Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Study about Global Warming | Sea change could shift Earth's rotation

A new study from Canadian researchers suggests that the collapse of a large portion of the Antarctic ice sheet would shift the Earth's axis. One of the most startling predictions is that the sea change could shift the Earth's rotation. The researchers from the University of Toronto predict that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will actually cause the Earth's rotation axis to shift dramatically -- approximately 500 metres from its present position if the entire ice sheet melts. There is a widespread belief among scientists that the ice sheet is especially vulnerable to global warming and may be prone to collapse, which could trigger a rise in sea levels. Some analysts have predicted sea levels will rise by five meters (15 feet). The research suggests the melting of the ice sheet would change the balance of the globe much the same as tsunamis that move massive amounts of water from one area to another. The study also points out that as an ice sheet collapses, water actually moves away from it because the sheet's gravitational pull lessens. The result is that the sea level in the area of the shelf actually drops, while other areas see dramatic increases. The research indicates a massive depression in the bedrock that is currently underneath the ice shelf, will fill with water if the sheet collapses. But as the sheet melts and its weight disperses, the depression will rebound, thereby pushing water into other areas. The shift in the Earth's rotation will cause water to rise near North America and the Southern Indian Ocean. Some experts have predicted that most of the North American coasts could see sea lelels rise by up to 6 meters (18 feet). The ice sheet, which towers about 2,000 metres above sea level over a large section of Antarctica, also exerts a substantial gravitational attraction, the scientists say, pulling water toward it much like the gravitational forces of the sun and moon cause the tides. This is one of many studies that suggest that we can't ignore the impact of global warming and climate change.

Global Warming | Global Warming Facts | Global Warming Solutions

The latest scientific data confirms that the earth's climate is changing rapidly. Global temperatures increased by about one degree Fahrenheit over the course of the last century, and will likely rise even more rapidly in coming decades. The cause? A thickening layer of carbon dioxide pollution and other greenhouse gases, mostly from power plants and automobiles, which traps heat in the atmosphere. Scientists say that the earth could warm by an additional 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit during the 21st century if we fail to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. This rise in average temperature will have widespread effects. Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Heat waves will be more intense and more frequent. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. Disease-carrying insects will expand their range.

The global rise in temperatures will have varying effects on our environment and Ecosystem. Warmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them more intense and potentially more destructive. Warmer temperatures could also increase the probability of drought. Greater evaporation, particularly during summer and fall, could heighten drought conditions and increase the risk of wildfires. Current rates of sea-level rise are expected to increase as a result both of thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of most mountain glaciers and partial melting of the Antarctic and Artic ice caps. Consequences include loss of coastal wetlands and a greater risk of flooding in coastal communities. The increase in global temperatures is expected to disrupt ecosystems and result in loss of species variance, as species that cannot adapt die off. Green house gases stay can stay in the atmosphere for an amount of years ranging from decades to hundreds and even thousands of years.

Changes resulting from global warming may include rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps, as well as an increase in occurrence and severity of storms and other severe weather events. As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas. What do melting glaciers, eroding coastlines, worldwide crop damage, food shortages, absence of rainfall, shrinking aquifers, wildfires and lowered water tables all have in common? These are all possible results from the increased accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, commonly called global warming, or global climate change.

What is the greenhouse effect, and is it affecting our climate? The greenhouse effect is unquestionably real and helps to regulate the temperature of our planet. Indirect indicators of warming such as borehole temperatures, snow cover, and glacier recession data are in substantial agreement with the more direct indicators of recent warmth. However, it has been hypothesized that warmer global sea surface temperatures can enhance global warming. What are the real causes to the increased world temperature? The first theory, which is the generally accepted one, is that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuel and from land use is responsible for the resent temperature increase. To better understand the controversy over global warming it is necessary to also understand why most climatologists believe it is the increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which are causing the current temperature increase. It is the result of heat absorption by certain gases in the atmosphere called greenhouse gases because they effectively 'trap' heat in the lower atmosphere and re-radiation downward of some of that heat. Are greenhouse gases increasing? Human activity has been increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mostly carbon dioxide from combustion of coal, oil, and gas; plus a few other trace gases. An enhanced greenhouse effect is expected to cause cooling in higher parts of the atmosphere because the increased "blanketing" effect in the lower atmosphere holds in more heat, allowing less to reach the upper atmosphere. Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG emissions, humans are enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming Earth. The greenhouse effect is unquestionably real and helps to regulate the temperature of our planet. A great deal of interest and concern has been raised in recent years over the impact on global temperatures by man. Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Global warming is becoming an increasingly important issue.

While many greenhouse gases occur naturally and are needed to create the greenhouse effect that keeps the Earth warm enough to support life, human use of fossil fuels is the main source of excess greenhouse gases. By driving cars, using electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heating our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation is another significant source of greenhouse gases, because fewer trees mean less carbon dioxide conversion to oxygen. As the concentration of greenhouse gases grows, more heat is trapped in the atmosphere and less escapes back into space. This increase in trapped heat changes the climate and alters weather patterns, which may hasten species extinction, influence the length of seasons, cause coastal flooding, and lead to more frequent and severe storms.

However, today's climate change is happening far too fast to be the same as other climate swings. As human-caused biodiversity loss and climate disruption gain ground, we need to keep our sights clear and understand that the measure of a threat is not a matter of whether it is made on purpose, but of how much loss it may cause. Consider the Earth to be wrapped in a blanket - in this case, a blanket of gases. Among the ingredients are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. This blanket insulates the earth by trapping heat, a lot like panes of glass in a greenhouse. Without greenhouse gases, the Earth would be much too cold for comfort, unable to sustain life as we know it. But the problem now is that humans are thickening the blanket by producing a lot of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels. As a result, more heat is trapped - and, scientists say, nature's thermostat is nudged up.

Effects of global warming on the environment include glaciers, ecosystems, ocean currents, and rising sea levels. The most popular effect of global warming is its' impact on glaciers. The biggest concern would be the failure of the glaciers in Hindu Kush and the Himalayas. These glaciers are the main water supply for China, India, and most of Asia. The complete melting of these glaciers would result in a major flow for several decades, however after that the most populated areas in the world could potentially run out of water. Global warming effects on agriculture and farming are a growing problem-and vice versa. Keeping in mind that, so far, observed global warming effects keep surpassing scientist's expectations in a bad way; it seems likely that rising temperatures in farming regions will wreak havoc on crop yields. This would certainly aggravate the growing world food shortage crisis.

A slight increase in tree-ring thickness recently is to be expected because of the increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Among the ingredients are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. Natural greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapor. When fossil fuels such as oils, natural gas, and coal, in addition to wood, wood products, and solid waste are burned they emit carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide increases are in a direct relationship to population growth. In addition, forests play an important role in the cycle of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Trees are the largest known natural mechanism for removing carbon dioxide from the air. This is because they possess a large storage space for carbon dioxide in their structures. As the process of deforestation continues, the more and more carbon dioxide is unable to be stored by the existing trees: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor not droplets, also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases- the "greenhouse effect".

One of the first things scientists learned is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways. The general scientific belief for global warming is the increased burning of fossil fuels and thus increases the emission of greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere. Besides greenhouse gases, forest destruction and population increase are two other causes of global warming. Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. This blanket insulates the Earth by trapping heat, a lot like panes of glass in a greenhouse. Without greenhouse gases, the Earth would be much too cold for comfort, unable to sustain life as we know it. But the problem now is that humans are thickening the blanket by producing a lot of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels. Some greenhouse gases are produced naturally while others are the direct result of human activities. Natural greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapor. An increase in greenhouse gases increases the temperature of the Earth because they are transparent to short wave radiation from the sun, while they have the ability to absorb the cooler infra-red radiation from the Earth. This fact alone describes how greenhouse gases make it more difficult for the Earth the cool itself off. Several human activities increase the emission of certain greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Global warming causes are complex as are global warming effects.

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