Apr 12 2009

Global Climate Changes, seeing results, and analyzing it’s causes

Published by at 12:46 pm
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The Facts
Satellites Show Arctic Literally on Thin Ice*:

  • Satellite monitoring of arctic ice began in 1979
  • 2008-2009 winter had the fifth lowest maximum ice extent on record
  • Six lowest maximum events recorded have all occurred in the past six years (2004-2009)

*Source: NASA (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/arctic_thinice.html, 04.06.2009)

What is causing the accelerated melting of the Arctic ice sheet?
Potential Conclusions or Hypothesis

  1. This is just part of the natural cycles of the earth
  2. Volcanic and other tectonic activity has caused temperature changes in arctic ocean temperatures
  3. The steady and constant increase in global CO2 production has caused global climate change due to CO2’s greenhouse effect

Discussion
On the basis of my personal and professional knowledge of global climate change, these are the facts that I know regarding the natural cycles of the earth and man’s “unnatural” influence on the natural order of things. Personally this is an important topic for me, being environmentally conscious, but professionally this is an important topic because I manage the development of Environmental Cap & Trade software, so I’m well versed in all the supporting information like the Kyoto Protocol and global legislation regarding climate change.

  1. There is a natural order and cycle of the earth that results in global warming and global cooling cycles, but these cycles happen over a long period of time, generally over hundreds of thousands of years.
  2. CO2 and other green house gas producers and reduces are the primary drivers in global warming and cooling.
  3. CO2 has been globally recognized by the Kyoto Protocol as one of the 4 leading green house gas contributors to global warming.
  4. Man has increased the production of CO2 globally, consistently, and at an ever increasing rate.
  5. Volcanic and tectonic activity might be contributing but there is little data to support this hypothesis.

These natural and unnatural systems seem to be in conflict. I believe that this is both a natural process, but also man’s influence on the natural process is worse than some people would like to believe. The change we are seeing is faster than earth scientists believe can be explained simply through natural systems. Therefore, I select the final hypothesis as the most likely reason for the accelerated melting of the Arctic ice sheet: The steady and constant increase in global CO2 production has rapidly increased the speed of natural cycle of the earth, causing accelerated global climate change.

Supporting Argument for the Thesis
Earth scientists agree that the “natural” cycle of the earth is as follows. During an ice age period of hundreds of thousands of years, the global ice sheets advance as global cooling occurs. Once they advance, more and more trees are killed by advancing permafrost. Less trees means less CO2 reducers and the global CO2 amount increases dramatically over hundreds thousands of years. Once CO2 levels are high enough, more solar radiation is trapped in the atmosphere, global warming occurs and the ice caps recede and trees advance north. The cycle repeats itself.

Man has changed the “natural” cycle of the earth by the following actions. Burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil based products has advancing the rate at which CO2 is generated in our atmosphere. Not only has it accelerated, but if it wasn’t due to recent efforts by global governments, the rate would be increasing more and more every year. Countries like the US and China continue to advance the rate of CO2 production year after year. On top of CO2 production, man has also deforested, reducing the amount of CO2 reducers globally.

Climate change is a *hot* topic these days. Arguments continue on both sides of the table, but people have begun to see the global effects of climate change. This change has affected our agriculture, ocean currents and weather patterns, coral reefs have begun to die due to temperature increases, and worst of all we have begun to see increases in global sea levels. Countries are beginning to make legislature change recommended by Kyoto Protocol. Even the United States, one of the largest CO2 producers in the world, has presented The American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009, which would meet and exceed the suggestions of the Kyoto Protocol within the United States. Global climate change is real and the world is beginning to realize and support my hypothesis that CO2 production need to be reduced to bring balance back to the natural order of things. 

*Note: I originally wrote this as part of a logic and critical thinking assignment for school, but decided to post it here as well.

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