Term Paper: Ecology Global Warming: From Milutin

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[. . .] Such discrepancies, however, are the mainstay of the anti-global warming group. If the world's scientists cannot even agree on whether the climate is warming, then there cannot be much of a problem. Or conversely, if the Earth's climate has actually cooled in recent years, then the greenhouse gases that are the byproducts of humanity's factories and automobiles must not be having the adverse affect that so many claim they do.

Yet it is a fact that the Industrial revolution has been responsible for releasing almost astronomical amounts of carbon into the Earth's atmosphere. The fine particles of soot and hydrocarbons that result from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, hang in the atmosphere, screening out a portion of the sun's rays. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are also produced when these fuels are burned. Carbon dioxide tends to trap heat, in much the same way that the glass of a greenhouse holds in the heat and allows it to build up. Many would argue that, in either case, human beings are tampering with the environment. While soot counteracts the heating caused by carbon dioxide, there still might be a point beyond which the effect would be negligible. The Earth would continue to warm no matter what - so long as humankind's machines and chemicals continue to "seal off" our atmosphere.

Each year humans pump 6 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon into the lower atmosphere, which is only twelve miles high. Within a few decades the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide will double from pre-industrial levels.... Since 1980 we have seen the ten hottest years in recorded history. The five hottest consecutive years on record began in 1991. The hottest year in the world's recorded weather history was 1997. The planet is warming at a faster rate than at any time in the last ten thousand years.

But if Milutin Milankovitch's theory is correct, it certainly seems possible, plausible even, that the current changes in the Earth's climate - whether up or down - could be a natural, and recurrent phenomenon. Such changes could easily be measured. The precession of the Earth in its orbit, and the angle of the Earth on its access can be calculated as they have been in the past. Scientific research can determine if the current fluctuation in our planet's position can be considered the primary cause of today's climate. Unfortunately, as research continues on the problem of dramatic climatic change, and on the ice ages in particular, it is becoming increasingly clear that Milankovitch's "wobbles" and precession are not the only culprits.

The] Milankovich model, though of great value, cannot represent the full picture of why ice ages occur. Fossil evidence indicates that global climate fluctuates between colder and warmer intervals far more frequently than astronomical patterns would indicate. Changes in Earth's tilt and orbit occur on too great a time scale to explain significant climatic changes that have taken place in centuries, even decades.

So, must the changes in today's climate be attributed to pollution? Well, it seems in many ways, to come down to a matter of whom you ask. Certainly, the burning of fossil fuels does result in the production of vast amounts of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, in accordance with Milutin Milankovitch's theory, a change in the relative position of the Earth can cause the same thing to occur. Many argue that Milankovitch's ideas apply in the long-term. Yet, as we saw earlier, Milankovitch's hypothesis is used to explain the seasons. No one will argue that, in the space of only weeks, there does not occur an extremely significant change in temperature in certain areas of the Earth's surface. Nor, will many argue that there have not been significant, general alterations in climate over whole regions during the course of the Earth's long history. Measurements of temperature, while they may be entirely accurate in regard to the absolute degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit that may be obtained, are not, however, absolute determinants of how these temperatures are produced. How does one factor or another alter the temperature at a certain point in time? Does this affect the tools we use to measure temperature? Milutin Milankovitch advanced an intriguing theory in regard to climate and climactic change. Supporters of the greenhouse/Human Pollution theory also possess an excellent argument to explain worldwide warming and cooling. Nevertheless, in the end, it seems that we must first have a better understanding of weather itself, and a more complete picture of the Earth's climatic history, if we are ever to resolve the debate over global warming.

Works Cited

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=100066769

Cronin, Thomas M. Principles of Paleoclimatology. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99207589

Gelbspan, Ross. The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1998. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=74426630

Goudie, Andrew. Environmental Change. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University, 1992. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98380432

Halpern, Paul. A Scientific Exploration of the End of the World. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000.

Kaufman, Yoram. "Milutin Milankovitch." Earth Observatory: On the Shoulders of Giants. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). (No Date). URL:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Giants/Milankovitch/.

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Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. New York: Oxford U.S., 2000. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98044713

Parsons, Michael L. Global Warming The Truth behind the Myth. New York: Insight Books, 1995.

Yoram Kaufman, "Milutin Milankovitch," Earth Observatory: On the Shoulders of Giants, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), (No Date), URL:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Giants/Milankovitch/. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98044844

Michael L. Parsons, Global Warming The Truth behind the Myth (New York: Insight Books, 1995) 116.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98044844

Michael L. Parsons, Global Warming The Truth behind the Myth (New York: Insight Books, 1995) 116.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=100066914

Thomas M. Cronin, Principles of Paleoclimatology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999) 136.

Ibid. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=74426686

Andrew Goudie, Environmental Change, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University, 1992) 39.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=74426697

Andrew Goudie, Environmental Change, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University, 1992) 21.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=74426697

Andrew Goudie, Environmental Change, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University, 1992) 50.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=64487052

Robert L. Park, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (New York: Oxford U.S., 2000) 44.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99207604

Ross Gelbspan, The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1998) 7-8.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98380553

Paul Halpern, A Scientific Exploration of the End of the World (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000) 122. [END OF PREVIEW]

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