One of my biggest pet peeves is when a person isn’t educated on a topic and tries to act like they are and then tells the expert on the subject that they are wrong! What is so wrong with admitting that you haven’t researched something enough to have an opinion on it? I’ll tell you- NOTHING! There is absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing everything.
With that being said, I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on climate change after studying it this semester. I know that this is a subject that causes a lot of controversy, but it is important to me to try to find the truth within all the madness in this world.
Climate Change: Finding the Truth
Kaiti A. Moss
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Climate change is such a sensitive subject because it affects each and every one of us. People are confused as to what to believe because they are constantly being fed contradicting information. The only way to know is to research the subject for one’s self and come to an answer. I am confident that by doing so, as I have, others will come to the same conclusion.
After careful study of the Earth’s climate I have come to the conclusion for myself that global warming is indeed occurring. In my paper I will touch base on what I have learned including, Earth’s climate, changes that are occurring now, what the future could hold and how to avoid it. I am no expert in this area, these aren’t my findings from experiments, but anyone can examine data and come to a conclusion. Mine is that global warming is occurring, what’s yours?
To know if the climate today is warming one needs comparable data from the Earth’s past climate. How would one find this data? First one would need to find a reliable source such as; an expert scientist who dedicates their studies to climate changes-not global warming. One might ask, “What’s the difference?” A scientist who studies climate change will produce data that shows the Earth’s climate, where as a scientist who studies global warming has already confirmed in their own mindset that global warming is happening and the data would be more biased to that side.
The source I have relied upon is, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They do not fund new scientific work instead they focus on uncertain research about climate change. They publish reports about every 5-years, but before these reports can become official they go through an approval process. The process includes a line-by-line approval by governmental representatives from across the world. IPCC was created by the United Nations to, “…provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.” (Organization, 2011)
The thought of climate change occurring has been around for almost 200-years. In 1837, Louis Agassiz of Switzerland noted that the mountains there had once been covered in large amounts of ice like Greenland or Antarctica; from his studies later his hypothesis of the ice age was accepted. Then came orbital theory of climate dates, the reasoning behind ice ages is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Ice age history has been recorded in ice sheets and deep-sea sediments. With our advanced technology we are now able to take core samples and examine them for further data of the Earth’s past climate. The chart below is from the IPCC, the first graph shows climate changes from the 1800’s and the second shows climate changes from 1,000-years ago.
As one can see from the first graph for the majority of time the climate has been is what is considered a cooling period. From the second graph one can see within the last 150-years the Earth’s temperature has sky-rocketed. If that’s not proof right there than I don’t know what is.
Now, the real question is what caused the climate to rise like this? Gases building up in the atmosphere, but these gases are different from what we have seen in the past. There has been an abundance of these gases that are more commonly known as greenhouse gases which includes, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat into the atmosphere. Without these gases the Earth surface average would be around 33c the problem is that there is too much.
When people hear the words “climate changes” or “global warming” we immediately think of the weather. I can’t remember how many times I have heard people say, “If the Earth is warming than why is the weather colder?” Drastic Change in global climate like we are experiencing has many different side effects. Mainly of which would be drastic weather changes that we are not used to nor prepared for. “…year 2020, up to 250 million people are projected to be suffering from increased water stress due to climate change.” (The Climate Crisis, pg. 180) Developing countries are considered at the biggest threat do to their extreme poverty, weak governments and a strong dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Developing countries are already suffering enough as is; “…3 billion people have less than 15% of the world’s wealth…” States, James Mayfield, co-founder of CHOICE humanitarian. What kind of impact would the extreme weather create for these striving countries?
With this data I have gathered that the Earth’s climate since the 1800s has experienced an increase due to increase of greenhouse gases. I have received my data from reliable scientists that dedicate their time and research to climate changes. I have looked over the data that they have created from evidence such as ice cores and coral reefs. While no one can predict the future, with the information that has been provided from comparing the past climate and present I do believe that this is not a natural Earth cycle and there have been human impact upon the Earth’s climate.
Archer, David, and Stefan Rahmstorf. The Climate Crisis: an Introductory Guide to Climate Change. New York: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.
“Figures and Tables.” IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_figures_and_tables.shtml>.
“Organization.” IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.shtml>.