Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, releases ancient carbon dioxide (one of the greenhouse gasses) which has been stored inside the substances for millions of years. Greenhouse gasses create what is often referred to as a kind of blanket around the Earth. The amount of energy flowing out of the atmosphere into space is less than needed to keep our planet at the most desirable temperatures and much of it is reflected back on the earth and oceans, warming both land and seas.
Temperatures gradually increase which is sometimes called global warming or climate change. The more fossil fuels we burn, the more greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere, making it harder for heat to escape. This is an excellent 2 minute video explaining how this happens – it’s not boring!
It doesn’t mean that every day, in every location around the globe that it will be warmer than the day before – that is specifically referred to as the weather. Climate is measured over a longer time scale of around 30+ years and takes into account smaller seasonal variations. Local geographical features such as mountains, valleys, lakes and oceans will continue to have an effect on such things as rainfall patterns and wind.
However, because the seas are warming and ice caps are melting, the composition of the water in the oceans is changing. This affects not only the salinity and density of the oceans but the ability of some fish species to survive.
Ocean currents also affect our weather patterns and contribute to climate change. Ocean current patterns are changing bringing warmer waters to new areas and at different times of the year. These waters may have been diluted by melting ice sheets, meaning that they may grow more algae than perviously thus reflect more heat back into the atmosphere, adding another layer of complexity to the predictions. It's an amazingly complex system!
I’ve heard people say global warming is good because their hometown experiences long, bitterly cold winters. However what can be overlooked is that those winters produce ice and snow which provides for their water needs. Without this annual, naturally occurring source, there will be added stress on communities as they draw on lakes, rivers and groundwater to provide for the human, agricultural and infrastructure needs of their communities.
|Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get all the farting cows to power |
the wind turbines on the horizon instead of adding to the greenhouse gasses!
Last year I wrote about the Guilt associated with bullying for G in my theme of workplace bullying. Here.