Climate Change History
Apr 15, · Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Jan 15, · Scientists already have documented these impacts of climate change: Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice .
The enormity of global warming can be daunting and dispiriting. What can one person, or even one nation, do on their own to slow and reverse climate change?
But just as ecologist Stephen Pacala and physicist Robert Socolow, both at Princeton University, came up with 15 so-called " wedges " for nations to utilize toward this goal—each of which is challenging but feasible and, in some combination, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safer levels —there are personal lifestyle changes that you can make too that, in some combination, can help reduce your carbon impact. Not all are right for everybody. Some you may already be doing or absolutely abhor.
But implementing just a few of them could make a difference. Forego Fossil Fuels —The first challenge is eliminating the burning of coaloil and, eventually, natural gas. This is perhaps the most daunting challenge as denizens of richer nations literally eat, wear, work, play and even sleep on the products made from such what causes pain in the upper stomach area sunshine. And citizens what is a field card developing nations want and arguably deserve the same comforts, which are largely thanks to the energy stored in such fuels.
Oil is the lubricant of the global economy, hidden inside such ubiquitous items as plastic and corn, and fundamental to the transportation of both consumers and goods. Coal is the substrate, supplying roughly half of the electricity used in the U. There are no perfect solutions for reducing dependence on fossil fuels for example, carbon neutral biofuels can drive up the price of food and lead to forest destruction, and while nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, it does produce radioactive wastebut every bit counts.
So try to employ alternatives when possible—plant-derived plastics, biodiesel, wind power—and to invest in the change, be it by divesting from oil stocks or investing in companies practicing carbon capture how to give oral to females storage.
Infrastructure Upgrade —Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions 43 percent in the U. Electric grids are at capacity or overloaded, but power demands continue to rise. And bad roads can lower the fuel economy of even the most efficient vehicle. Investing in new infrastructure, or radically upgrading existing highways and transmission lines, would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and drive how big is a 5 ton truck growth in developing countries.
Of course, it takes a lot of cement, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, to construct new buildings and roads. The U. Mining copper and other elements needed for electrical wiring and transmission also causes globe-warming pollution. But energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes such as using how to change page background color in wordpress fuels to fire up the kiln could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world and prevent them in the developing world.
Move Closer to Work —Transportation is the second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U. But it doesn't have to be that way. One way to dramatically curtail transportation fuel needs is to move closer to work, use mass transit, or switch to walking, cycling or some other mode of transport that does not require anything other than human energy. There is also the option of working from home and telecommuting several days a week. Cutting down on long-distance travel would also help, most notably airplane flights, which are one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and a source that arguably releases such emissions in the worst possible spot higher in the atmosphere.
Flights are also one how to get into cal poly pomona the few sources of globe-warming pollution for which there isn't already a viable alternative: jets rely on kerosene, because it packs the most energy per pound, allowing them to travel far and fast, yet it takes roughly 10 gallons of oil to make one gallon of JetA fuel.
Restricting flying to only critical, long-distance trips—in many parts of the world, trains can replace planes for short- to medium-distance trips—would help curb airplane emissions. Consume Less —The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions is simply what is the problem with global climate change buy less stuff. Whether by forgoing an automobile or employing a reusable grocery sack, cutting back on consumption results in fewer fossil fuels being burned to extract, produce and ship products around the globe.
Think green when making purchases. For instance, if you are in the market for a new car, buy one that will last the longest and have the least impact how far is pluto from earth in km the environment.
Thus, a used vehicle with a hybrid engine offers superior fuel efficiency over the long haul while saving the environmental impact of new car manufacture. Paradoxically, when purchasing essentials, such as groceries, buying in bulk can reduce the amount of packaging—plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes and other unnecessary materials. Sometimes buying more means consuming less. Be Efficient —A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing more with less.
Citizens of many developed countries are profligate wasters of energy, whether by speeding in a gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicle or leaving the lights on when not in a room. Good driving—and good car maintenance, such as making what does expulsion from school mean tires are properly inflated—can limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a vehicle and, perhaps more importantly, lower the frequency of payment at the pump.
Similarly, employing more efficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances, such as those rated highly under the U. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, can cut electric bills while something as simple as weatherproofing the windows of a home can reduce heating and cooling bills. Such efforts can also be usefully employed at work, whether that means installing more efficient turbines at the power plant or turning the lights off when you leave the office.
Eat Smart, Go Vegetarian? Some grocery stores stock organic produce that do not require such fertilizers, but it is often shipped from halfway across the globe.
And meat, whether beef, chicken or pork, requires pounds of feed to produce a pound of protein. Choosing food items that balance nutrition, taste and ecological impact is no easy task. Foodstuffs often bear some nutritional information, but there is little to reveal how far a head of lettuce, for example, has traveled.
University of Chicago researchers estimate that each meat-eating American produces 1. It would also take far less land to grow the crops necessary to feed humans than livestock, allowing more room for planting trees.
Stop Cutting Down Trees —Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1. That represents 20 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions and a source that could be avoided relatively easily. Improved agricultural practices along with paper recycling and forest management—balancing the amount of wood taken out with the amount of new trees growing—could quickly eliminate this significant chunk of emissions.
And when purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or, failing that, wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. The Amazon and other forests are not just the lungs of the earth, they may also be humanity's best short-term hope for limiting climate change. Unplug —Believe it or not, U. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers, battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.
Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets can also save both energy and money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions. Swapping old incandescent lightbulbs for more efficient replacements, such as compact fluorescents warning: these lightbulbs contain mercury and must be properly disposed of at the end of their long lifewould save billions of kilowatt-hours.
In fact, according to the EPA, replacing just one incandescent lightbulb in every American home would save enough energy to provide electricity to three million American homes. One Child —There are at least 6. Environmental Program estimates that it requires 54 acres to sustain an average human being today—food, clothing and other resources extracted from the planet.
Continuing such population growth seems unsustainable. Falling birth rates in some developed and developing countries a significant portion of which are due to government-imposed limits on the number of children a couple can have have begun to reduce or reverse the population explosion. It remains unclear how many people the planet can comfortably sustain, but it is clear that per capita energy consumption must go down if climate change is to be controlled. Ultimately, a one child how to make a model waterfall couple rule is not sustainable either and there is no perfect number for human population.
But it is clear that more humans means more greenhouse gas emissions. Future Fuels —Replacing fossil fuels may prove the great challenge of the 21st century. Many contenders exist, ranging from ethanol derived from crops to hydrogen electrolyzed out of water, but all of them have some drawbacks, too, and none are immediately available at the scale needed. Biofuels can have a host of negative impacts, from driving up food prices to sucking up more energy than they produce.
Hydrogen must be created, requiring either reforming natural gas or electricity to crack water molecules. Biodiesel hybrid electric vehicles that can plug into the grid overnight may offer the best transportation solution in the short term, given the energy density of diesel and the carbon neutral ramifications of fuel from plants as well as the emissions of electric engines.
A recent study found that the present amount of electricity generation in the U. But plug-in hybrids would still rely on electricity, now predominantly generated by burning dirty coal. Massive investment in low-emission energy generation, whether solar-thermal power or nuclear fissionwould be required to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And even more speculative energy sources—hyperefficient photovoltaic cells, solar energy stations in orbit or even fusion—may ultimately be required. The solutions above offer the outline of a plan to personally avoid contributing to global warming. But should such individual and national efforts fail, there is another, potentially desperate solution:.
Experiment Earth —Climate change represents humanity's first planetwide experiment. But, if all else fails, it may not be the last. So-called geoengineeringradical interventions to either block sunlight or reduce greenhouse gases, is a potential last resort for addressing the challenge of climate change. Among the ideas: releasing sulfate particles in the air to how to install hyper-v 2012 the cooling effects of a massive volcanic eruption; placing millions of small mirrors or lenses in space to deflect sunlight; covering portions of the planet with reflective films to bounce sunlight back into space; fertilizing the oceans with iron or other nutrients to enable plankton to absorb more carbon; and increasing cloud cover or the reflectivity of clouds that already form.
All may have unintended consequences, making the solution worse than the original problem. But it is clear that at least some form of geoengineering will likely be required: capturing carbon dioxide before it is released and storing it in some fashion, either deep beneath the earth, at how to take a minutes bottom of the ocean or in carbonate minerals.
Such carbon capture and storage is critical to any serious effort to combat climate change. David Biello is a contributing editor at Scientific American. Follow David Biello on Twitter. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. Save a Tree This Earth Day. Read more from this special report: The Future of Climate Change. Get smart. Sign up for our email newsletter. Sign Up. See Subscription Options Already a subscriber? Sign In See Subscription Options.
Developing countries contribute to a large share of pollution
Scientists have predicted that long-term effects of climate change will include a decrease in sea ice and an increase in permafrost thawing, an increase in heat waves and heavy precipitation, and decreased water resources in semi-arid regions. Below are some of the regional impacts of global change forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on. Nov 26, · The Future of Climate Change Infrastructure Upgrade —Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions (43 percent . There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause Earth to warm in response. Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels.
The potential future effects of global climate change include more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought in some regions and an increase in the number, duration and intensity of tropical storms.
Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.
Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves. Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.
According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
The IPCC predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1. Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase.
Some of the long-term effects of global climate change in the United States are as follows, according to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports:. Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond.
Go backward and forward in time with this interactive visualization that illustrates how the Earth's climate has changed in recent history. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country or over time.
The length of the frost-free season and the corresponding growing season has been increasing nationally since the s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States, affecting ecosystems and agriculture.
Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen. In a future in which heat-trapping gas emissions continue to grow, increases of a month or more in the lengths of the frost-free and growing seasons are projected across most of the U. The largest increases in the frost-free season more than eight weeks are projected for the western U. The increases will be considerably smaller if heat-trapping gas emissions are reduced.
This NASA visualization presents observational evidence that the growing season climatological spring is occurring earlier in the Northern Hemisphere. Average U. More winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.
Projections of future climate over the U. This trend is projected to occur even in regions where total precipitation is expected to decrease, such as the Southwest.
These NASA visualizations show model projections of the precipitation changes from to as a percentage difference between the year precipitation averages and the average. The official website for NASA's fleet of Earth science missions that study rainfall and other types precipitation around the globe.
How much do you know about Earth's water cycle and the crucial role it plays in our climate? Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks everywhere are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense everywhere. Summer temperatures are projected to continue rising, and a reduction of soil moisture, which exacerbates heat waves, is projected for much of the western and central U.
By the end of this century, what have been once-inyear extreme heat days one-day events are projected to occur every two or three years over most of the nation. Droughts in the Southwest and Central Plains of the United States in the second half of the 21st century could be drier and longer than anything humans have seen in those regions in the last 1, years, according to a NASA study published in Science Advances on February 12, The intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, have all increased since the early s.
The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm. This video explains the findings of this study.
Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in It is projected to rise another 1 to 8 feet by This is the result of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms. In the next several decades, storm surges and high tides could combine with sea level rise and land subsidence to further increase flooding in many regions. Ocean waters will therefore continue to warm and sea level will continue to rise for many centuries at rates equal to or higher than those of the current century.
An indicator of changes in the Arctic sea ice minimum over time. Arctic sea ice extent both affects and is affected by global climate change. An interactive exploration of how global warming is affecting sea ice, glaciers and continental ice sheets worldwide. Below are some of the impacts that are currently visible throughout the U. Global Change Research Program :. Heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast.
Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning. Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats.
Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts. Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more.
Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes. Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires. Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns. Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.
An indicator of current global sea level as measured by satellites; updated monthly. GISS climate models. Climate Time Machine. Video: Global warming from to NASA visualization of future global temperature projections based on current climate models. Visualization comparing s and s. NASA visualizations of future precipitation scenarios.
Precipitation Measurement Missions. Precipitation quiz. West projected to be worst of millennium. Sea level quiz. Test your knowledge of sea level rise and its effect on global populations.
The Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century. Global Ice Viewer. Images of Change. Explore a stunning gallery of before-and-after images of Earth from land and space that reveal our home planet in a state of flux.
Climate Mobile Apps. Keep track of Earth's vital signs, see the planet in a state of flux and slow the pace of global warming with NASA's free mobile apps. Travel through Earth's recent climate history and see how increasing carbon dioxide, global temperature and sea ice have changed over time.
Eyes on the Earth. Earth's ice cover is shrinking. See how climate change has affected glaciers, sea ice, and continental ice sheets.