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Global Warming Is Real: The Before And After Pictures
There are many people in the world today who are some what skeptical about anything pertaining to global warming. I have seen dozens of comments made by many readers here and on other websites voicing their skepticism. They simply do not believe all the hype about this global scale phenomena that is literally happening right in front of us at any given moment. Many believe all the ideas and thoughts about global warming is nothing more than a politically driven mandate to control our lives when it comes to energy consumption. The fact is, we are the ones on this planet with the highest energy consumption and the end result of all this energy consumption is a steady increase of heat, carbon dioxide and other by-products into the atmosphere produced by us that is causing gradual increases in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere from year to year. It is the vast majority of people who do not believe human activity is responsible for global warming. I will present some evidence that global warming is a real thing and not just some political hype. The pictures I pulled together from various sources will speak for themselves.
What exactly is "Global Warming"?
As the term implies, global warming is the gradual increase in the average temperature of the atmosphere and ocean due to human influences. This trend have been observed since the 1880s and is accelerating. It is not the recent anomaly we have been experiencing in the winter weather with record high temperatures in the northeastern U.S. or the significant snowfalls in the Europe. Global warming is not just a local phenomena or a short term one; it is an event that has been going on for quite some time globally. This is the main reason people in general do not understand it because they are trying to see it on a local scale and from a short term perspective. Also, many people are confusing it with "climate change". Climate change is the change in weather pattern due to natural, periodic and cyclical swings in temperatures such as the ice age which covers a much longer period of time usually for thousands of years. However, from a recent report leading scientists in the world are now convinced that human activities such as fossil fuel burning is another contributing factor causing climate change.
Personally, I believe in this global warming trend based on the single fact that the human population is much higher than what it was more than a hundred years ago. The world population was less than one billion just before the beginning of the 20th century and it is now seven times higher. Obviously, human activity must be contributing in some way to the gradual warming of the Earth's atmosphere.
The foundation of global warming is based on the one critical, well documented fact that the temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased by about 1.4 degree Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. This does not sound like much but that all it takes to make significant changes in global weather patterns over time. A case in point, the size of the El Nino and La Nina weather systems over the Pacific ocean are effected directly by the temperature of the ocean based on well documented records of the ocean temperature. This temperature started increasing right at the start of the industrial revolution with significant increases in greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuel and from deforestation.
Evidence of Global Warming
- Photos of Worldwide Glacial Retreat
There are dozens of supporting evidence that the Earth’s atmosphere is much warmer then it has been in the last hundred years or so. Many of these evidence can be found in the highly respected magazine National Geographic and other scientific journals and papers where there are dozens of “before and after” photos taken years apart of geographical locations. Below are examples of photos show the strongest and most obvious result of global warming; retreating glaciers, melting ice and shrinking snow cover occurring in the arctic region of the world.
The top photos below show how much the Columbia Glacier in Alaska has retreated in just 25 years between 1980 to 2005. In 2001 the glacier was retreating at a rate of 98 feet per day. That was it maximum rate but has since slowed down and it is still retreating. The bottom photos are the Arapaho Glacier in the Colorado Rockies. These photos were taken 105 years apart indicating the glacier was already retreating as far back as the 1890s.
Scientists have analyzed dozens of historical meteorological records and have come to the conclusion that temperature in the atmosphere and oceans has been increasing gradually for the last century. Even thought these records only go back to the 1850s scientists have been able to reconstruct temperatures of the atmosphere as far back as 1000 years.
- Plots Generated from meteorological records and Proxy Data
Scientists have analyzed dozens of historical meteorological records and have come to the conclusion that temperature in the atmosphere and oceans has been increasing gradually for the last century. Even though these records only go back to the 1850s scientists have been able to reconstruct temperatures of the atmosphere as far back as 1000 years using proxy data. Proxy data such as those generated from ice core samples, measurements of tree rings intervals, bore samples taken from sediments from the ocean and sea floor, and measurement of gases from bubbles trapped in ice are some examples of preserved physical characteristics of the past used by scientists to reconstruct prevailing climatic conditions in the past. Below are several charts of plots generated from proxy data and earlier meteorological records.
The chart above was generated in 1998 by Mann, Bradley and Hughes with data from temperature proxy. It shows a definite increase in the emission of carbon in the last 200 years of a 1000 year time span from fossil fuel burning by humans in the northern hemisphere. We all know a higher percentage of the world population has been living in the northern hemisphere since that time and continue to do so. This plot is the famous hockey stick plot some scientists have been disputing since the beginning of the debate on global warming. But the interesting point about this plot is that it correlates very well with the plot below of the concentration in ppm of CO2, a well known infrared absorber, in atmosphere for the same time span. Again the plot shows a rapid increase of one of the components of the atmosphere in the last 200 years.
The next chart is a reconstructed plot of the average temperature drawn from several sources of proxy data. The last 20 to 25 years of the plot is data from instrumental readings of land temperature in the northern hemisphere. Once again there is a significant increase in land temperature in the last 25 years which correlates very well with the other two plots.
- Photos of Coral Bleaching
Another area where global warming is showing a serious impact is on the coral reefs and other marine life in various parts of the world. Corals have been dying due to warmer waters and will continue to die-off at faster rates as the ocean temperature continue to rise. The survival of the coral reef depends on it’s symbiotic relationship with the algae growing on them. The algae is what give the coral it brilliant colors and food. When there is an increase in water temperature the metabolic rate of the algae increases which causes them to produce more toxins. This toxin is harmful to the corals and the corals eventually remove the algae from themselves which disrupts their food supply. As a result, the coral appears white since there is no algae growing on them and eventually die. Below are two photos show bleaching of corals. off the coast of Florida in 2010. The first photo show bleaching of Staghorn corals, an endangered species, off the coast of Florida taken as recent as 2010.
Even though I have only shown a few photos out of hundreds available, the photos clearly show something is happening worldwide and many scientist believe these images are the results of global warming. Furthermore, with the recent increases of late season hurricanes reaching the northeastern region of the United States, Irene in 2011 and Sandy's recent landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012 and the record breaking temperatures we are now seeing in the western United States where temperatures are reaching within a few degrees of the hottest recorded temperature on earth, 134 degrees Fahrenheit, are more evidence that the global climate is changing possibly due to global warming.
Additional before and after photos showing evidence of global warming.
Whether global warming is cause by human activity or not doesn't really matter because only time will tell. As I said earlier, if you really think about it with 7 billion people on this world and the population is still growing; we must be contributing directly or indirectly with increasing temperature in the atmosphere and oceans in some way. All this heat from us and our activities have to go somewhere and probably is in some way having an effect on the world climate. In the end we will be forced to intervene in one form or another to slow this phenomena down before it is too late.
© 2012 Melvin Porter