Axia College, University of Phoenix
[COM 220- 08 March 2009]
Have you ever watched a television program, or read an article about Global warming? A person would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t. The news is hard to ignore since the information that is given to us comes from scientists or experts in the field of global warming. We are continually bombarded with information that the Earth is experiencing a warming trend, and human activity is to blame. The pollution that man creates is adding to the earth’s greenhouse gases. The resulting affect of global warming is triggering warmer temperatures around the world, and ecosystems are taking the toll. One of the most ...view middle of the document...
Scientists state that this will add more carbon dioxide to the green house gases.
Land glaciers everywhere are receding. Although there are natural changes in the climate that are aiding in the glacial ice eroding, research is suggesting that higher pollution levels are adding to global warming also. Eroding glacial ice is being witnessed all over the world. Studies show that Mount Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its icecap since 1912 (Revkin, Global warming is Eroding Glacial Ice, 2003), shown in figure 1.
The land glaciers are not the only glacial ice that is in trouble. The North and South Pole ice masses are also feeling the heat. The Antarctic Larsen’s Ice Shelf experienced two large pieces of its ice shelf break away between 1995 and 2002: these ice pieces were the size of a small country. Originally, the thoughts by the scientist were that the warming atmosphere was the contributing factor. Kaiser (2003) states that:
Andrew Shepherd, a glaciologist at the University of Cambridge, U.K., and co workers analyzed satellite data to produce the first estimate of how quickly the Larsen Ice Shelf is thinning. They report on page 856 that since 1992, the thinning has been too fast for rising air temperatures to explain. (¶ 2).
The temperature of the earth’s oceans is rising. Kaiser (2003) further states that the Cambridge team concluded “that the shelf must be melting due to warmer ocean waters below” (¶ 2).
The sea ice in the Antarctic serves a major role in the ocean as a viable ecosystem in itself, but also helps to regulate the oceans temperatures. The loss of the Arctic and Antarctica glacial ice masses will not only have a devastating and lasting impact on the arctic land animals and marine life, but will undoubtedly create flooding, that for the low lying coastal ecosystems will be devastating.
So, how are the oceans warming? The oceans are warming trough conduction and convection. When molecules are heated they will vibrate. Conduction occurs when a heated molecule bumps into another molecule transferring the vibration: this process is repeated a million times over. Convection occurs when the vibrating molecules are moved away. The geothermal vents that are on the oceans floor radiate heat continually. As Novak (2005) states “Evidence indicates that the cause of oceans heating is a hot spot rotating in the earth's core” (¶ 10). The rise of oceans temperatures by only a few degrees is a playing a major role in the Arctic and Antarctic ice shelf’s thinning.
The oceans are also playing a role in global warming, by heating the earth’s atmosphere. Here too, the process of conduction and convection are involved, and the sun is the sole contributor to this process. Everything that the sun shines on will absorb the heat through radiation; rocks, grass, and trees. The ocean is no different. When the water is heated the warmth that it gives off will be swept into the atmosphere contributing the rising...