Conspiracy Theories and Global Threats
New Global Climate Temperature Threat:
Carbon Dioxide Reported at Record Levels MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY,
Hawaii - Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached
record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the
past year, say scientists monitoring the sky from this 2-mile-high station atop
a Hawaiian volcano.
The reason for the faster buildup of the most important "greenhouse gas" will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.
"But the big picture is that CO2 is continuing to go up," said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate monitoring laboratory in Boulder, Colo., which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii.
Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.
The climatologists forecast continued temperature rises that will disrupt the climate, cause seas to rise and lead to other unpredictable consequences _ unpredictable in part because of uncertainties in computer modeling of future climate.
Before the industrial age and extensive use of fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at about 280 parts per million, scientists have determined.
Average readings at the 11,141-foot Mauna Loa
Observatory, where carbon dioxide density peaks each northern winter, hovered
around 379 parts per million on Friday, compared with about 376 a year ago.
That year-to-year increase of about 3 parts per million is considerably higher than the average annual increase of 1.8 parts per million over the past decade, and markedly more accelerated than the 1-part-per-million annual increase recorded a half-century ago, when observations were first made here.
Asked to explain the stepped-up rate, climatologists were cautious, saying data needed to be further evaluated. But Asia immediately sprang to mind.
"China is taking off economically and burning a lot of fuel. India, too," said Pieter Tans, a prominent carbon-cycle expert at NOAA's Boulder lab.
Another leading climatologist, Ralph Keeling, whose father, Charles D. Keeling, developed methods for measuring carbon dioxide, noted that the rate "does fluctuate up and down a bit," and said it was too early to reach conclusions. But he added: "People are worried about `feedbacks.' We are moving into a warmer world."
He explained that warming itself releases carbon dioxide from the ocean and soil. By raising the gas's level in the atmosphere, that in turn could increase warming, in a "positive feedback," said Keeling, of San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that, if unchecked, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by 2100 will range from 650 to 970 parts per million. As a result, the panel estimates, average global temperature would probably rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.7 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) between 1990 and 2100.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol would oblige ratifying countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions according to set schedules, to minimize potential global warming. The pact has not taken effect, however.
The United States, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, signed the agreement but did not ratify it, and the Bush administration has since withdrawn U.S. support, calling instead for voluntary emission reductions by U.S. industry and more scientific research into climate change.
NASA STUDY FINDS INCREASING SOLAR TREND THAT CAN CHANGE CLIMATE Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study.
Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) is the radiant energy received by the Earth from the sun, over all wavelengths, outside the atmosphere. TSI interaction with the Earth's atmosphere,oceans and landmasses is the biggest factor determining our climate.
The accurate long-term dataset, therefore, shows a significant positive trend (.05 percent per decade) in TSI between the solar minima of solar cycles 21 to 23 (1978 to present). This major finding may help climatologists to distinguish between solar and man-made influences on climate.
The solar cycle occurs approximately every 11 years when the sun undergoes a period of increased magnetic and sunspot activity called the "solar maximum," followed by a quiet period called the "solar minimum."
Sun produces monster solar flare
Wednesday, 5 November, 2003
The Sun has unleashed its largest recorded
solar flare, capping 10 days of unprecedented activity for the star.
The blast sent billions of tonnes of super hot gas into space - some of it directed towards our planet.
Experts say the Tuesday event must have been the most powerful ever recorded, surpassing the X20 flares of 2 April 2001 and 16 August 1989.
As Sea Level
Rises, Beaches Shrink Stack two dimes on top of each other. Their height is
a tiny fraction less than global sea level is rising each year. The increase
looks small, but the consequences are potentially huge. Rising sea level
threatens to inundate low-lying regions, such as the Chesapeake, and
dramatically increase coastal and beach erosion around the world.
Atmospheric CO2 records from sites in the SIO air sampling network
Arctic ice shelf melting, tearing itself apart First casualty was
lake containing both fresh and saltwater.
September 24, 2003
The largest Arctic ice shelf is beginning to rip itself apart, 4,500 years after it began forming.
South American Glaciers Melting Faster, Changing Sea Level
October 16, 2003
The Patagonia Icefields of Chile and Argentina, the largest non-Antarctic ice masses in the Southern Hemisphere, are thinning at an accelerating pace and now account for nearly 10 percent of global sea-level change from mountain glaciers, according to a new study by NASA and Chile's Centro de Estudios Cientificos.
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