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
inherit.

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
consequences.

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

Generally. 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. These gases are referred to as greenhouse gases The greenhouse effect maintains a livable because of how they warm temperature on Earth. heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. the Earth is in balance. Who increases CO2? . Problems arise when concentrations of the Earth.

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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. They have an average depth of approximately 13. .

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

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

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

Portage Glacier in Alaska 1914 vs. 2004 .

2002 .Mount Hood in Oregon 1984 vs.

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

Droughts We have certainly seen global temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns over the 20th century. 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. heat waves) to increase. The same study predicts that as climate change progresses. Recent Activity . droughts. For instance.. . similar heat events will become normal rather than exceptional.g. floods. and there is concern that global warming will cause climate variability and extreme events (e. This has resulted in some increases in extremes of temperatures and precipitation. These trends will continue in the future.

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

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

On this time scale. while the observed retreat of the glaciers and ice caps may account for about 2-5 cm. 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. Computerized Rising Sea Level Predicti on Article and Pictures . 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. the warming and the consequent thermal expansion of the oceans may account for about 2- 7 cm of the observed sea level rise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take Action at Home! Take Action Sheet .

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