An Inconvenient Truth

An Introduction to our
Environmental Unit

Threats of Global Warming
in Our Future
Most global warming emissions remain in
the atmosphere for decades or
centuries. The energy choices we
make today greatly influence the
climate our children and grandchildren

We have the technology to increase
energy efficiency, to significantly
reduce emissions from our energy and
land use, and to secure a high quality
of life for future generations.

We must act NOW to reduce dangerous

Remember the hole in the
ozone layer? What happened to it?
In 1987, the nations of the world came
together to draft the Montreal Protocol
which would phase out the production and
use of CFCs (chloral floral carbons). The
43 nations that signed the protocol agreed
to freeze consumption and production of
The alarming loss of ozone in Antarctica
and worldwide continued into the 1990's,
and additional amendments to further
accelerate the CFC phase-out were
The pesticide methyl bromide, another
significant ozone-depleting substance was
phased out at the end of 2005.
The Montreal Protocol is working and
ozone depletion, due to human effects,
has decreased and will keep decreasing
in the next 10 years.
Provided that the Montreal Protocol is
followed, the Antarctic ozone hole is
expected to disappear by 2050.

Global Warming Strong evidence that warming is attributed to human activities include: – Loss of polar ice sheets. – Plants and animals changing range and behavior in response to global temperature shifts. – Plants and animals dying and relocating. – Global temperatures rising yearly. – Global sea levels rising. .

the Earth is in balance. Without these gases. These gases are referred to as greenhouse gases The greenhouse effect maintains a livable because of how they warm temperature on Earth. Problems arise when concentrations of the Earth. Who increases CO2? . heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. CO2 (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gasses increase. What is the Greenhouse Effect? The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy from the sun. Generally.

The Water Cycle & Carbon Cycle Water Cycle Animation Carbon Cycle Animation .

Increasing Emissions Since the industrial revolution.) . how gases are measured in the atmosphere. greenhouse gases have increased by: Carbon Dioxide 30% Methane 100% Nitrous Oxide 15% (The graph shows PPM. parts per million.

and power factories are responsible for about 98% of US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 18% of nitrous oxide missions. home and business heating. . Cars. We are wasteful with our resources. Human Contribution to CO2 Humans are emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than ever before. trucks.

Most of these emissions. Fossil Fuel Emissions Emissions per American have increased (per person). are from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our cars. . about 82%. raising livestock for food. Remaining emissions are from methane from wastes in our landfills. natural gas pipelines and coal.

Projected Future Emissions World carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase by 1. such as China and India. Why? The U. Developing countries’ emissions are expected to grow and surpass emissions of industrialized countries near 2018. Much of the increase in these emissions is expected to occur in the developing world where emerging economies. . primarily because our economy is the largest in the world and we meet 85 percent of our energy needs through burning fossil fuels.S. produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.9 percent a year between 2001 and 2025. fuel economic development with fossil energy.

. and the oceans have absorbed the bulk of Earth's excess heat over the past several decades. These are estimates of the Earth’s heat balance. Warming of Oceans Oceans comprise 97% of Earth's water. It takes a great deal of heat to raise the temperature of this huge body of water.000 feet. They have an average depth of approximately 13.

Even if we could maintain atmospheric CO2 concentrations at today's level. stored heat released by the oceans will cause Earth's average surface temperature to continue rising approximately one degree Celsius in the coming decades. have already caused sea levels to rise. the circulation and redistribution of this excess heat is a slow process. as they melt due to higher temperatures. worldwide. What is C compared to F in temperature?  To put this into perspective. . Glacial Melting  If only a small fraction of the heat currently stored in the oceans were released. and most of this rise has come in the past few decades (how long is a decade?). this is the same as the global average temperature rise that has occurred over the last century. Why do we need glaciers?  In reality.  CO2 trapped in glaciers will also be released. it would significantly warm the atmosphere and melt the world's glaciers. The warming of the oceans and the melting of glaciers. and this will cause a BIG increase when it happens.

But. Melting of Snow & Ice Half of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts every summer. and the amount of ice melting in Greenland has increased since 1979. The collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula appears to have no precedent in the last 11. .000 years. The extent and duration of frozen ground have declined in most locations. the average annual Arctic sea ice area has decreased by almost five percent and summer sea ice area has decreased by almost 15 percent. 97% of the ice sheet had melted. in July 2010. Alpine and polar glaciers have retreated since 1961. Over the past 25 years.

Can 1 degree C really make a difference? Pasterze Glacier in Austria 1875 vs. 2004 .

2004 .Portage Glacier in Alaska 1914 vs.

2002 .Mount Hood in Oregon 1984 vs.

but unusually warm temperatures definitely play a major role...“ Blog Antarctic Ice and Pictures .” "We aren't able to connect all of the dots . and they point to climate change as a major contributing factor. 2006 it was reported that a giant ice shelf the size of 11.000 football fields snapped free from Canada's Arctic.Recent Activity – Canadian Glacier On January 4th. in 30 years. They added that “the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were when first discovered in 1906. Scientists say it was the largest event of its kind in Canada.

Droughts We have certainly seen global temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns over the 20th century. The same study predicts that as climate change progresses. heat waves) to increase.g. and there is concern that global warming will cause climate variability and extreme events (e. For instance.. Recent Activity . a scientific analysis indicates human-induced climate change likely increased the severity of the 2003 European heat wave that killed thousands of people. floods. resulting from human activities. This has resulted in some increases in extremes of temperatures and precipitation. These trends will continue in the future. . droughts. similar heat events will become normal rather than exceptional.

We can increase our reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind. we should put existing technologies for building cleaner cars and more modern electricity generators into widespread use. We need to reduce pollution/smog. Recent Activity . And.Smog Right away. sun and geothermal. we can manufacture more efficient appliances and conserve energy. (Do you have Energy Star appliances? What are these?) .

Recent Activity . Higher ocean temperatures may also influence the tracks of hurricanes. as increasing sea surface temperatures provide energy for storm intensification. Scientists believe that global warming will result in more intense hurricanes. . with higher wind speeds and greater precipitation. Because of the link between higher ocean temperatures and hurricanes. a track of unusually deep and warm water appears to have led Katrina directly to the Gulf Coast when it struck Louisiana and Mississippi. the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active season on record.Storms In terms of overall hurricane activity (the number of and intensity of storms). Although his phenomenon is not very well understood. increasing the likelihood of hurricanes through the Caribbean or hurricanes making landfall on the east coast (did this happen recently?!). there is speculation that hurricanes will increase in frequency or intensity in a warmer world.

while the observed retreat of the glaciers and ice caps may account for about 2-5 cm. The rate of observed sea level rise suggests that there has been a net positive contribution from the huge ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Computerized Rising Sea Level Predicti on Article and Pictures . Rising Sea Levels It is likely that much of the rise in sea level has been related to the concurrent rise in global temperatures over the last 100 years. On this time scale. the warming and the consequent thermal expansion of the oceans may account for about 2- 7 cm of the observed sea level rise.

We saw heavier precipitation. • The WMO's secretary-general. with the hottest year ever in Australia and floods. 2001-2010 was the warmest decade on record.” • Arctic sea ice in 2013 was at the sixth lowest on record. droughts and extreme weather elsewhere around the world. the last three decades had been warmer than the previous one. and more damage from storm surges and coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise. which scientists were "stunned" by at the time. more intense heat. . They said last year continued a long-term warming trend. according to the UN. as has been alleged by climate change sceptics. starting with 2007. The WMO noted all seven of the lowest Arctic sea-ice extents took place in the past seven years. also said there had been no 'pause' in global warming. “There is no standstill in global warming. Warmest Years on Record • 13 of the 14 warmest years on record occurred this century. • "Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change.

Our Changing Climate Global mean surface temperatures have increased 0.0 deg C since the late 19th century The 20th century’s 10 warmest years have occurred in the last 15 years! .5-1.

and faster. . recreation and mining. public supply. higher temperatures and increased evaporation could lower stream flows and lake levels. Possibility of higher risk of debris flows. In the summer. more winter rain. without increases in rainfall of at least 15-20%. earlier spring snowmelt runoff. Less water would be available to support irrigation. Possible Scenarios A warmer climate could result in less winter snowfall. hydropower generation. fish and wildlife habitat.

Increases in climate variability could make adaptation by farmers more difficult. . As climate warms. Warmer climate and less soil moisture may require additional irrigation. production patterns could shift northward and to higher elevations. Agriculture Agriculture is strongly influenced by climatic conditions and water availability.

drier temperatures could increase frequency of wildfires. the extent of forested areas could change little or decline by as much as 15-30%. Insect outbreaks carrying disease could increase with warmer. Forestry Depending on the amount of climate change. Hotter. . drier conditions.

both past and present: – Weather stations – Weather balloons – Ocean buoys – Sediment analysis – Tree rings Weather stations. Here are some of the ways that scientists gather evidence about climate. ocean buoys. scientists are learning how climate changes over time. With this evidence. Ice cores. Then they investigate the clues to find evidence – real facts that can give them a better idea of what is going on. and tree rings tell us about what the Earth’s climate has been like in the past. sediment layers. balloons. They look for clues to help them understand how the world works. and satellites tell us the Earth’s temperature today. . How do we know all of this? Scientists have to think like detectives.

“How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher. – The Independent 2/ 17/2006 . That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years.…We don't have much time left. Director. So that is what we can look forward to if we don't act soon…I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. and many things could become unstoppable. more even than warming itself… How long have we got? We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade.” Dr. James Hansen.

Now more than ever is – Take Action at Home the time for students across the – No Waste at School Meals and country to become global warming Events activists and join the movement. – Plant Trees – Conduct a School Energy Audit – Join the Virtual March – Replace Oil Burning Furnaces – Encourage Your Mayor to Take – Spread the News Action – Start a Club – Watch An Inconvenient Truth – Speak Out – Replace School Lightbulbs – Reward the Use of Hybrids – No Idling! – Audit Student's Energy Use – Recycle – Review School's Purchases – Cut Back on Paper – Carpool . Take Action at School! Throughout history. students have – Educate Your Parents been the driving force in social – Use Timers change.

Take Action at Home! Take Action Sheet .