The Earth, the planet that has housed us for over thousands of years, is dying. Humans emit tons of carbon dioxide or CO2 into the atmosphere everyday. At that rate we will soon make the earth to dangerous to live on.
There are a few major places on Earth that have glaciers. These places are the North Pole, Antarctica, and Greenland. Many animals that depend on the ice are dying off. The polar bear, for example is an animal that needs the ice. As the ice melts, the polar bear' habitat shrinks. Many cases of polar bears drowning have been reported. You might be thinking, how does a large chunk of ice just melt, and why does it effect me? The ice itself actually is a giant mirror. As tempetures get warmer, more sunlight hits the ice. 90% of the sun light, though is reflected back into space. The other 10% that gets absorbed by the ice does not make much of a difference. The water surrounding the glacier, though absorbs 90% of the sunlight and reflects the other 10% back to space. It is not really the sunlight melting the glaciers, its the water. As the water absorbs more sunlight it gets warmer, and the glacier melts. As we all know, ice is made of frozen fresh water. When the ice melts, fresh escapes into the ocean. The fresh water, that is lighter than the salt water in the ocean rises and floats on the salt water. Because the salt water is denser, or heavier, it sinks. The fresh water at the surface stops the Great Ocean Conveyor. (You will learn more about it later.) Stopping the Great Ocean Conveyor can lead to devastating effects.
Ever wonder how the climate of other places is like? Do you ever wonder how it changes? The answer is the Great Ocean Conveyor. The Great Ocean Conveyor is basically a giant loop in which heat and cold is transferred throught the Earth. The less dense hot water floats at the top. The more dense cold water sinks and travels on the bottem of the ocean. When fresh water empties into the ocean, it floats on top of the salt water. A little fresh water slows down the Great Ocean Conveyor as the salt water sinks. But what would happen if a lot of fresh water went into the ocean? Well, its happened before. Long ago, there was a giant glacier in North America. It melted a became a giant lake, which would soon be the Great Lakes. An ice dam broke and gallon of water poured into the ocean. All of this fresh water floated above the salt water and put a stop to the Great Ocean Conveyor. Areas went cold for long periods of time, where as other places went hot and dry. The Great Ocean Conveyor plays an important role in the balance of the planets climate.
The melting of glaciers also causes the seas to rise. In mere decades, the sea level is expected to rise 4-8 inches. This bad news for countries that live under sea level. These cities include Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta, Tokyo, and New York. If these cities were to go under water, it would be even more disastarous for the reason that these cities are home to immense populations. Louisiana, one of the states under sea level is in danger. In southern Louisiana, the coast has shrunk by about 3 feet ( about 1 meter) every century. This process is called subsidence. Rising seas can also have more, and even worse consequenses. As we speak, the rising saltwater goes into aquifers and threatens the drinking water sources of the state. Salt water going into aquaifers could also make growing crops tricky and problematic. In the Nile Delta, where crops are cultivated, salt water threatens to intrude. If this does happens, the results could be devastating, because most of the countries surrounding it are not so easy to farm on. Many of these places in the east have had to abandon their sinking homes and move to New Zeland. The sea level is rising all over the world at this frightening pace. But in many parts of the globe, people are experiancing sever droughts and sever floods. Atmospheric pressure becomes unusually low near Tahiti, and abnormally high over Northern Australia. This happens for reasons that we can not fully understand. It is called El Nino. El Nino causes drastic changes in climate.With a high pressure system, Pacific trade winds that normally go west, blow weakly, allowing surface water from the Pacific Ocean, warmed by the sun, to spread eastward. This creates a band of warm water to span across the equator. Clouds form along the equator due to the convergance of northern trade winds and southern trade winds. However, more clouds form than usual. The subtropical jet stream, attracted by the lower atmosphereic pressure, carries Pacific clouds eastward, which increases the amount of storms in that area. As it continues across southern North America, the jet stream shears the top off the tops of westbound atlantic storms, thus decreasing the amount of atlantic storms. La Nina is the exactopposite of El Nino. Atmosphereic pressure over Tahiti is unusually high, and is low over northern Australia. Westbound trade winds are very strong and push warm surface water from the Pacific farther west than usual. The equatorial cloud formation splits, seperated by the high pressure over Tahiti. The subtropical jet stream is weakened and split like the equatorial cloud formations. This allows Atlantic hurricanes to move west ward and gather strength. It is still unknown if these events are manefisations of global warming, but what we do know is that they will keep on happening for years to come.
There are plenty of things that we could do to stop global warming, if we were in the 1990's. If we don't do anything in the next two or three years, Global warming might come to a point where we can not stop it. But we can slow it down. All over the globe, people are using "cleaner" sources of energy like hydroelectric power, wind power, solar panels, and new kind of fuels. Hybrid cars that use a combination of electricity and fuel can help slow down global warming, There are many things that a person could do to stop global warming. As said in the equation.
old habits+old technology=predictable consequenses
and in the other equation.
old habits +new technology= dramatic changes
All that we have done, what we have hoped for, what we live for ,hangs by a thread. We must ast now to save the Earth before it's too late.
Go to Home
Go to Greenhouse Gases
Go to The Causes
Go to Human Effects
Go to Regional Effects
Go to An Inconvenient Truth
Go to Glossary
Go to Global Warming Video
Go to Our Sources