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. – Global temperatures rising yearly. – Plants and animals changing range and behavior in response to global temperature shifts. – Global sea levels rising. – Plants and animals dying and relocating. .

Generally. heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. 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. Who increases CO2? . the Earth is in balance. Problems arise when concentrations of the Earth. CO2 (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gasses increase. 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.

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

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

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. . home and business heating. trucks. We are wasteful with our resources. Cars.

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

produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. . 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.9 percent a year between 2001 and 2025.S. Developing countries’ emissions are expected to grow and surpass emissions of industrialized countries near 2018. Projected Future Emissions World carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase by 1. fuel economic development with fossil energy. such as China and India. Why? The U.

They have an average depth of approximately 13. These are estimates of the Earth’s heat balance.000 feet. It takes a great deal of heat to raise the temperature of this huge body of water. . 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.

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

Over the past 25 years.000 years. . in July 2010. Alpine and polar glaciers have retreated since 1961. The collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula appears to have no precedent in the last 11. 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. The extent and duration of frozen ground have declined in most locations. 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.

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

2004 .Portage Glacier in Alaska 1914 vs.

Mount Hood in Oregon 1984 vs. 2002 .

..000 football fields snapped free from Canada's Arctic.“ Blog Antarctic Ice and Pictures . but unusually warm temperatures definitely play a major role. in 30 years.Recent Activity – Canadian Glacier On January 4th. They added that “the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were when first discovered in 1906.” "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. Scientists say it was the largest event of its kind in Canada.

and there is concern that global warming will cause climate variability and extreme events (e. For instance.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. droughts.g.. 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. These trends will continue in the future. This has resulted in some increases in extremes of temperatures and precipitation. similar heat events will become normal rather than exceptional. heat waves) to increase. floods. . Recent Activity .

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

there is speculation that hurricanes will increase in frequency or intensity in a warmer world. 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?!). a track of unusually deep and warm water appears to have led Katrina directly to the Gulf Coast when it struck Louisiana and Mississippi. Higher ocean temperatures may also influence the tracks of hurricanes. as increasing sea surface temperatures provide energy for storm intensification. Because of the link between higher ocean temperatures and hurricanes. the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active season on record. Recent Activity .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.

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 rate of observed sea level rise suggests that there has been a net positive contribution from the huge ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. On this time scale. while the observed retreat of the glaciers and ice caps may account for about 2-5 cm. Computerized Rising Sea Level Predicti on Article and Pictures . the warming and the consequent thermal expansion of the oceans may account for about 2- 7 cm of the observed sea level rise.

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

5-1. 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! .

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

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

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

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

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

– 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. 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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