Showing posts with label Glaciers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glaciers. Show all posts


Climate control or Green House effect - Does it affect you?

How many of us have heard of the Greenhouse Effect? How many of us know exactly what that is? It is defined as the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy from the sun. Most of you out there are saying “Yes I know this already” but what you might not know that this term also covers the 2 types of greenhouse effects - The ‘natural' greenhouse effect (it keeps the Earth's climate warm and habitable) and the 'man-made' greenhouse effect (the enhancement of Earth's natural greenhouse effect by the addition of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly petroleum, coal, and natural gas)). The first has always been there and been normal but the other is due to man-made machinery and use. 

The first type of greenhouse effect, is normal and we cannot and don’t want, to do anything about. Why? Because this keeps Earth the warm and breathable place that everyone loves. 

The second type of greenhouse effect is not normal and we CAN do something about. If we do not do something soon, it will tip the weather balancing scales and all hell will break loose. 

There are some who don’t care – It won’t affect me.

This will affect all of us here on Earth. How?

Glaciers Melting 

Some people will be forced from their homes because the oceans will rise due to the glaciers melting. Don’t think this affects much? How about the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and in the longer term, the level of the oceans. Further evidence is shown by the pictures which show just how much they have melted. 

Retreat of Whitechuck Glacier, Washington
Glacier in 1973
Same place in 2006. The glacier has retreated 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi)

Droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, and flooding

If that doesn’t convince you, about the number of droughts, heatwaves, bushfires and flooding that every continent has been experiencing? I currently live in Australia, and we have experienced each and every one of these. We’re setting new records since records began in the 1800’s. There have been fires in places that either seen them a very long ago or haven’t seen them – ever. It’s the same with flooding, heatwaves and droughts - from Europe, to Canada, to the US, and Australia. As I said

above, I live in Australia and we are hotter, more humid and have seen bigger and angrier bushfires and droughts than I’ve ever seen before. When you look outside of your house at noon and see what should be sun and it’s almost like a fog until you open the door up and it’s smoky like someone left the wood fire door open outside and the smoke backed up out there, you know there’s trouble some place and you go looking. That was what it was like for us on Black Saturday. The trouble was less than 2 blocks away in the form of a bushfire that was moving very fast. My husband took off to help the neighbors up there and I stayed back grouping things together and to look after the house so our house could be protected from embers. We did loose homes that day – about 10 from memory – but at least others weren’t lost due to people like my husband and the volunteer firemen. Beyond that, there were 173 people who died and many others that were affected either by that lost or by other losses or traumas. 

Because of the loss of homes, life and agriculture, this affects everyone because of costs going up in things like insurance (for the home, car, life, etc), food (due to loss of crops, equipment, water to be brought in due to not having any to grow the crops, etc), and life (due to workers not being there or not being able to bring in the crops that are there).

We all eat, we all have to live some place and we all have to have water to live. Still doesn’t affect you? I think not as these are the basics that we need to live, so yes it will affect you. 

What will happen if the major climate control factor – the Gulf Stream – stops?

Most people don’t know it, but the thermohaline circulation, which supplies the ocean currents around the world, is a major factor in keeping the climate like it is. However, there is evidence that shows this circulation slowing down due to the warmth of the oceans. It’s also due to the salinity of the oceans which is lessening due to the glaciers melting. This trigger has localized cooling in the North Atlantic and can lead to cooling or lesser warming, in that region. There could be sufficient
freshwater could be provided to interrupt thermohaline circulation. It is believed that the Younger Dryas are a period where this might have been the case, although there is some disagreement as to its cause

If this does happen, it could trigger something that changes Earth’s entire climate. It could either make the temperatures get very warm or it could even throw the planet into another ice age. I have read and watched programs which have cases for either of these events happening. The way I look at it, if the circulation stalls, then something bad is going to happen either way. Then look out because no matter where you are on Earth, you’re in the crapper. If you don’t believe me, watch the video below from someone that makes a career out of science. 

If we all chip in and do something now, then we can slow these events down and, in time, turn it back to make sure Earth will stay liveable – not only to us but for the future generations.