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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Confronting Climate Change


I learned that Climate change denial is the term used to describe how individuals and institutions downplay or ignore the extent of climate change, its significance, and its origins in human behavior. Denial happens in defense of financial interests, but also to protect individuals from facing the prospect of a climate-changed future and the changes they would need to make in their behaviors and lifestyles. It is especially prevalent amongst the populations of high-income countries.
I also learned in the IPCC 2007 AR4 report, it is predicted that by the end of the 21st century, climate change will result in:
-A probable temperature rise between 1.8 °C and 4 °C, with a possible. temperature rise between 1.1 °C and 6.4 °C
-A sea level rise most likely to be 28-43 cm
-Arctic summer sea ice disappearing in second half of century
-An increase in heat waves being very likely
-A likely increase in tropical storm intensity.
There are also different DATA IN CLIMATE CHANGE ANALYSIS like rainfall, rainy days, typhoons, maximum temperature, flooding, Ground Water Potential (GWP), humidity, and cloudiness.
The impacts of climate change may persist for more than 1000 years, even after human-induced emissions of CO2 stop completely. New studies find that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation caused by CO2emissions from human activity are largely irreversible.
All of these impacts and predictions really make me worried and scared. That's why I suddenly have this to urge to really help preventing these things and avoid contributing to it more. I will share all the things I learned here to others by joining the campaign for Climate Change Awareness and will do my best to share these knowledge.
I watched a presentation about Climate Change and it’s impacts in our planet.
I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about this topic in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the presentation that I watched.


Climate Change: The Global Scenario

I learned that all of the events of the past decade, all of our memories have something in common. They all took place during the hottest decade ever recorded since humans begin keeping temperature records about 150 years ago.
In the last decade, the earth's temperature raised roughly a third of the degree Fahrenheit since 1880. It's risen about 1 1/2 degrees. You might say the Earth's having a fever and science has predicted that it's going to be much worse.
The global sea level rose by over an inch during the decade, almost twice as fast as the average during the 20th century. Arctic summer sea ice is declined by over 300,000 sq. miles, enough ice to cover the States of Texas and Kentucky.
Majority of climate scientists say evidence are human-caused warming quicker but less understood is exactly how this warming could change the complex interactions between our planet's land, water, sky and the different organisms we have in our world.
As NASA scientists improve their understanding and predictions about climate change, NASA satellites provide critical data about what's happening on our planet today, real life observations scientists use to hone their predictions. And NASA gets a global view of the three major pieces of the climate puzzle:
1            1) How much of the sun's energy is heating the earth
              2) How much of that energy is being reflected back to the space
              3) How much is being trapped, heating the planet.
NASA satellites measure the sun's energy which fluctuates 2 to 10 years of cycle. Could increase in solar activity cause global warming? Satellite evidence shows us that solar cycle has only a slight impact on our planet's temperature.
The second piece of our temperature puzzle is our planet's brightness? All other things being equal, a brighter or reflective planet bounces more energy back to space. Some of the brightest or the most reflective are those covered with ice.  NASA imagery shows those area shrink, especially in the Arctic. As sea ice manages into darker oceans, our planet becomes less reflective and warms even further. Clouds also reflect amount of sunlight. As our planet warms, more water evaporates, creating more clouds. More cloud covering increases the planet's brightness, helping to cool the planet. But clouds and the small particles called the aerosols that help perform our climate wild cards. Many current climate models predict some cooling could increase cloud cover. But will it be enough to significantly slow warming? Scientists are using NASA data for the answer.
Further complicating issue is that water vapor is actually the world's most abundant greenhouse gas, the same molecules that might cool the planet in cloud for actually warm even in the form of gas.

Carbon dioxide is the second most abundant greenhouse gas, and our biggest contribution to global warming. Fossil fuels burning releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. NASA satellites capture the infra-red signature of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere. NASA also monitors other greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs.
Greenhouse gas is most likely the main contributor to current global warming. It's the key piece to the temperature puzzle, to unlock the door in higher and higher temperatures.
2010, marks the hottest decade ever recorded so far. What will the next 10 years become for our planet? Computer models predict even warmer temperature, extreme weather, less ice, and higher seas.
"The severity of those changes will depend partly on how our planet's complex system responds and more importantly, on what choices we make."

                I watched a video and powerpoint presentation about “Climate Change: The Global Scenario.”

                I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about this topic in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Climate Change: The Local Scenario

I learned that one of the major tribulations of the world today is Climate Change. Humanity has a lot to do with the recent warming of the Earth's atmosphere. It is because of man's numerous activities that release greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. And this results to the rise in temperature of the whole world. The different types of greenhouse gases are as follow:
Carbon Dioxide - comes from the emissions of diesel and gasoline by motor vehicles and from various industries.
Methane - comes from agriculture and decaying trash
Nitrous oxide - comes from biomass burning, intensive agriculture, motor vehicles, and industries
Hydrofluorocarbons, hyperfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride - comes from aerosols and industrial coolants.
Greenhouse gases are sent into the air when we use excessive energy in watching TV, using air conditioner, hair dryer, microwave oven and other appliances. The electricity we use for these comes from power plants. Most power plants burn coal and oil which produce greenhouse gases.
Climate change has many effects on different aspects.
Health – increase in respiratory diseases, infectious diseases and weather-related mortality
Agriculture – changes in crop yields, irrigation demand and productivity
Forests - changes in ecology, geographic range of species, its health and productivity
Water Resources – decrease in water supply and quality, competition issues in water
Industry and energy - demand and supply in energy
Since Philippines is an archipelago, several areas in our country are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Flooding, sea level rise, and salt water intrusion are the direct effects of climate change. Our country has various natural resources which contribute to the livelihood and food of approximately 64.7 million population in coastal areas
The increasing development and industrialization results to the growth of population of these communities and the change in climate poses an enormous effect on the livelihood of these people.
One of our problems here in the Philippines is storm. With global warming, sea temperature raises causing storms to be formed. If you look at the map of the Pacific ocean, most storms are focused towards the Philippines before going to other countries. Several extreme events were the occurrence of the super typhoons in 2006 namely Typhoon Paeng, Reming, Semiang, Milenyo.
Climate change has several impacts on our physical and biological systems. Because of this, there will be an increase in frequency and intensity of El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon. Due to sea level rise, the beaches and shorelines may erode. Floods may also result to the inundation of several coastal areas especially in the eastern Philippines. The seas will increase its salinity causing a lesser mangrove production. It will also be harmful for sea grasses and such. Due to this, there will be less nutrients available for marine life.
Coral bleaching is when corals die out because of the warmer sea temperature, affecting the food chain since it is the main source of food.
Many adaptations have to be made to all the coastal communities with large exposure to climate change in order to moderate its damages. Simple ways can actually be a great help like avoiding the release of greenhouse gases. Proper care of water resources, trees, plants etc. There should be significant attention to the environment.
I watched a video presentation about “Climate Change: The Local Scenario.”
I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about our Earth in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

I learned that MITIGATION is about avoiding, reducing or, at least, delaying climate change mainly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere while ADAPTATION is necessary for responding to climate change that is already unavoidable because of past greenhouse gas emissions (there is considerable time lag before an emission contributes to global warming). Therefore, they are both complementary aspects of a coherent climate change strategy. Both call for lifestyle change. Both have to be factored into sustainable development plans.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, here are some activities that can help:
-Decreasing emissions released from burning fossil fuels by power stations, factories, buildings, motor vehicles and airplanes
-Reducing deforestation
-Using alternatives to fertilizers that release greenhouse gases
-Capturing greenhouse gases released from garbage and human waste
-Reducing meat eating in that cattle and farm animals emit methane
While here are some strategies for Adaptation:
-Taking steps in advance to prevent losses
-Taking steps to reduce losses
-Spreading or sharing losses
-Changing the way an activity is done
-Changing the site of an activity
-Restoring a site with fit-for-purpose protection
“Agriculture is highly sensitive to climate variability and weather extremes such as drought, floods and storms.” There are many impacts in agriculture that can be caused by climate change. Some are increase in incidence of diseases in animals and crops; availability of food could decline; rise of prices; employment opportunities may become less; and more people could face hunger and starvation. It can also have bad effects in human health like increase in malnutrition, mixed effects on malaria, and increase number of people at risk with dengue. Another is high number of occurrence of different calamities.
Adaptation is necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable. Adaptation is occurring now to observed and projected future climate change. But more extensive adaptation is required to reduce vulnerability to future climate change. Adaptation means pro-active planning for a range of possible future scenarios
I watched a PowerPoint presentation about “Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.”
I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about our Earth in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.

Climate Change: A Look into the Future

I learned that Climate Change is already affecting global food production. And it will surely have even more impact in the years to come.
Carbon dioxide or CO2, a major greenhouse gas, is a primary cause of global warming. Several human activities cause the production of carbon dioxide like burning fossil fuels. The rate of increase in global warming due to greenhouse gases is very likely unprecedented within the past 10,000 years and more. But plants use carbon dioxide to grow and live. High CO2 is good for photosynthesis.
Scientists predict that several areas will experience more drought, more fires, and even warmer temperatures. While some areas will experience colder temperatures, more rainfall, etc. In high latitudes, the agriculture will be okay even for a while but in low latitudes, the effect of climate change will be negative even from the beginning.
In the next 40 years, there might be more 2 billion people to feed. Much of this population growth is expected to have a great impact on countries already facing food shortage issues. Population is increasing but the land for food productions is not.
Climate Change really affects us all, that's why our responses need to be global and major.
I watched a video about "Climate Change and Agriculture" which showed a look into the future of our planet.

I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about our Earth in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.

It's All About Carbon

I learned that Carbon is the basic building block of life. It is found everywhere on earth. Carbon makes up the earth plants, animals, and it is also stored in the ocean, atmosphere, and the crust of planet. A carbon atom could spend millions of years moving through the earth in a complex cycle. Understanding the carbon cycle and how it is changing is the key to understanding earth's changing climate. On land, plants remove carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Animals eat plants and either breathe out carbon or moves up the food chain. When plants and animals die and decay, they transfer carbon back to the soil.
The ocean holds huge amounts of carbon about 15 times we found in the atmosphere. The ocean is sometimes called the "carbon sink" meaning that it absorbs or takes up carbon from the atmosphere. It takes up carbon through physical and biological processes.
At the ocean surface, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into the water. Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton use this carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Phytoplankton are the base of the marine food web. After animal eats the plants, they breathe out carbon or pass it up the food chain. Sometimes, phytoplankton die, decompose, and recycle in the surface waters. Phytoplankton can also sink into the ocean floor carrying carbon. Over long time scales, this process has made the ocean floor the largest reservoir of carbon in the planet. Most of the ocean nutrients are in cold deep water. In a process called the upwelling, currents bring nutrients and carbon up to the surface. Carbon can then be released as a gas back into the atmosphere continuing the carbon cycle. By cycling huge amounts of carbon, the ocean helps regulate climate.
"So when you think of climate, you don’t often think of the ocean. Climate, you think of, is it gonna be hotter these years or colder this year. But oceans are actually a great regulator, controller of climate. They are even controlling how much carbon is in the atmosphere which can slow down how quickly climate change is occurring."-Scott Doney
At the most basic level, the balance between incoming sunlight and outgoing heat determines the earth's climate. Greenhouse gases act like act like a blanket and trap heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.
In the past 2 centuries, human have increased atmosphere carbon dioxide by more than 30% by burning fossil fuels in cutting down force. The earth hasn't experience carbon dioxide level this high for the past several million years. Researchers are learning that future climate change will depend on carbon levels.
The latest pollution numbers, calculated by the Global Carbon Project, a joint venture of the Energy Department and the Norwegian Research Council, show that worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54% higher than the 1990 baseline.
I watched a video about Carbon, its functions, and other related things to it.
I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about our Earth in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Carbon Footprint

Find out how much carbon dioxide do you emit as based on your day-to-day activities. I took the test and got these results:



Know yours too by clicking this and taking the test too.

Know Your Earth


I learned that our planet Earth is indeed one of the most beautiful and wonderful things that ever exist. NASA (or National Aeronautics and Space Administration), doesn’t just study space but also our home planet. They developed Earth observing satellites that can help us to understand our unique planet get a global view of our changing world. Some of those satellites are Aura, Terra, Aqua, Calipso, Cloudsat, ACRIMsat, ICEsat, Jason, LANDSAT,  Quickscat, and GRACE. Some facts that I learned are:
a) Without an atmosphere, our planet would average a frosty 0F. That’s why there are Greenhouse gases that act like a blanket that traps solar energy and as time passes by, it continues to keep Earth a cozy 60F on average. NASA helps us to understand how that blanket is changing.
b) Since 1870, sea level has gone up  over 10 inches and NASA satellites show that it has risen over 2 inches in the last 15 years alone
c) More than 10000 forest fires are burning everyday on earth. NASA satellites can detect large fires, helping to locate where to send firefighters and where to plant trees after.
d) Greenland loses enough ice to fill 2000 earthmovers every minute. NASA satellites measure melting ice.

I watched a video presentation showing the beauty of our planet earth and the changes that it experienced as time passed by.
    
I participated in the online discussion by expressing thoughts and ideas about our Earth in my blog and by sharing what I learned on the video presentation that I watched.