Geography November 29, 2010 Dire Predictions : Student Edition Chapter one of Dire Predictions Understanding Global Warming does exactly like the title says, it gives the reader the essential basics of understanding the Global Warming issue. Chapter one gives essential information covering a wide range of things including: the natural and human impacts on climate, definition of a greenhouse gas and how it affects temperature, positive and negative feedback loops, threatening human byproducts that affect the ozone, ways scientists study ancient climates, and it gives possible future Earth outcomes due to global warming.
It is a really loaded chapter I know, but this information proves to be very valuable when learning about global warming. In fact, the information is so valuable that it can’t be covered by just stating a quick overview of the chapter, but needs a more detailed summary. Some natural variables that potentially affect the Earth’s climate include the sun, volcanic eruptions, and Earth’s orbit. But how exactly does something like a volcanic eruption effect climate?
This is because “Explosive volcanic eruptions modify the composition of the atmosphere by injecting small particles called aerosols into the atmosphere layer. ” These released aerosols block the solar radiation that would have reached Earth’s surface and consequently, it has cooling effect on Earth’s surface. The more talked about topic in chapter one however is the non-natural, or human induced impacts causing global warming. Humans burning of fossil fuels and release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) are both examples of human variables that affect global warming.
CFC’s are a kind of gas that is released by cooling apparatus’ such as the refrigerator. These gasses have been proven to destroy the ozone. Furthermore, the book goes on to prove that the major impacts causing global warming are not natural but mostly human made. It states that the hole in the ozone is not mostly caused by a natural increase in CO2 gasses but the release of CFC-11 and CFC-12 gasses by humans into the environment. As proof of the gasses affect on the ozone it states that the average temperature of the globe has gone up from 13. degrees Celsius to 14. 5 degrees Celsius. It seems like a small amount of temperature increase but even one degree average increase can have a major influence on global warming. Finally, chapter one goes on to describe what happens if these patterns persist. So what will happen if these patterns persist, and what effects will it have on agriculture and man? To better understand what will happen to us, we have to understand what the ozone layer does. The ozone layer protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
If these patterns persist the ozone will protect less and less ultraviolet radiation from entering Earth’s atmosphere. If this happens then the ice caps will melt which will be catastrophic to man and agriculture. According to http://www. tropical-rainforest-animals. com/Global-Warming-Effects. html some effects of global warming will be: Floods Droughts, Heat waves, Extreme winter cold and snow fall, Tornadoes, Extreme storms, Tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons. You don’t have to be a geography major to know that these types of effects will deal a devastating blow to people and plants.
Precipitation patterns will also change everywhere, messing up normal agricultural growth. Some more effects global warming will have on agriculture and animals is it will make trees produce leaves earlier, it will cause earlier greening on vegetation, it causes re-distributions of algae that will kill animals that eat it to survive, and the ultraviolet radiation will ultimately poison humans and animals and destroy plants everywhere. If we have no ozone life will be unsustainable on Earth. But wait, all these horrible things don’t have to happen; we can do things to prevent global warming.
We can start to help this not to happen by burning up less fossil fuels, thus reducing emissions into the ozone. Scientists and mechanics have recently been working together to make cars that produce less waste and are better for the environment. We can help by buying these kinds of cars and investing in this type of research. Another way to help is if we as a world unite and we set goals and laws that require fewer emissions from each country. Also, it may seem small but a way we can all help is by recycling things which cuts down the waste it takes to make whole new things.
More ways you can help are by: using less air conditioning and heat, changing light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, buying energy efficient products, driving less or carpooling, using less hot water, and finally planting a tree. Although planting a tree or changing a light bulb may seem like a small way to help, if everyone in the world followed these suggestions emissions would be greatly reduced which could save the Earth. Scientists have worked together to try to understand the problem.
By constantly recording new data and looking at old data they have come to a better understanding of what we use that causes these emissions and the way it affects us and our planet. A way scientists have studied the ancient atmosphere is by drilling into the ice caps and examining the trapped air. Also scientists are constantly observing the ozone layer to see any changes that might come. Scientists also look at what kind of molecules the ozone is made of and gasses that could destroy it. Learning about the problem is half the battle so we are on our way to a brighter tomorrow.
I think the information given in the book was good information based on scientific truths. The information in this book was very easy to follow as almost every page had a corresponding graph or picture to help you understand the information given. However one of the problems I had with the information in this book is I felt that it was really quick to discredit the other side of the argument with not much detail. When faced with an opposing point the author just basically says that all other views are wrong and moves on.
Also, the information in this book jumped to something completely different every other page. But that being said I did learn a lot from reading this book. The thing I found most interesting in the book were some of the statistics given throughout the chapter. For example thought how long the gasses CFC-11 and CFC-12 last and how much more potent it is that carbon dioxide. Even after five hundred years after CFC-12 is released, it is still 5,200 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And five hundred years after CFC-11 is released, it is 1,620 times more potent that the carbon dioxide (Dire Predictions, p. 9). With CFC gasses and other harmful gasses lasting this long it is important to stop the release of these harmful gasses as soon as we can. Another thing I found interesting in the book was the change in Mount Kilimanjaro snow coverage over time. First, it shows Mount Kilimanjaro during the year 1912 and it is covered in snow. That picture is followed by a picture of Mount Kilimanjaro during the year 2007, and the snow cover has almost all disappeared. Another statistic I found very interesting in chapter one is the graphs on page thirty-three.
These graphs show the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere before and up to 2005. The graphs show that the levels of these greenhouse gasses are pretty constant until it reaches the year 2005; When the graph line representing the gasses reaches to just before the year 2005, levels of all three of these gasses skyrocket. (Dire Predictions, pg. 33) Reading this book made me realize how serious the global warming issue is and how it is already affecting the world today. Due to global warming life as we know it could possibly come to an end.
But don’t start putting your bucket list together just yet. If we start doing things everyday to help reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses we can make sure that tomorrow is a brighter day, figuratively that is. The things stated earlier (using less air conditioning and heat, changing light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, buying energy efficient products, driving less or carpooling, using less hot water, planting trees) are all examples of everyday things we can do to help the environment and stop global warming.
Another thing that people can do to help this problem is by educating themselves about global warming. By educating yourself about global warming you can solve the problem easier because you know the causes. Also you can educate other people about the importance of taking global warming into consideration. If everyone around the world pitches in to try to help, maybe the next book we read will be Optimistic Predictions.
Works Cited Banerjee, Subhankar. “Global Warming. ” New York Times. 6 Oct. 2010. Mann, Michael E. , and Lee R. Kump. Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming. New York, NY: DK Pub. , 2009. Print. May, Elizabeth, and Zoe? Caron. Global warming for dummies . Mississauga, ON: J. Wiley & Sons Canada, 2009. Print. Nodvin, Stephen C. “Global Warming. ” encyclopedia of earth. 9 May. 2010. 29 Nov. 2010. . Yeatman, William. “Global Warming: Solutions/Cost/Science GlobalWarming. org | Archive | Global Warming 101 . ” Global Warming . N. p. , 9 Feb. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. .