|Heating Up The World
A LOOK AT THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FUSS
THIS IS FOR THE INTERESTED NON-SCIENTIST, BUT ANYONE IS WELCOME
|CLIMATE CHANGE IN PICTURES
(AND A FEW WORDS)
Something has been detected down the track.
|We know it is there and can watch it come closer,
but we don't know every detail about it.
|But we can be pretty sure that we had better
get off the track and stay off. Also, it is
closer than it looks -- actually entering the
other end of the station in the picture below.
|Something pretty dangerous seems likely for
anyone in the way of this thing. I am not
talking about the train. I mean global
warming. We need very much to get off the
track and out of its way. Or, better yet,
stop it in its tracks.
|The trouble is we are stuck on the track,
and getting off isn't going to be that easy.
|Picture Source: I took the top four pictures of the
westbound Southwest Chief arriving at Galesburg, IL on
July 22, 2002. I don't remember where I took the
picture of the track in the bottom picture, but I didn't
really bury myself in it This is digital. After all, I
think I am sane. But I am insanely stuck on the tracks
along with everyone else.
|Something we do see is the global temperature
going up. The Goddard Institute for Space
Studies (GISS) is one of the institutions
recording global temperature data, from which I
made the graph below. The GISS data is here,
and graphs drawn from it by the people at GISS
are here. You can find a summary of recent
global warming data here including some more
information about this data.
|The reason we are stuck is that burning
conventional fuels is loading the atmosphere
with the greenhouse gasses that are causing
the warming. And we are really dependent
on those fuels.
|Shrinking glaciers boost our confidence in the
temperature measurements. I took this picture of
one of them (just below) and one at the top of
the page near Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska.
The ditch was once filled up with a flowing
glacier. Here are my Alaska glacier pictures.
|The Arctic sea ice is going away. Look at this
NASA site and also at this one for some
comparisons of previous years with recent
ones. This NASA video shows the decline
between 1979 and 2005. It shows the
minimum sea ice extent in the summer for each
year, but not the winter maximums. In this
NASA video, you can see the winter maximum
for 2007 and watch the ice go away until it
reaches the summer minimum for the same
year - the smallest ice pack on record. That
is the picture you see below.
|Prolonged drought in the western USA has
lowered the levels of many lakes such as
Lake Powell behind the Glen Canyon Dam in
my 2005 picture below. The white walls are
lime deposits created when the lake was as
high as the upper white boundary. More
severe drought is forecast for the
Southwestern US under global warming as
well as in many other areas.
|There is a lot of evidence that this climate
change is coming mostly from the action of
greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The one
causing the most worry is carbon dioxide, a
product of fuel burning, because of how much it
is increasing. There are others, some of which
should increase as a consequence of warming,
thus providing a reinforcing feedback.
These gasses warm the earth by trapping heat
that is radiated away toward space and
throwing some of it back. The picture below
illustrates this, but there is a better look in a
PDF slide show at this link.
|A COUPLE OF RETREATING GLACIERS
IN THE DENALI AREA OF ALASKA
THAT USED TO COMBINE AND FILL
UP THE DITCH.
CLICK THE PICTURE FOR A LARGER
|I PLAN TO CONTINUE WITH TOPICS
EXPLAINED IN MORE DETAIL. BUT I NEED
|List of Links about Climate and
Climate Change (old list)
|FROM HERE ON DOWN, CLICK (MOST OF) THE
PICTURES TO SEE LARGER VERSIONS.
|By the way, those are temperature differences
from a spot where it has just arbitrarily been
called zero. But it is still going up.
Doesn't seem warm where you are? Well, some
places are warming faster than others.
Frequently the USA has been cooler than most
of the world. Here is how the warming was
distributed around the world in January, 2009.
|But I like the January one. It is from the time
of my Antarctic Peninsula trip (in the orange just
below South America) where we had temperatures
warmer than my home in Iowa (in that cold, blue
area). But the world has warmed on the average,
especially in that red area around the North Pole.
The Arctic is naturally still cold. The red means
temperature change over the years.
You can make pictures like this from the GISS
data at this site: My Antarctic pictures are here.
|Besides droughts, the forecast under global
warming is that storms could become more
severe. There will be more moisture in the air.
That is illustrated below with an earlier Iowa
flood picture. These earlier wet and dry events
may or may not be a part of global warming,
but as of 2010 there were indications that
severe storms and floods were increasing. We
can expect more of this as the years go by.
|This picture suggests that food production might
be in danger from these future extreme
Melting glaciers and ice sheets as well as
thermal expansion of water are raising the level
of the oceans. The exact degree of sea level
rise depends on many things but could easily
reach three to six feet by the year 2100.
That would drive between 50 and 100 million
people from their homes, according to a world
|Here is a slide show, in PDF format, showing what
happened all that year including cool and warm
spots, a developing el nino, and more.
|FIGURING OUT WHAT CLIMATE
CHANGE IS ALL ABOUT
A SERIES OF INTRODUCTORY SLIDE SHOWS
(IN EACH CASE, CHECK THE WEBOGRAPHY FOR NOTES,
SOURCES, AND LINKS TO REFERENCES)
INTRO SHOW A: (WEATHERING THE CLIMATE)
(HERE IS WHY 97% TO 98% OF ACTIVE CLIMATE
RESEARCHERS THINK THE WORLD IS WARMING,
HUMANS ARE DOING IT, AND IT IS DANGEROUS.)
INTRO SHOW B: (RADIATING THE EARTH)
(A LONGER, MORE DETAILED VERSION OF A)
(NOT AVAILABLE YET)
INTRO SHOW C: (SO WHAT?)
(HERE IS WHY IT IS DANGEROUS.)
INTRO SHOW D: (WHAT TO DO)
(SOME SUGGESTIONS AND SOME REFERENCES TO
PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE WORKED
HARD ON WHAT TO DO.)
(PARTLY COMPLETED. SOME OF IT IS HERE.)