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Unformatted text preview: Mitch McMichael ASTRO 2202 Professor Veverka March 14, 2011 Seas on the Rise? When you think about major global issues over the past twenty years, there are a number of occurrences that come to mind. The continuous terrorist threat from the Middle East, devastation from natural disasters like hurricane Katrina, and issues of third world poverty are all topics that will dominate global policy making in the near future. However, of all these concerns for the future, perhaps the most internationally concerning is the issue surrounding global warming. The threat of global warming may be our biggest foe we are to face for the next 200 years because it will not only affect us but every other living thing on earth. The sad part about it is that we cant put the blame on anyone or anything but ourselves. The threat of global warming is solely due to the fact that we show no concern for the repercussions of our dependency on burning fossil fuels. Now we are beginning to see the effects of this reckless consumption, especially in the rise of global temperature. This increase in global temperature has and will continue to melt vast reserves of ice in the northern regions of the world ultimately causing a rise in sea levels. The alarming increase in the rate at which the ice is melting has caused political influences to be particularly diligent in understanding possible solutions and defenses that might be needed in the future. There are a number of reasons to why there has been a rise in the sea level such as thermal expansion, the melting of glaciers, and the thawing of permafrost that will act as an accelerant. Before uncovering these reasons, we must first get a solid understanding as to why there has been a rise in temperatures in the first place. This is the starting point to global warming, and an understanding of this must be evident before we should begin to discuss its consequences. The overall temperature of the earths surface has increased just under 0.5 C since the mid-twentieth century and the reason for this increase has been due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, which result from our own human activities from burning too much fossil fuel and the destruction of our forestation. The burning of fossil fuels releases a massive amount of CO 2 into the atmosphere, which over time is causing it to decay and allow more sunlight and therefore heat to enter our atmosphere. The destruction of our atmosphere due to carbon dioxide is called radiative forcing and it is described as the change in net irradiance at atmospheric boundaries between different layers of atmosphere, namely the troposphere and stratosphere ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_forcing ). Deforestation has led to the increase in temperature due to the fact that only healthy, living trees are able to absorb carbon in the...
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2012 for the course ASTRO 2202 taught by Professor Veverka, j during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
- Spring '07
- VEVERKA, J
- Solar System