global warming

global warming - Sixty years ago, in the mid-1950s, the...

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Sixty years ago, in the mid-1950s, the concept of accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuels was not a common concern among scientists. Most, in fact, believed that any of the byproduct of oil burning would not linger in the air to cause any sort of problem; it would simply be reabsorbed into the oceans. Meanwhile, scientist Roger Revelle of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California had been engaged in studies with regards to how carbon dioxide interacts with the oceans. Come 1956, Revelle will have postulated that 80% of the CO 2 added to the atmosphere will stay rather than being absorbed into the oceans as previously thought. Further study would push Revelle into predicting and coining what he would call, “the greenhouse effect”. Public fear of global warming as a result of this excess atmospheric CO 2 began to crescendo until it ultimately seemed to plateau. The idea began to feel trite and people started losing concern. More recent discoveries, however, have brought the issue of global warming back to life. According to a June 2006 CNN report, scientists are predicting that the Earth is hotter now than it has been for at least 400 years. A published report further indicates that the Northern Hemisphere rose 1 degree during the 20 th century. And while such a small growth may seem too miniscule to raise concern, that amount of heating up is unprecedented for the Earth, scientists say, and may continue to get worse. More than just higher temperatures, scientists also blame global warming for creating hurricane- friendly conditions in the North Atlantic during 2005. They further indicate the sources of this temperature increase. While many of the temperature highs seen up until 1850 were as a result of “solar fluctuations and volcanic eruptions”, the more recent heating up can only be attributed to increased amounts of greenhouse gases. Even worse, as the
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more recent temperature spikes have been more severe than those caused by historic global warming sources, scientists are further convinced that the trend we see in modern weather will continue to grow more severe in the future until something is done. Their prediction is for exponential temperature growth into future centuries in which temperature highs may increase as much as 10-15 degrees. Such an increase will wreak havoc not only on the delicate ice formations of the north and south, but also on living conditions for all plant and animal life. Living creatures are designed specifically to thrive in certain temperatures. Such a massive increase would most certainly lead to global extinction and the disappearance of many currently thriving species. In order to be sure of the source of global warming and to ensure that man-
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course BILD 3 taught by Professor Wills during the Spring '07 term at UCSD.

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global warming - Sixty years ago, in the mid-1950s, the...

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