Analysis of the Problem1. History of the Problem Some scientist’s have been concerned since 1896 about what might happenif there were 5.5 billion tons carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In 1961 aBritish scientist did an experiment showing that the carbon in the air wasabsorbing some of the sun’s radiation. Afterward a Swedish scientist, SuanteArrhenius, found out if the radiation of the sun was trapped in the carbondioxide the temperature of the earth would increase by 1-2 degrees. In 1988James Hanson, a respected scientist, told the U.
S. Congress “the greenhouseeffect is occurring now and it’s changing global climate.”(1989 Koral). Afterthe 1900’s people started making factories and started using fossil fuels likecoal, oil, and aluminum. It was the industrial revolution and overpopulation ofhumans that was the cause of the environmental problems that we have today.
2. Human Activity Causing the Problem The reason our Earth is getting hotter is that human activities areemitting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The radiation from thesun gets trapped in the bag of carbon dioxide that surrounds our earth.
One main reason for the problem of global warming is the burning offossil fuels. Fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gases. We use these fuelsto run factories, power plants, cars, trucks, buses, air conditioning and etc.The people of the earth are putting 5.5 billion tons of carbon, in the form ofcarbon dioxide in the air every year! Seventy five percent of this is fossilfuels.3.
Impact Causing Global Change For many years, scientists have been predicting that our disregard forMother Nature would make the climatic temperature of this Earth to increasegreatly. There have been arguments that the whole idea of Global Warming is ahoax, that the temperature cycle is just experiencing an upward trend and willeventually come back down. Now, however, we are starting to see the evidence ofour behavior. Remember the great heat wave in Chicago? That could have been aconsequence of global warming.
Nearly a hundred people died, and the city’seconomy came to a standstill. A much more tragic but less known heat wavesmashed into India, causing upward of 600 deaths. Global Warming doesn’t only increase temperatures in hot areas. It alsodecreases temperatures in cold areas. An example of this has been the coldspell that struck the midwest. In Montana, temperatures plummeted to 30 degreesbelow and stayed there.
The coldest weather ever recorded plagued our country’sheart for over three weeks, and still hasn’t returned to normal. A relatedincident has been the blizzards of the east coast. Some places in New YorkState got over twenty feet of snow. On a Native Island, where native tribes live, if the sea level risesthree fourths of a meter then half of the island will sink. This will happen inmany different islands around the world and if the water keeps on rising as itis, then farming land near the seashores will be flooded and the crops will bedestroyed.
Like California and other states, we are adding CO2 and changing theearth’s weather. Some places are getting too little water which causes adrought and other places get too much water which causes a flood. In California, there was an almost permanent drought during theeighties. This was gone in the nick of time by the great rainstorms of 1995.
We also experienced a frightening cold spell in 1992.The Road Ahead With all these obvious scourges plaguing us now, it seems that thingscannot get any worse. However, the current droughts, floods, and storms are justthe tip of the iceberg. If the greenhouse effect continues unabated, then theinhabitants of Planet Earth have some surprises in store.
Scientists estimate that the global temperature will rise between 5 and9 degrees by the middle of the 21st century, accompanied by a sea-level rise ofone to four feet. Five degrees may not seem like a drastic change, but in thelast ice age at the beginning of the Quaternary period, the average temperaturewas only five degrees colder than it is now. Thus, our actions our warming theearth enough to break out of an ice age. Once the temperature reaches a certain threshold, the polar ice capswill began to melt. While those living in the Arctic may find that a welcomesurprise, the implications for the rest of the world are serious.
Even a partialmelting of the polar ice caps will cause sea levels to rise so much as tocompletely wipe out most coastal cities. This includes such cultural centers asSan Francisco and New York. Those cities that survive will be battered down byhurricanes much more severe than anything seen in history. Of course, inlandcities are not immune either.
Rather than floods, they will face drought. Sowhile half the world is swimming to work, the other half will be crawling ontheir knees with a scorching sun beating against their backs. When drinkable water is a scarcity, it will become a commodity thatrepresents political power. The countries with water will be the countries withpower.
This means there will be a political upheaval of global proportions. Lifeas our children know it will be completely different, and not necessarily forthe better. With most of America’s lakes dried up and its major trading portsunder several feet of salt water, perhaps we won’t be the economical leader. If we don’t start trying to stop global warming from happening now,there will be many more consequences. Another consequence will be that therewill be high raises in temperature, affecting human life by causing skin cancer,damaging the human immune, and causing cataracts. Raises in temperature willalso affect agricultural and aquatic life.
Also, many species will die off. Andin the forests or maybe animals, there could be medicines to cure some kind ofdisease. The way these cancers and diseases come to be is because the sundeadly rays like UV rays, which mutate human cells.b.
Experimental Design1. Restate Problem Natural occurrences are not the only caused and influences of ouratmosphere changing. Human activities also cause the atmosphere to change. Fossil fuels burning is producing a worldwide increase in the atmosphereconcentration of carbon dioxide. If atmospheric carbon dioxide continues toincrease at the present rate, studies estimate that the average surfacetemperature will rise 2 degrees Celsius by the middle of the next century. Thiswill be a climate change greater than any other ever experienced in history,that we know of.
The four main greenhouse gases are Carbon Dioxide (CO2),Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). With theexception of CFCs, all these gases are found in nature. It is the recentexplosion of the human population that has caused an exponential increase intheir atmospheric presence. Although nature has provisions for removing carbon dioxide, it does nottake into account the human factor. The long, complicated carbon cycle can onlykeep up with increasing human activity if the tree population increasesproportionately. Due to modern medicine and increased awareness of nutrition andhealth, the human race has managed to extend its lifespan considerably, therebyreleasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. This, combined with an alarming rate ofrainforest depletion and air pollution, leads to an unmanageable amount of CO2in the atmosphere.
Since its sources are both natural and human, carbon dioxideis the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, at 50%. As far as CFCs, our only excuse is that “it seemed a good idea at thetime.” When they were first invented, they seemed to be the miracle chemical ofthe century. Because of their low boiling point, CFCs could act as coolers inrefrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners.
Also, they were used to makeStyrofoam and as aerosol propellants. As it turns out, they are as skilled atdestruction as they are at refrigerating. Scientists discovered in the 1970’sthat CFCs destroy ozone, starting an international ban on their usage. Later, itwas determined that CFCs contribute to global warming as well, making them adangerous double whammy. CFCs are no longer used in aerosol and Styrofoam,however most refrigerators still contain freon, a CFC.
Fortunately, the freoncan be recycled. Contributing to 25% of global warming, CFCs are still a majorproblem, but at least the U.S. and the other powers have recognized it as such.
Methane, also known as a natural gas, contributes 15% to the greenhouse effect.It is caused by cows and rice paddies. The major American demand for so muchbeef urges foreign farmers to clear forests for pastures. This also causes anincrease in carbon dioxide, as well as a cow population so high that themethane-rich burps of the complex digestive system are a major contributingfactor to the greenhouse effect. Add to that the methane released from naturalsources, and you have a very large problem. The ten percent that is left comesfrom nitrous oxide, a common pollutant. It, along with carbon dioxide, forms themajor part of car exhaust.
Half a billion cars drive the streets of the worldtoday, a number expected to double by 2030. N2O is also released by the burningof fossil fuels. Finally, it finds its way into the atmosphere from nitrogenfertilizers, which are used heavily by today’s modern farmers. Overall thereare many pollutants in our atmosphere, influenced by humans, and by naturaleffects. In our opinion if any member of this country wants to live in a goodenvironment then they have to take charge and to make a difference even if youhave to become a vegetarian so there will not be CO2 from the animals.
2. Hypothesis If we continue to pollute the air with methane gases and don’t doanything about it, then the average global temperature will rise and there willbe many consequences. Warming expands ocean water and may melt some glaciers.The sea level could rise one foot in the next 35 years and two in the next 100. Hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme storms may become more frequent. Centers of large continents, such as the U.S.
Great Plains, may be drier even ifthe overall world rainfall increases somewhat. Heat waves may be more common. Movement of just 1 percent of a future population of 6 billion people due tohigher sea level, drought, or other climate change would produce 60 millionmigrants, many times the number of all refugees today. Impact mixed.
Carbondioxide stimulates plant growth. However, heat increases demand for water.Growing zones will shift if weather patterns change. Warming that expands thetropics will also expand the range of tropical diseases such as malaria andother insect borne maladies. Possible mass extinction may occur as conditionschange faster than species can move or adapt. Urban and agriculture developmentleaves few wilderness corridors for migration.3.
EOS Satellite The Earth Observing System (EOS) Data and Information System (EOSDIS) isNASA’s Mission to Planet Earth’s (MTPE) project to provide access to EarthScience data. EOSDIS manages data from NASA’s past and current Earth scienceresearch satellites and field measurement programs, providing data archiving,distribution, and information management services. During the EOS era–beginning with the launch of the TRMM satellite in 1997 EOSDIS will command andcontrol satellites and instruments, and will generate useful products fromorbital observations.
EOSDIS will also generate data sets made by assimilationof satellite and in situ observations into global climate models. The instrument that we chose that monitors the impact of human activityis HIRDLS. HIRDLS is an infrared limb-scanning radiometer designed to sound theupper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere to determine temperature; theconcentrations of O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, NO2, HNO3, N2O5, CFC11, CFC12, andaerosols; and the locations of polar stratospheric clouds and cloud tops. Thegoals are to provide sounding observations with horizontal and verticalresolution superior to that previously obtained; to observe the lowerstratosphere with improved sensitivity and accuracy; and to improveunderstanding of atmospheric processes through data analysis, diagnostics, anduse of two- and three-dimensional models. HIRDLS performs limb scans in the vertical at multiple azimuth angles,measuring infrared emissions in 21 channels ranging from 6.
12 to 17.76 um. Fourchannels measure the emission by CO2. Taking advantage of the known mixing ratioof CO2, the transmittance is calculated, and the equation of radiative transferis inverted to determine the vertical distribution of the Planck black bodyfunction, from which the temperature is derived as a function of pressure. Oncethe temperature profile has been established, it is used to determine the Planckfunction profile for the trace gas channels. The measured radiance and thePlanck function profile are then used to determine the transmittance of eachtrace species and its mixing ratio distribution.
Winds and threatening tornados are determined from spacial variations ofthe height of geopotential surfaces. These are determined at upper levels byintegrating the temperature profiles vertically from a known reference base.HIRDLS will improve knowledge of data-sparse regions by measuring the heightvariations of the reference surface provided by customary sources with the aidof a gyro package. This level, which is near the base of the stratosphere canalso be blended downward using nadir temperature soundings to improvetropospheric analyses.