by government grants which get approved by congress in the form of tax bills that get voted on by congress.
If the congressmen and women, who vote on these bills know where the grant money is going, these politicians are then able to direct their own personal finances into these companies for investment purposes. No subject and no ideal is considered off limits to those who think they can make a dollar, especially if a majority of people can be convinced that what they are being told, is real and is a threat. If you was to ask me, who is the most correct? I would have to say option three; that global warming is nothing more than scientists wanting job security and politicians finding more ways to pilfer our tax dollars. If you was to ask me where my sympathies lie? I would say with those scientists who claim global warming is the result of man’s pollution contribution. The Earth is not an endless resource. Mankind is polluting our lands, our fresh and coastal waters, and our air. Mankind has even invented new ways to pollute our light and sound. I am not an environmental zealot, saying that everything we have done and everything we are going to do as we make civilization great is evil, but we do need to look at how humans can use our growing advances in science and technologies can abate the refuse of our excesses. Help developing countries make life more bearable for them with something as simple as finding better ways to grow crops and have clean drinking water. Managing our pollution should always be in the forethoughts of every adult with children, because when we are gone, our legacy will by a polluted and dying world. Al Gore may have the right message but he is not the source I want my kids looking to for guidance and direction.
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