Thesis: Global Warming's Effect on the Weather and Climate

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Warming Research

CO2: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Linked to Human Activity (http://zfacts.com/p/194.html): Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can be linked directly to the release of the gas by human beings since the rise of industrialization (zfacts 2007). This conclusion is based on indirect measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide until the 1940s, when direct measurements were taken, and takes into account such factors as deforestation, cement production, the burning of fossil fuels, and nature's ability to reabsorb released carbon dioxide (zfacts 2007). Though deforestation dropped off significantly in the late 1990s and continues to decline, fossil fuel consumption is rising far more dramatically, and predict exponential increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in coming decades (zfacts 2007). Though not evidence of global warming, this provides incontrovertible evidence of a human cause in the rising carbon dioxide levels (zfacts 2007).

Global Warming: An Overview (Helen Willetts, BBC News): Though taking the link between carbon dioxide levels and global warming as a fact rather than an issue of scientific contention, Willetts (2008) details the (possible) scientific phenomenon of the greenhouse effect, by which carbon dioxide traps heat in the Earth's atmosphere. Key to the issue of global warming is the longevity of carbon dioxide; once in the atmosphere, each molecule of carbon dioxide will remain there for approximately the next one hundred years (Willetts 2008). Even if carbon emissions were to cease immediately, there is already a significant build-up of human-released carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that could result in significant levels of warming over the next century (Willetts 2008).

Deforestation: The hidden cause of global warming (Daniel Howden, The Independent):

Carbon emissions form the burning of fossil fuels receive the bulk of media and political attention in the fight to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus combat global warming, a major contributor to excess carbon is deforestation (Howden 2007). Just like all organic material, trees store large amounts of carbon and carbon dioxide while they live. When left alone, the death of trees and the release of their carbon is kept pretty well in balance by nature's capability to reabsorb the released carbon, but commercial and human deforestation are releasing a great deal more than can be handled. According to one measure, as much carbon is released every twenty-four period as would be released by flying eight million people form New York to London (Howden 2007, par. 1). Though deforestation may have slowed somewhat according to some measures, it is still quite rampant and a major source of carbon release (Howden 2007).

"Global Warming" (World Book at NASA): Global warming is a definite reality, with measurements taken since the late 1800's showing a definite overall increase, by an approximately of one and a half degrees Fahrenheit, or slightly less than a degree Celsius (NASA 2009). Though there is no scientific certainty about the causes of this warming trend, the majority of scientists who have studied the issue agree that human beings are the primary cause behind this warming trend through their release of fossil fuels and the clearing of land (i.e. deforestation) (NASA 2009). Changes in the oceans temperatures due to global warming could drastically change both ocean ecosystems and global weather patterns; rising sea levels and the spread of certain diseases might also be directly harmful effects to human beings (NASA 2009).

The Consequences of Global Warming On Weather Patterns (National Resources Defense Council): Global warming, through its effects on ocean and air temperatures and therefore on overall global weather patterns, can lead to the development of more extreme and more powerful weather patterns in the coming years (NRCD 2009). The frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes is likely to increase as warmer ocean temperatures increase evaporation rates and provide more transfer of energy for the creation of these hurricanes (NRCD 2009). Droughts will have a major effect on food supplies, and will also leave many regions more prone to the widespread and often complete destruction of wildfires; in addition to the pure physical destruction, costs of combating these fires could grow prohibitively large even in the short-term (NRCD 2009). An increase in rainfall has been measured over the past fifty years that can also be attributed to global warming, again to due increased energy in the climate system (NRCD 2009).

"Climate Change Has Animals Heading for the Hills." (Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience): Since the early 1990s, scientists in California have noted that small mammals in the state such as squirrels, chipmunks, and certain rabbit species have been drastically shifting their regions, primarily moving to higher elevations (Bryner 2006). In attempting to discern the reasons for this shift, computer modeling was used that took many environmental factors into account; this modeling showed that global warming was the most likely cause of this migration (Bryner 2006). The scientists who made these initial discoveries believe that the strong correlation shown between the rise in temperatures and the shifting habitat regions of these mammals demand more research in the area of global warming.

World View of Global Warming: Many pages of photographs record the purported effects of global warming on wildlife and the natural world, including those of polar bears wandering on long-thawed and muddy ground that used to be covered in permafrost, rising oceans devastating coastal villages on small island nations, and the new ecosystems developing at higher elevations (WGW 2009). Right before important international climate talks take place in Copenhagen, scientists issued new warnings regarding the increase in carbon dioxide emissions and further evidence of the link between human activities and global warming, as well as reminders of its effects: melting ice sheets, rising ocean levels, and drastically changing weather patterns (WGW 2009). These scientists also stressed the need to act urgently, and the possible costs and effects of delay (WGW 2009).

"The Real 'Inconvenient Truth'" (JunkScience): Through the process of convection, the Earth's surface is kept nearly sixty degrees cooler than it otherwise would be, and makes the model of the greenhouse effect (by which carbon dioxide is believed to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and thus cause global warming) largely obsolete and entirely over-simplistic in its explanation of global warming (JunkScience 2007). Though there would be a slight greenhouse effect, some scientist's measurements suggest that this is incredibly minimal, and would not account for he levels of warming currently being described by measurements (JunkScience 2007). Furthermore, the measurements of the Earth's surface temperatures are basically guesses, and the supposed warming trend is probably hugely inflated if it exists at all (JunkScience 2007).

Outline

I. Introduction

A. Global warming is a hit topic in the media these days

1. Recent disputes over emails

2. Almost daily coverage of some aspect of global warming

B. Also an increasingly important topic in politics

1. Bush received heavy criticism for pulling out of Kyoto

2. Major part of Obama's campaign/goals

C. Still scientific uncertainties that are worthy of consideration

1. Scientific "consensus" has been reached, but not full agreement

2. Global warming not necessarily a fact, but rather an educated conjecture

D. Effects of climate change still demand attention

1. Thesis: Though not a fact, a consideration of possible effects warrants an investigation of global warming, its causes, and its possible solutions

II. The Way Global Warming (Might) Work

A. Explanation of the greenhouse effect

B. Historical view of industrialization

1. Release of large amounts of carbon/carbon dioxide from fossil fuels

2. Also beginning of widespread scientific measurement

C. Human carbon dioxide emissions could be the primary cause for global warming

III. Human Causes of Global Warming: Fossil Fuels

A. Fossil fuels of primary concern in carbon emissions, global warming

B. Transportation of people and goods generally relies on fossil fuels

1. Cars waste a great deal of energy, and other technologies are available

2. Shipping uses much more than personal cars; global trade leads to higher emissions

C. Energy production (electricity) largely comes from coal plants

1. Though becoming cleaner, coal plants are still very pollutant

2. Alternative technologies lack infrastructure and affordability

IV. Human Causes of Global Warming: Deforestation

A. Cutting down trees to use the lumber and to clear land for agriculture also leads to higher carbon emissions

1. Trees store carbon, and lose it when they die

2. Nature can reabsorb a lot of carbon, but not at the rate of human logging

B. Tress could be a solution

1. As huge carbon stores, the more trees we have the sooner we can clear

atmospheric carbon

2. Cutting them down makes the situation worse form both ends

V. Problems with Global Warming Theory

A. There are several scientific issues with the global warming theory

1. Evidence of the warming trend is not entirely conclusive

2. Evidence of the human cause of the warming is even less substantiated

B. Certain economic/political considerations exist

1. Developing countries won't develop as fast without fossil fuels

2. Shifting energy sources would wreak economic havoc

C. Consequences of global warming may outweigh these concerns

VI. Effects of Global Warming: Weather Patterns… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Global Warming's Effect on the Weather and Climate.  (2009, December 13).  Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/global-warming-effect-weather-climate/9309116

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"Global Warming's Effect on the Weather and Climate."  Essaytown.com.  December 13, 2009.  Accessed May 27, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/global-warming-effect-weather-climate/9309116.