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Global Warming

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MAN CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING BY
IGNORING THE WATERS OF OUR WORLD
BRANDY D WATTS
SAVANNAH STATE UNIVERSITY

I believe that man’s carbon impact on our oceans is causing global warming. Those who think that we have not affected global warming have failed to see that our actions have had serious impact on our ecology. Global Warming is defined by The American Heritage® Science Dictionary as “An increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, especially a sustained increase great enough to cause changes in the global climate. The Earth has experienced numerous episodes of global warming through its history, and currently appears to be undergoing such warming. The present warming is generally attributed to an increase in the greenhouse effect, brought about by increased levels of greenhouse gases, largely due to the effects of human industry and agriculture. Expected long-term effects of current global warming are rising sea levels, flooding, melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, more frequent and stronger El Niños and La Niñas, drought, heat waves, and forest fires.” The information presented will clearly show that there is enough proof in our daily lives to see that not only is global warming real, but that we are, ourselves, making it worse. As the human race exists, we exhale carbon dioxide. This buildup of carbon dioxide is bad for the ocean’s ecosystem. This is because the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide as our populations increase. The carbon dioxide is turned into carbonic acid. Not a very strong acid, mind you, but an acid nonetheless. This carbonic acid is affecting our oceans. The corals are not being built strong enough to withstand the acid. One might think, ‘It’s just a coral.’ However, every species is dependent upon another. When the acid destroys one part of an ecosystem, the other parts of it are affected either directly or indirectly. For example, research suggests that Sockeye Salmon may no longer find a suitable home in the Pacific Ocean. “This fish is extremely temperature-sensitive: their metabolism increases in warmer water, requiring larger amounts of food. To avoid incurring large energy losses, the salmon must either move into deeper water or migrate northward into the Bering Sea farther from the freshwater rivers where they spawn. It is not certain they could make these adaptations.” (Mathews-Amos, A. & Berntson, E. 2010). As the global citizenry continues to spit out more atmosphere altering carbon dioxide, the sea level continues to rise. The average sea level around the world is projected to rise two feet by the end of this century. If this rise happens, approximately 10,000 miles of United States soil will be eliminated (Coastal Zones, 2010). One of the main factors in global warming is the warming of the world’s oceans. One would think it would take an extensive amount of heat to warm the oceans any more than they currently are. If you have one cup of ocean water and warm up the carbon dioxide in the water, it will expand over the top of the cup. Now read what scientists say this change in the ocean’s temperature is doing to our world. “Scientists say…warming oceans may even start to shift the Earth's axis of rotation. Warming causes our axis to shift because warmer water takes up more space than cooler water, and actually expanding upward and outward as it warms. Increased water volume pushes up onto shallow continental shelves, redistributing weight on the planet and causing the Earth to tilt.” (Ashford, 2009). Another effect of warming our oceans and atmosphere is the melting of the world’s glaciers. In a report titled Changing Climate Indicators In The United States, that is submitted to Congress on a yearly basis, the Environmental Protection Agency has given us some pretty interesting facts. They are: 1) Increase in glaciers melting rate has accelerated over the last decade. The accelerated melting has contributed to the rise in sea level. This melting has caused a loss of over 2000 cubic miles of water since 1960; 2) In September 2007, after the summer melting season, the Arctic Sea Ice was 24% smaller than in September 1979 (see photo). Let’s look at how global warming is affecting a specific location, Antarctica. 1) Since 1980, at least seven “gigantic ice shelves” have reduced in area by 14,500 square kilometers: 2) The global warming effect on Antarctica is five times as strong as any other place on Earth. Since 1960, Antarctica has experienced global warming increase of about 4.5F, or 2.5C: 3) The global warming effect on Antarctica is rapidly decreasing its ice-thickness. For example, one of the islands of Antarctica, Signey, has lost more than 45% of its permanent ice cover of its lakes in the last 60 years: 4) Another loss, the Larsen B ice shelf, has decreased by 3,250 square kilometers. In the mid 90s, 1995 km squared disintegrated suddenly, and in January-February 2002, the northern section of the shelf disintegrated. The scientists studying Antarctica have seen nothing like this before: 5) Scientists are very concerned about the fate of the massive West Antarctic ice sheet. If it collapses, it could raise sea levels by as much as an incredible 5.8 meters, which would be catastrophic for many islands and coastal areas around the world (Sparks, K. J., 2010). Scientists have found that the Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature is increasing. This temperature increase is one of the main reasons for increased activity in hurricane season. According to the EPA, out of the 10 most active hurricane seasons recorded, 6 of them have occurred since the mid-90s. Carbon pollution is also adding to the problem of Global Warming. "We have ample evidence that current global temperatures are significantly higher than any time in a thousand years," said WWF's Adam Markham. "Carbon pollution from the burning of coal and oil is projected to boost temperatures at an accelerating rate in the coming decades. The longer we wait to turn down the heat the fewer our options will be." (Mathews-Amos, A & Berntson, E, 2010). We can see that the additional carbon man is pushing into the atmosphere is having a catastrophic global effect. Whether the ocean is getting warmer, corals are crumbling, glaciers are melting or we have more severe weather, it is clear to see that man’s efforts to curb the additional carbon release need to be increased to the next level. After all, it is only our own lives we are saving.

REFERENCES
Ashford, M. (August 25, 2009). Warming oceans may cause the Earth to tilt. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from: http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-08/warming-oceans-could-tilt-earth. global warming. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/global warming
Mathews-Amos, A. & Berntson, E. (n.d.). Turning up the heat: How global warming threatens life in the sea. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from: http://www.ess-home.com/news/global-warming/damaging-oceans.asp.
Sparks, K. J. (September 7, 2010). Global Warming Effect on Antarctica – updated article with new information, Retrieved September 17, 2010, from: http://www.bionomicfuel.com/global-warming-effect-on-antarctica/.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Climate change indicators in the United States. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from EPA.gov website: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators/slideshow.html?placeValuesBeforeTB_=savedValues&TB_iframe=true&height=550&width=800
United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Coastal zones and sea level rise. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from EPA.gov website: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/coastal/index.html.

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