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.

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

Problems arise when concentrations of the Earth. the Earth is in balance. 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. Without these gases. Generally. heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. These gases are referred to as greenhouse gases The greenhouse effect maintains a livable because of how they warm temperature on Earth. Who increases CO2? .

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

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

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

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

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

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. These are estimates of the Earth’s heat balance. . and the oceans have absorbed the bulk of Earth's excess heat over the past several decades. They have an average depth of approximately 13.

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

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

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

Portage Glacier in Alaska 1914 vs. 2004 .

2002 .Mount Hood in Oregon 1984 vs.

Recent Activity – Canadian Glacier On January 4th. in 30 years..000 football fields snapped free from Canada's Arctic. 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.” "We aren't able to connect all of the dots . and they point to climate change as a major contributing factor.“ Blog Antarctic Ice and Pictures . 2006 it was reported that a giant ice shelf the size of 11.. but unusually warm temperatures definitely play a major role.

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

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

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

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. the warming and the consequent thermal expansion of the oceans may account for about 2- 7 cm of the observed sea level rise. 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 . On this time scale.

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

0 deg C since the late 19th century The 20th century’s 10 warmest years have occurred in the last 15 years! .5-1. Our Changing Climate Global mean surface temperatures have increased 0.

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

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

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

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

“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.” Dr. or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. more even than warming itself… How long have we got? We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade. 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. James Hansen. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Director. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years. – The Independent 2/ 17/2006 . and many things could become unstoppable.…We don't have much time left.

students have – Educate Your Parents been the driving force in social – Use Timers change. Take Action at School! Throughout history. – 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 . 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.

Take Action at Home! Take Action Sheet .

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