What Is Climate Change, and what Is the Problem? Unless otherwise cited, all graphics are NASA, or open source, such as: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/ Jay Moynihan UW-Extension Shawano County
Climate Change: • Is not new. The climates on earth have always slowly changed over long periods of time. • Is not the “Greenhouse Effect”, though that is important to it. • The problem we have, is rapid climate change.
Carbon dioxide important for retaining heat in the atmosphere. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has varied over time
We came upon the “Goldilocks Problem” Lead would melt on the surface. Atmosphere 93x thicker than ours, and made of CO2 Atmosphere 95% CO2, but less than 1% as thick as ours Cold Just Right!
The reason earth is “just right” is the way our planet’s carbon cycle works.
A complex dynamic inter-relationship of geology, chemistry, and biology, all in relation to energy from the sun creates and maintains what we call “climate”.
Lets zoom in on the geology partfor a bit. • A molecule of CO2 deposits in the oceans after about 100 years of rolling around in plants, animals, and the atmosphere. • Some carbon from dead plants and animals get covered over, eventually. • It slowly gets crunched down in the earth’s crust. • From that, you get: • Carbonate rocks • Oil • Natural gas • Coal • Diamonds
In the early 1700’s we learned to do something really amazing. We figured out how to get that old carbon out of the ground, nearly completely processed by geology for burning, to do work!
But burning that old buried carbon (hundreds of millions of years worth), pumped new CO2 into the carbon cycle.
Climate models predicted the first extreme signs of warming would be in the Northern Circumpolar region Alaska
Melting permafrost, street collapse Sudden collapse of permafrost redirects river through a highway “Drunken Trees” Invasion of the Spruce Bore Beetle ALASKA NOW
As of August 9, 2007 Scientific models re ice melt in arctic as of 02/2007, are at current observed rate, too slow. Image is from http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/LargerImages/RegionGraphics/Alaska/SeaIce.jpg DOD images
Shows the timescales over which emitted carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. Mixing in the biosphere and oceans remove 70-85% of emissions after 200 years, but the remainder establishes a new equilibrium that may persist for hundreds of thousands of years.
So, what difference does a few degrees centigrade change in the average planetary annual temperature make? Well. About 72,000 years ago, the average planetary annual temperature slide down about 3 degrees centigrade (that’s 5.4 degrees F.) And this is what happened…
Summary:The balance of the carbon cycle, which “regulates” the greenhouse effect has been disrupted by the injection of carbon dioxide by us into the system.The system balances the books over a long time span. Our new deposit is really fast.It is getting warmer and it is compared to normal, rapid Images & graphics were used from The IPCC, U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, Nelson Institute (UW), and Creative Commons public domain climate change image banks, and http://www.globalwarmingart.com