Let’s Talk About Our Planet – Pt.2 : WTF Is Climate Change?

Let’s Talk About Our Planet Pt.2 : WTF Is Climate Change?

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Hey guys!

The last time I did this series, I debunked some of the more common misconceptions about Climate Change. If you’d like to read that article please click here.

      Debunking silly misconceptions doesn’t really explain much, though, does it?

I mean, it tells us that some of these arguments against Climate Change are wrong, and I certainly made the past article with a more humorous approach.  This time, and from this article on, I’ll be doing more to explain what Climate Change is, how it affects us, the implications of those affects, some possible solutions, and so on.

Today, let’s focus on what Climate Change is.

To start here’s the definition:

long-term change in the earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature. In particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onward, and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Well, that sums it up doesn’t it?

Not really. It’s not the definition that matters, but what you think it is.

Now, when you first hear the words ‘Climate Change’, what are the first things that come to mind?

Well…naturally, the climate changing. A lot of people are under the impression that the climate has always changed.

They are right, it has. If you’re one of those people, you get a cookie. Only half, though, because you’re still missing half the picture.

The difference between that kind of climate change, and the type of climate change we are talking about, is the increased rate and frequency in which these changes happen. The recent speed up is due to the rate of emissions going into our atmosphere, trapping in heat and moisture, and thus, energy that turns into more violent storms, and other major shifts in nature. A speed up this fast is obviously going to screw up our natural order, so there is no surprise that we are beginning to see the damage.

Woah, woah, woah…back up. What emissions? How does it trap in heat? How fast are these rates? Why does that contribute to major shifts? How does it all make a difference in the first place?

Hang onto your britches, I’m about to tell you.

Greenhouse gas emissions are mainly made up of two types : Carbon Dioxide (or CO2) and Methane Gases. Naturally, our planet needs some of these gases in order to trap in heat from the sun. Without them, it would escape into space and leave us in the cold.

A good portion of Earth’s atmosphere was developed with CO2 emissions, along with a plethora of other gases, all of which contributed to the layer of vapor that protects our planet from raw solar radiation. So, they are necessary in a certain quantity. All of these gases (from ammonia, to helium) are what made our planet inhabitable in the first place.

Since emissions trap in solar radiation, when you have too much, the Earth’s temperature increases past natural levels, as less solar radiation is being repelled into space. The more heat we get on the planet, the more evaporation of oceans, glaciers and other bodies of water, as well as an increase in transpiration from other objects that release hydrogen, and other gases.

When we have more evaporation, we have more moisture and humidity, and even more heat because of that. When all of this combines, you end up with extreme weather, as all of the energy going up needs to release at some point. Imagine a jar. Imagine that jar is full of protons, electrons, and other natural occurring elements we have on the planet. Then wait to see what happens as they smash together, with no room to go elsewhere.

They begin to react with each other, and that’s what causes the explosion of energy that is extreme weather.

This is the reason we are seeing so many more natural disasters in our current day. These emissions have been added to for the past century, thanks to dependence on fossil fuels, and other types of industrialization that increase the rate of emissions in the air.

But Adam, how do we know the Earth is getting warmer? Maybe it’s just a phase, and since we have only been looking for the past century, it may change from what we think.

Except, we have seen the Earth getting warmer, and we know this isn’t a part of the natural cycle. It’s not a phase like you tell your prepubescent son that his peach-fuzz and squeaky voice is a phase. It’s hardly even a phase.

Scientists have been studying Climate Change, A.K.A Global Warming, since the early 1960’s, and have used a mass of different fields of study, from Geology to Archaeology, from Meteorology to Anthropology, Micro-biology to mechanical physics, and so on. Just about every field of science has been used to determine these issues are not just a part of a norm in nature.

 Here are some graphs to help illustrate the trends they have seen:

 Trends for Global Emissions:

TrendsGlobalEmissions

Trends for Heat in the Ocean:

heat_content2000m

Trends for Global Annual Temperature:

temperature-trends-adjusted-1979-2012

As you can see, heating correlates fairly well with the rise in emissions, and these are just three of countless graphs that portray the same thing.

Another good experiment to prove these graphs accurate, is one that I’m going to do my best to paraphrase, and hopefully I don’t butcher it. The idea of it is fairly simple.

Take two jars that have a decent seal, and place a thermometer in each. Take a bottle of CO2 (make sure you know what you’re doing with gases), and attach a hose that extends into one of the bottles.

Then, put heat lamps, at equal distance and strength, above, or around, both of these jars. Be sure that they are separated at enough of a distance that the heat from one is not affecting heat from the other.

Then, wait, and watch as the jar with CO2 heats up at a faster rate than the one without. That jar is our atmosphere. Our planet is inside of that jar, or at least you can imagine it being there.

If you have two good props that can absorb heat, and used as planets (both of same size, material, and density) you can place those within the jar to see how much heat the object absorbs (you would need an internal thermometer, placed inside the object to do this accurately, I imagine, but you could try it and see how it works).

You’ll end up with similar results, either way. Planet inside, or planet outside, it doesn’t make a difference. The point of this experiment is this : it’s getting much hotter in that jar with CO2 inside of it, compared to the one without any.

Well, we are in a jar, and we have no way to pop the cork to release the emissions. The sad thing is, even cutting down our emissions at this point will not do us much justice in the matter. This does not mean we shouldn’t cut down our emissions. It means we are already in a bad situation, and reducing them won’t improve it much. It will, however, prevent future issues from getting further out of hand.

There we go. Some basics on what Climate Change is; how we have affected it and how it affects our planet.

If there are any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I wanted to limit this article to be as short as possible, so that all those with time can go over it with ease. I probably missed some points. So if you would like to know more, let me know and I will add them in.

The next article I will be doing on the “Let’s Talk About Our Planet” series will be about realistic outcomes of climate change, some examples of the types of disasters we have already dealt with, as well as the ones we can expect.

Please like, share, and spread this article out, so more people can be informed on this worldwide issue that affects us all. No matter what religion, race, country, age, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever other label that you are, Climate Change affects you, and we all need to be discussing it.

As always, thanks for reading.

Adam Gainer

~~~

Extra Sources to Learn From:

What is Climate Change?

http://climate.nasa.gov/

http://www.theclimategroup.org/

Graphs:

http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/images/ghgemissions/TrendsGlobalEmissions.png

http://www.realclimate.org/images//heat_content2000m.png

http://icons.wxug.com/hurricane/2013/temperature-trends-adjusted-1979-2012.png

Want to keep up with this series? Subscribe on WordPress, or follow me here:

Twitter Account : twitter.com/Adam_Gainer

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Our Planet – Pt.2 : WTF Is Climate Change?

  1. […] This is the whole reason why I’ve decided to do this series in the first place – to break things down so they are a bit easier to understand, so we can all be more scientifically literate. That way, we can all contribute to the conversation about serious issues, such as Climate Change and the like, and push to make a real change and better world for the future. You can check out my first article debunking misconceptions of Climate Change here. Part two, explaining the basics of Climate Change, can be read here. […]

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