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The Need for Quick Solutions to Quick Climate Change

By now you have heard an earful about the changes in climate that are believed to be taking place as a result of human-induced global warming. We are at an early point in the 21st century. If we act now, the generations following us will live in a healthy environment. Unfortunately, the latest studies are resulting in predictions that the climate change taking place is moving at a quick pace. The last ten years have been a period of quick climate change. Unless we come to terms with the reality around us immediately, we are looking at the possibility of irreversible climate change.

It is important to understand exactly how scientists have determined that global warming is taking place. We actually have global temperature records going all the way back to 1860. During the 20th century, average temperatures around the world have actually only increased by about 0.6 degrees Celsius. Yet, six of the last eleven years have been the hottest years on record since the year 1990. So in the still-young 21st century, global warming has actually increased by 1 degree Celsius.

One of the things people use as an argument against being alarmed by global warming is the fact that the global climate has varied in different eras throughout Earth's known history. So having some variations in temperature over time is to be expected. However, there is little doubt in the scientific community that carbon compounds and various other pollutants that are being found in increasing levels in our atmosphere are harmful to the climate-protective nature of the atmosphere. What we aren't sure about is how much impact human activity has had on climate-destructive natural forces, such as El Nino, Weather Patterns, and Volcanic activity.

In the non-scientific community there are a variety of misconceptions about global warming. One of the most important of these is that the heat is carried mainly within the atmospheric air itself. Actually, the air temperatures are more a reflection of rising ground and water temperatures. Even seaweed on the ocean surface absorbs more heat energy from the sun than the air does.

Think for a second about how such things as ocean currents could quickly change global temperatures. The Atlantic Ocean in particular sends a great deal of water circulating through the Arctic. The more salt that is in the ocean water, the more the currents carry heat. The density of water currents, combined with salt in relationship to the temperature is known as thermohaline circulation. You can think of this circulating water as a means of evening out the temperatures by exchanging hot water on top for cold water on the bottom.

Everything compounds as ice in the Arctic melts and dilutes the water composition. It is not yet fully known just how great an impact this shift in ocean water composition will have on the ocean and surrounding climate. However, it is commonly believed that the cold period recorded in Europe that ended around 1850 was the result of such a change.

What people need to keep in mind is that the temperatures aren't the main concern. The main concern is a shift in climate. The changing temperatures are just a symptom and contributor to climate changes taking place. The alarming rate at which temperatures are changing is a symptom of startling climate change. If the scientists are correct, we need to make changes in how we live just as quickly.


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