Breaking news: On April 21st, 2010, Eyjafjailajokull volcano in Iceland erupted, and has continued to be active for the last four days. (ABC News) Since the first of the year 2010, there have been approximately twenty volcano eruptions or volcanic activity all over the world. (Rajai’s) Pretty alarming when you think about it, so why the increase in these natural occurring events? Alarmist would have you believe that a lot of the increase in global events like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, severe weather conditions, and droughts are due to global warming.
The facts: Volcano activity actually helps cool the earth. According to Walker, and King, “when volcanoes erupt they shot vast quantities of ash that contain huge amounts of aerosols into the air far above the weather systems. This ash and droplets of sulfate put out by volcanoes can sometimes live long enough to cause significant cooling of the Earth. (21) “Such was the case in 1991, when Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted with dramatic effect, it spurted a huge amount of aerosols twenty miles into the air.
These aerosols where so high that over the next eighteen months they spread around the world and the global temperatures cooled by about 0. 9 degrees F. ” (Walker, King) I have mentioned volcanoes are natural occurring events that help cool the Earth. Yet you have a lot of people that seem to think that the Earth is warming, and many believe humans are the cause of it. Since global warming has become such a hot topic, the debate or controversy is whether global warming is real and if so, is humanity responsible or is it the Earth’s natural cycle?
So let’s examine these two questions. What is global warming, and what causes global warming? The Answers: Revkin states, “Global warming is the warming that happens when certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat causing the “greenhouse effect. ” (63) According to Revkin,” Most of the suns energy travels to Earth as visible light, this sunlight shines on the Earth’s surface where it is absorbed and warms things up. This heat is then radiated back into space as infrared radiation which basically is simple energy. (63) For example, whenever you go camping people usually place rocks in the bottom of their camp fire, long after the fire is out those rocks will radiate heat, which is a form of infrared radiation. Revkin continues; “the greenhouse gases act like a blanket and various gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbon, methane, and nitrous oxide trap this energy before it escapes back into space further warming the atmosphere (63-64). McCaffrey wrote, “Scientist have known about the green house effect since 1824, where Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere.
This greenhouse effect is what keeps the Earth’s climate livable. Without it, the Earth’s surface would be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler (5-6). “In 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide, a green house gas. He kicked off 100 hundred years of climate research that has given us an understanding of global warming…” (McCaffrey). So now we understand that we need greenhouse gas to live on our planet Earth, so what is all the fuss about?
Here is the fear according National Geographic,”Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It’s becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years. (Global Warming)) So where do these greenhouse gases (GHG) come from? According to the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA),”In the United States, greenhouse gas emissions come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels in energy use.
Energy use is largely driven by economic growth with short-term fluctuations in its growth rate created by weather patterns affecting heating and cooling needs. Energy use is also driven by changes in the fuel used in electricity generation. ” (What are Greenhouse Gases) Although the GHG’s are only trace amounts they pack a big pinch. “These GHG’s come from pollution such as landfills, agriculture, rice cultivation, cars, industrial byproducts, the burning of forest and grasslands, manure, refrigerators, fertilizer production, deforestation, and believe it or not from humans breathing and cows letting off gas. (Revkin) In his book “The Reference Self,” Paul McCaffrey explains that levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have gone up and down over the Earth’s history, but they have been fairly constant for the past few thousand years. Global average temperatures have stayed fairly constant over that time as well, until recently. Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG emissions, it is believed that humans are enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming the Earth. (8). Now, one can see it is clear how people assume that humanity is contributing, or enhancing the warming of the Earth.
A lot of the Earth’s chemistry is still unclear, and even the scientist do not understand a lot of it. One thing that is clear, they have found evidence to reconstruct the past. According to Rafkin, “scientist can determine what the Earth’s temperature and the amounts of CO2 that was in the air 160,000 years ago from ice cores taken from the Antarctic glaciers. ” (69) Rafkin further states, ”scientists have extracted ice cores a mile deep from these glaciers, this drilling was tantamount, for it was like drilling through time. ”(69).
Revkin explains it pretty good,”when it snows, this snow accumulates year after year to form layers of ice. In these layers water bubbles are trapped, and scientist can measure the isotopes in the frozen water, and get a pretty good idea of the prevailing temperature and the levels of carbon dioxide in the past. ”(69) According to McCaffrey, “scientist in 1987 cut a core from central Antarctic which shows in the previous 400,000 years CO2, levels had dropped tom 180 parts per million(ppm) during the most extreme glacial periods and climb as high as 280ppm in warmer times, but not once never any higher. (8). ”Now, scientists believe that humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the industrial revolution. ” (National Geographic) “Changes this large have historically taken thousands of years, but are now happening over the course of decades. The rapid rise in greenhouse gases is a problem because it is changing the climate faster than some living things may be able to adapt. Also, a new and more unpredictable climate poses unique challenges to all life. ” (National Geographic). Scientists have spent decades figuring out what is causing global warming.
They’ve looked at the natural cycles and events that are known to influence climate. But the amount and pattern of warming that’s been measured can’t be explained by these factors alone. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by humans. Let us look at some of the natural occurring events that scientist believe cause global warming. As I mentioned earlier volcanic activity is a cause of global cooling, but alarmist would have you believe different. There is the Wobbly Earth, known as the Milankovitch cycles.
According to Walker and King, “there are slight wobbles in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, which has effects on how much sunlight arrives on the northern hemisphere in the summer time on a timescale of 100,000 years. ” (22) Scientist believe these cycles are what triggers how we cycle in and out of ice ages. (Walker, King) You need land to make glaciers and the northern hemisphere contains most of the Earth’s land mass. A slightly cooler summer in the northern hemisphere means that the snow from the previous winter will stick around and eventually form glaciers.
The white ice as opposed to dark land masses will also reflect more light and help the planet cool. (Walker, King) Then there are sunspots; these according to research, are changes in the Earth’s solar radiation levels that can have some impact on the Earth’s climate. Increased solar activity can cause short-term warming cycles on the Earth. (Natural Causes of Global Warming) “To bring all this information together, the United Nations formed a group of scientists called the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.
The IPCC meets every few years to review the latest scientific findings and write a report summarizing all that is known about global warming. Each report represents a consensus, or agreement, among hundreds of leading scientist. ” (McCaffrey). In 1997 the IPCC began ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to control and regulate the emission of GHG’s. Since its ratification more than 100 countries have adopted the protocol, which commits them to cutting emission of six GHGs. (McCaffrey) To this date the United States has refused to sign on. This will be discussed further in my debate.
The Debate: Here lies the controversy the IPCC report on global warming and the skeptics who do not agree with their science. The controversy depends on where you stand on global warming. Do you believe that global warming is due to humanity, or is it the Earth’s natural cycle? There are many that believe that humanity is the cause of global warming based on reports done by the United Nations, IPCC’s, and the media’s reporting of these events. The IPCC’s reports are based on scientific findings, assumptions or predictions, and these are based on climate models.
Let me explain what climate models are,”there are basically two kinds of models used for predicting climate, Dynamical, and Statistical. The latter bases predictions on long term statistical trends and historical analogs, (i. e. pattern repetition) the former calculates parameters at different grid points around the globe using physical equations. Essentially it is a 3D mathematical model of the atmosphere. Some models use a combination of these methods. The IPCC projections of global warming are based almost entirely on the dynamical modeling” (DiPuccio).
And here lies the biggest controversy. The problem with these climate models, they are too crude to predict future climate change. These models are based on computer predictions not historical data. According to the American Policy Roundtable,” in order to get their models to produce predictions that are close to their designer’s expectations, modelers resort to “flux adjustments” that can be 25 times larger than the effect of doubling CO2 concentrations, the supposed trigger for global warming”. (The Great Global Warm Up) Richard A.
Kerr, a writer for Science, says “climate modelers have been ‘cheating’ for so long it’s almost become respectable. ”(American Policy Roundtable) The IPCC fails to take in account the natural variations that may cause global warming, such as El Nino. El Nino is a warm ocean current that appears off the coast of Peru and Ecuador from December through March. The term refers to sporadic long term affect of droughts and severe storms throughout the Pacific region. (Global Warming) Nicholas E. Graham of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, maintains that there is a link between El Nino and global warming.
According to Graham, “El Nino’s warm current in the tropical Pacific waters have caused the ocean and atmospheric temperatures to rise, thus warming the globe. ” (Global Warming) Also the natural occurring variations mentioned in the background Why is it that climate alarmist’s have been trying to erase any evidence of the Medieval Warm Period from the Earth’s climate history? According to the National Academy of Sciences report, “they have affirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period from about 900 A. D. to 1300 A. D. , and the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1850. (Inhofe) According to the National Academy of Science, “this was long before the invention of the SUV (sport utility vehicle) or human industrial activity could have possibly influenced the Earth’s climate. In fact, scientists believe the Earth was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period, when Viking’s grew crops in Greenland. ” (Inhofe) “Alarmists fail to explain why temperatures began warming at the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850, long before man-made CO2 emissions, “according to David Deming, assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma’s Collage of Geosciences. Inhofe) “With the reading of tree rings (the rings are further apart when the temperature is warmer and the trees grow faster), core samples from drilling in ice fields, we can get accurate readings of what the past centuries climates where like”. (McCaffrey)
As mentioned before we know the Norseman settled Greenland a millennium ago and grew crops in land that is today very inhospitable to settlement. (McCaffrey) More evidence of how we can reconstruct the past. Other evidence comes from coral growth, isotope data from sea floor sediment, and insects, all of which point to a warm climate in medieval times. ” (McCaffrey) The IPCC reports would have you believe that the temperature has increased 0. 5 degrees in the twentieth century. But what they fail to tell you is that most of that warming occurred in the early part of the century long before the rapid rise in population and the coming of the Industrial age, where they point out the rise of polluting substances and emissions into the atmosphere. McCaffrey) According to McCaffrey, “there was actually a noticeable cooling period after World War II, and this climate trend produced a different kind of alarmism-some predicted the return of the ice age. (14)
In 1974 the National Science Board, after observing a thirty year long decline in world temperature, predicted the end of temperate time and the coming of the next glacial age. (McCaffrey) Newsweek reported, were “almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. McCaffrey) They were wrong, so much for unanimous opinion. One must use caution when it comes to unanimous decisions in the scientific community. We are talking about a proud lot that take their science serious, for them to admit they are wrong, well it is not going to happen. You are lucky if they will admit they made a mistake. So what is causing the climate change? This writer believes it is all part of the Earth’s natural cycle, the history is there, but the IPCC will want you to believe differently, why?
This willingness to place the cause above the truth, was brought to light during Testimony before the U. S. Senate’s, Environment and Public Works Committee. Richard Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, who is one of the authors of the science sections of the report of the IPCC. The body that is responsible for an increasing crescendo of dire warnings. In his testimony, which loudly sounds the warning alarm, “very much a child’s exercise of what might possibly happen … [which] conjures up some scary scenarios for which there is no evidence. (McCaffrey) This is the second part to the answer why. The IPCC is a UN body, and they reflect UN politics, which are consistently in support of developing countries, which are a majority of their members. (McCaffrey) Most of these politics are very supportive of the Kyoto treaty, which makes these developing countries exempt from emissions standards. This also puts restraints on the wealthier nations by requiring compensatory treatment from these weather nations like the United States. McCaffrey) “Were Kyoto to be implemented as written, the developing countries would gain lots of money and free technology. ”(McCaffrey)
As quoted by McCaffrey, “one need not be a cynic to grasp that a UN body will do obeisance to these political realities wherever possible. ”(16) Even if the Kyoto treaty was accepted by the industrial nations it would not make a difference by the year 2050, maybe a slit reduction in temperature by about two-hundredths of a degree Celsius, or at most six-hundredths of a degree. McCaffrey) “But the sacrifices it would impose on the United States would be quite large. It would require us to reduce our projected energy use 25% by 2012, a catastrophic economic hit. No wonder the Senate in 1997 passed a bipartisan resolution, the Byrd-Hagel anti-Kyoto resolution, by 95-0” (McCaffrey) “Most of the European countries that ratified Kyoto, are already falling behind on their targets, despite having stagnant economies and falling populations. It is unlikely they will not meet the goals they signed on for, and they know it. Neither will Japan, for that matter.
The European Union has committed itself to an eight percent reduction in energy use from 1998 levels by 2012. Now the European Environment Agency admits that current trends project only a 4. 7 percent reduction. ” (McCaffrey) So when the Kyoto signers point fingers at countries that refuse to sign on, hay who are you to point fingers? Despite not signing the treaty, emissions in the United States have dropped 9 percent in the period of two years fr0m 2007 to 2009. (Gas Alternatives) One would think that the old economic competitiveness may be in the mix or motives at play here also.
McCaffrey states “the absurdity of the treaty becomes obvious when we recognize that it does not impose emissions requirements on developing countries, including economic giants such as China, India, and Brazil. ” (17) It is a shame that the UN is playing politics, and putting their own cause before the truth when it comes to global warming. More support of the Earth’s natural cycle at work. The Earth has gone through ice ages, and warming trends after these ice ages over it s history and this writer sees no reason for alarm.
After all a little warming is not a bad thing and higher levels of carbon dioxide helps plants to grow. According to McCaffrey,”mapping by satellite shows that the earth has become six percent greener overall in the past two decades, with forests expanding into arid regions (though the effect is uneven). The Amazon rain forest was the biggest gainer, despite the much-advertised deforestation caused by humans cutting along its edges” (15) In Conclusion: I have presented two different angle on the global warming hypothesis, you as the reader must form your own opinion.
I can only hope you will research the issue before you come to a conclusion. I did a lot of research, and there is too much information for me to put it all down, for there would be volumes if I did. My opinion has not changed although I believe humanity has added to the pollution, I still believe the Earth is going through one of its natural cycles. Before we go and make global warming a political issue where decisions are based on these politics, we should take a long look at all the information.
There are too many unknowns just to be jumping the gun. Besides we are making a lot of progress at going green with the development of green energy sources. Watching “CNBC, Beyond the Barrel,” green technology is the future. China is the leader in wind turbine energy, and the United States is developing large solar yards in California, Arizona, and Florida. The United States has had the Clean Air Act now for roughly forty years and has done a lot to clean up the environment thanks to the Environment Protection Agency.
So do not be alarmed, steps are being made to clean the air along with advances in Bio-fuel technology and clean energy sources. Mother Earth will take care of herself, she always has. The Earth has always adjusted; just as every living thing will learn to adjust, our descendants will know if we made the right choices. Hopefully we will not do anything that we may regret when it comes to future generations, for it is their life’s we are playing with. Whatever choices we make now will have an impact on the future, so choose wisely.