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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Global Warming
by Michael Hill
Physical Geology
Spring 2007


Global Warming


     Global warming is an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.  The term is also used for the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming, which pertains to most of the recently observed and projected global warming due to a human induced intensification
of the greenhouse effect.   The greenhouse effect is the release of fossil fuels into the atmosphere.


            The rest is predominantly due to land-use change.  (Agriculture and land clearing)  In any case the earth’s temperature has increased by 0.75 degrees Celsius.  The global temperature is five to nine degrees warmer now than in the last ice age. 


            Carbon dioxide levels and ocean temperature coincide over a study carried out over a thirty year period; it indicates that a rise in carbon dioxide in the air follows a rise in ocean temperature by about five months. 

            The IPCC states that a small rise in sea level would make some coastal plains uninhabitable.  A sea level rise excess of four meters would severely affect almost every coastal area.  The IPCC predicts a sea level rise of less than 1 meter by 2100.  In addition the IPCC warn that global warming may lead to irreversible changes in the earth’s glacial system and ultimately melt enough ice to raise sea levels many meters over the next millennia. 

            But an article in TIMES argues, “Different set of measurements from the Dry Valleys region confirms the trend.  Estimates of future rises in sea level may not be accurate”.  Antarctica has become colder over the past thirty-five years and continues to cool. (“It remains a mystery”.)  Temps in Antarctica are falling by 0.7 Celsius a decade.  Both green house theory and computer models predict that global warming should be more rapid in the Polar Regions than anywhere else; but in July the Antarctic experienced the coldest weather on record, says another source.  On that basis alone you can assume that much carbon dioxide over the past century is a consequence of a rise in global temperature is caused by natural factors rather than by anthropogenic additions.  Plus photosynthesis removes approximately as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as respiration adds to it.  This cycle keeps the atmosphere levels of carbon dioxide fairly consistent.  


            Various theories have been hypothesized being only supported by a small science community.  (1. The warming is a consequence of coming out of a prior cool period-the Little Ice Age-and needs no other explanation.  Supporters of this theory contend that accurate records if temperature were not collected until the end of the Little Ice Age (mid 1800’s), and hence, natural warming would be an inevitable result over the subsequent decades; 2.  The warming trend itself has not been clearly established, and therefore does not need any explanation, and 3. The warming is within the range of natural variation and needs no particular explanation.)    


            The Hothouse/ Heat wave, the Rising Sea/ International Flooding, and Endangered Species/ Dying Forests are supposed to be the direct effect of global warming due to anthropogenic global warming. But I believe in the alternative theories supported by only a small science community, that something naturally occurring and therefore needs no explanation.  Anthropogenic global warming can be reduced though by leaving the car at home and

 taking public transportation; the development of more fuel efficient automobiles (ethanol) can help in energy conservation. Solar collectors on the roof can provide adequate heat and hot water, or large scale production of electricity. Reforestation could continue with the photosynthesis cycle, also food able to withstand drought would be beneficial if the Hothouse/ Heat wave theory kicked in.






v     Global Warming:  Opposing Viewpoints.  David Bender and Bruno Leone, Series Editors.  Copyright 1997 by Greenhaven Press, Inc.



v     Greenhouse effect life on a Warmer Planet.  Rebecca L. Johnson.  Copyright 1990 by Lerner Publications Company.

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