Global Warming

Created by: Jemma Wood

A Serious Problem

All over the world, the temperature and CO2 levels are escalating. This drastic change threatens not only humans, but plants and animals alike. Scientists had long been aware of this issue, but very little has ever been done to address it.


In the 1950's, Global Warming became an important discussion among scientists and governments. Studies have shown that human activities are contributing to the climate change that threatens out planet. While this was not always an issue, as the Earth cools and warms up (Ice Ages) now, temperatures are much higher than years before, and they're steadily continuing to rise.

How It Works

Think about it like this:Imagine leaving your car in a parking lot on a hot day. Sunlight goes in through the windows 70% of that sunlight is absorbed by things in the car (seats, dashboard, carpets) while the other 30% is reflected back out. But not all sunlight that came into the car is absorbed. Some of it gets trapped, thus, warming up the inside of the car.This is a simple way to explain Global Warming.Sunlight enters Earths atmosphere. About 70% of the sunlight is absorbed by oceans, plants, and land, and the other 30% is reflected back into space. But the heat that is trapped is what keeps the Earth warm.


This is called the "Greenhouse Effect". Usually, this effect is not harmful. In fact , without it, the Earth would be too cold for organisms to survive, or too hot to the point of every organism alive gets fried to a crisp.


Now, however, the Greenhouse Effect is harming us.Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have added many more Greenhouse Gases (water vapor, methane gas, and carbon dioxide being the most common) to the atmosphere.


Alright, so the Earth is warmer. More time at the beach and a better tan, what's the problem?

It a problem because the more carbon that is released into the atmosphere, the more the atmosphere traps, and the hotter the Earth gets. Sure, people enjoy warmer lifestyles, but they'll regret it when they get a taste of what other areas have already endured.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Polar Bear Plummet

In August 2003, Europe experienced a heat wave so deadly, it killed over 35,000 people!

And that isn't the worst of it.

France suffered a death toll of over 14,800. That same heat wave took the lives of approximately 7,000 people in Germany, 4,200 in Spain, and over 2,000 in England.

Heat waves are silent killers, and can easily kill children, the elderly, and the sick.


But the heat isn't just killing humans, but animals as well.


Polar bears have become to most recognized animal that has been effected by Global Warming. These beautiful carnivores depends on the ever-lasting ice to survive. They use their icy wonderlands as prime hunting spots and shelters. Rising temperatures are creeping up to these icy environments, and the bears are suffering.


The ice beneath these 800 pound predators melts, leaving bears stranded, and left to drown. Polar bears can swim, but too much swimming in endless water leaves the bears cold and exhausted, and they cannot continue.


Female polar bears find it harder to hunt due to the lack of ice, which the bears use to catch seals, and she finds that her cubs are always begging for food.

In addition, if a female and her cubs come across a starving male, being much bigger and stronger, the make will kill and eat the cubs.


Polar bear migration patterns will change with the climate, and they will arrive on land earlier and stay there longer due to the changing ice. The bears must rely on fat preserves to survive their time on land until the ice freezes again.


Polar bear numbers dwindled in the 1950's by a staggering 5,000 bears. Efforts were made to protect the bears, and numbers have been slowly increasing, but the threat of the numbers drowning again still stands, and so long as the climate changes, polar bears will find it very difficult to survive and thrive.

What Else Is In Store?

With more and more ice melting, the oceans will rise. This deadly water increase threatens coastal areas. Coast lines and beaches will flood, devastating local cities and towns. This water rise also spells trouble for coastal ecosystems like coral reefs and mangrove forests.


Because oceans absorb carbon dioxide, just like your car, the ocean will get warmer with the more CO2 it traps.

Warmer areas greatly impact creatures that live under water like fish and corals. Warmer weather also contributes to weather patterns and storms.


Storms like hurricanes, snowstorms and rainstorms will become stronger, and happen more frequently. This effects populated areas and the organisms that dwell there.

Not only will the oceans get warmer, but their become more acidic as more and more carbon is dissolved into the water.


Acidic oceans make it harder for corals to build skeletons. These skeletons provide homes for many other aquatic life, and without them, the ecosystem will be damaged. Acidic water also creates problems for shellfish because it'll make it harder for them to make shells that they use for protection.


Just when you thought it was over...!

Some areas will receive too little precipitation, while others don't receive enough.

Since the 1970's, droughts have became a major problem, extending for long periods of time with extreme conditions.

Tropics and subtropics are particularly vulnerable to droughts.

Droughts make available drinking water scarce, and with less water means that crops will also suffer. In addition, electricity created by hydro dams will be unavailable to locals.



Fun Fact!

On May 9, 2013, scientists reported that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere exceeded 400 ppm (parts per million) which is the highest level on record. And its only expected to get worse. If nothing is done that really has an impact on these increasing levels, everyone and everything everywhere will be in trouble.

Alternatives

Below, are 3 alternative energy sources that can help, pro's and con's included!



Solar Power

Solar Power:

Harnesses the Sun's light and heat!


Pro's:

1) Clean and quiet — has no moving parts , and doesn't create waste from chemical reactions

2) Solar power is available whenever the sun is shining!

3) Solar panels require minimal maintenance

4) Many homeowners qualify to own solar panels.


Con's:

1) Panels are only useful when the Sun is out.

2) Weather may decrease the efficiency of the panels

3) Solar panels are only about 20% efficient


Wind Power

Wind Power:

Wind blows against a turbines blades that power a generator.


Pro's:

1) Produces clean energy — no waste because no chemical reaction takes place

2) Don't take up too much space


Con's:

1) Wind is not always constant in some areas, and installing them there, makes no sense

2) Wind turbines can alter the landscape and natural aesthetics

Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectricity:

Water movement is converted into electrical energy if it spins an electric turbine.

Most used alternative energy source today!


Pro's:

1) Also produces clean energy — produces no harmful waste because no chemical reaction takes place

2) Water that passes through the turbine doesn't get contaminated and is safe to use afterwards.

3) With dams, water flow can be altered and regulated to match demand.


Con's:

1) Dams are expensive to build and may damage the ecosystem.