Saturday, January 4, 2014

Global Warming – What is it?

         Rise in earth’s temperature
         Results from changes in the natural environment
         Caused by too much carbon dioxide

The Greenhouse Effect

Solar radiation from the Sun reaches the Earth’s atmosphere. The surface of the Earth absorbs most of the short-rayed isolation and later releases this heat in the form of infrared radiation into the atmosphere. Some of the heat is absorbed by particles known as “greenhouse gases.” The heat retained by the gases acts as a “heat blanket.”

Burning of fossil fuels

The burning of fossil fuels releases Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the past 150 years, burning fossil fuels has caused a 25 % increase in Carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon dioxide

The Ties between Sardines & Global Warming

The over-hunting of sardines has caused higher levels of phytoplankton in the ocean. While living, phytoplankton release oxygen into the atmosphere and use Carbon for photosynthesis.
When they die, their decay releases large amounts of methane and the poisonous gas, hydrogen sulfide.  It also uses large amounts of oxygen. Methane is 21 times more effective than carbon dioxide in maintaining heat in the atmosphere.This results in the deaths of numerous marine animals.

Effects of global warming

         More carbon dioxide  ->    increase in plant growth.
         The increase in temperature  -> rise in sea level from melting glaciers and polar ice caps   (adds 0.2 mm annually)
         Rising temperatures will also cause drier conditions in many important agricultural regions.         



Coral Reef Bleaching—

  • Change in temperature and elevated sea level cause loss of algae in the coral.
  • Coral appears white, or “bleached.” 
  • Result is mass death of sea animals, which are dependent on the coral reef.
  • The penguin population near Antarctica has been declining as the distance between them and their food has increased.

Rising Sea levels

The rise of temperature, even to a few degrees, could lead to the melting of ice shelves that hold back glaciers. This results in rising sea levels. The Larsen area of North Antarctic, South of Chili and Argentina have lost more than 5,200 sq miles of area.

The Effects of Global Warming on Land animals

Global warming can disrupt the migration, hibernation and reproductive cycles of certain types of animals. Plants and animals will find it hard to escape or adjust to the effects of warming because humans occupy so much land. Farmland or cities interrupt the movement of species between habitats.

Health & Global Warming

Extreme temperatures can directly cause the loss of life (ex: 35,000 people died during heat wave in Europe, Aug‘03.). Warmer weather provides an ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes. Diseases such as West Nile will be more common. High temperature can increase pollution of water and air, which harms the human body.

Tropical Diseases

Global Warming increases drought which lessens the supply of clean drinking water.
It increases temperature providing an ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes.
         Dengue fever
         Yellow fever

Impact on Air

The atmosphere’s ultimate fate is unclear.
·         More evaporation à increase in cloud cover
How High Will the Clouds Be?  It makes a difference!
·         Clouds close to the earth reflect sunlight à  cooling effect.
·         Clouds high in the atmosphere trap heat à warming effect.


         Cloud cover increases
         Levels of the greenhouse gas methane may increase
         Hurricanes range farther north, south on warmer water

How To Prevent Global Warming:

The Climate Stewardship Act

First introduced in the senate in 2003 and  reintroduced in February 2005. It would reduce carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflurocarbon and perfuorocarbons which are released by power plants to 2000 levels by 2010. The bill reduces the risk of global warming without hurting the economy.




How To Prevent Global Warming:

·         Plant trees
·         Conserve energy: (examples: 1. use low-energy, low-water-use washing machines, 2. use a solar heated system for hot water, 3. use an electric or push mower for gasoline powered mower)
·         Buy energy efficient products
·         Buy products that have reusable or recyclable packaging
·         Reduce use of car (walk instead)

Public Health Impacts of Global Warming

Heat waves and deaths from hyperthermia, fresh water shortages (due to combined effects of global warming, overpopulation and water pollution) with wars fought over fresh water. Air pollution related to greenhouse gases (increased disease and death due to heart attack, stroke, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, allergy). Ozone depletion leading to increased cataracts, melanoma, extreme weather events (floods and storms).
  Water-borne and food-borne diseases (toxic algal blooms like red tide, survival of viral pathogens leading to shellfish poisoning, cholera). Vector-borne and rodent-borne diseases (mosquitoes, ticks, rodents) are increased. Elevated seas levels (population exodus, aquifers threatened in San Francisco and New Orleans). Crop failures and famine economic and political stress may damage public health infrastructure.

Vector-borne Disease

Vector-borne Disease
Disease in humans carried from another warm-blooded animal by an insect such as a mosquito, tick or sandfly. In 1877 scientists showed for the first time that blood-sucking insects were able to carry disease from one warm-blooded animal to another.  This is called vector-borne disease.  This is called vector-borne disease.

Infectious Diseases Potentially Spread by Global Warming

  • Dengue fever
  • Malaria
  • Yellow fever
  • Chickungunya fever
  • Epidemic polyarthritis
  • West Nile fever
  • St. Louis encephalitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Plague
  • Loaiasis
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Kyasanur Forest disease
  • La Crosse encephalitis
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Oropouche
  • Western equine encephalitis
  • Venezuelan equine encephalitis
  • Onchocerciasis