Monday, November 2, 2015

The Raging Global Warming Debate

     Say what you will about the physics of the movie Day After Tommorow, but it has a very driving point, Global Climate shift is important. No matter what side of the argument of global warming you stand on, it's certainly a hot topic these days. I would like to look at the aspect of coastal flooding, certainly an idea that holds importance here in Charleston. 
     The idea is simple, as polar ice on Greenland and Antarctica melt and drain into the ocean it adds to the total amount of water on the worlds oceans. While this may not seem like a large amount over a short period of time compared to the sum of the oceans volume, however it adds up to a few inches of water over the the course of a longer period of time. While only a couple inches may seem negligible, these few inches, 3.5 globally, can prove to be devistaing to low-lying coastal communities. 
     As the above chart emphasizes, some areas can see tremendous rises in sea level. This rise in sea level can be attributed polar melting of land ice due to global warming, which in turn is due to many factors such as introduction of CO2 to the atmosphere via the burning of fossil fuels (approx. 337 billion metric tons since 1751) as well as many natural factors that can also contribute to the warming trend. This warming trend is accountable for the melting of permanate ice caps in Greenland and Antartica, as well as the recession of sea ice in recent history. 
     While efforts have been made to lessen further impact of fossil fuels such as renewable resources, it is not probable to completely stop the emission of CO2 with current dependence on oil, as such the emission trend will continue along with predicted warming trends as more CO2 and other greenhouse gasses are emitted into the atmosphere. While greenhouse gasses are not the only cause for the warming trend, they are a major factor.  

     This graph shows projected sea level rise based on predicted warming patterns. Statistics like these certainly should be taken with consideration for the timeframe, however, drastic sea level rise could be the bane of costal communities like the one here in charleston if global warming trends continue in their predicted manner. There certainly is no "silver bullet" for stoping climate change, but moving towards renewable energy could be a valuable step in the right direction.

1 comment:

  1. You have very good graphs to support your argument. You also did a good job of focusing on one specific aspect, and one of particular importance in a coastal city like Charleston. My only criticisms are that there were a number of grammatical mistakes in your post and you failed to mention that, along with the addition of water from melting ice caps, the ocean levels are rising because of thermal expansion (warmer water simply takes up more volume).