LSGI1B02_20122 Climate Change and Society
With English Writing Requirements
(by Janet Elizabeth NICHOL; Man Sing WONG;)
Second Draft Submission
WHAT IS NEEDED TO
MANAGE GLOBLE WARMING
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| April 12, 13
Based on a series of scientific theories and evidence, it seems fair to say that nowadays environmental issues are essential for people to acknowledge and consider, not just scientists and policy makers but also ordinary citizens. As a result, some knowledge, values and attitudes are necessary for managing the problems of climate change in the 21st century. For instance, history and evidence of climate change, reasons and factors triggering it, impacts and consequences brought by it, and what’s needed to deal with it are main aspects people need to consider.
KNOWLEDGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The weather and climate are two different issues that are similar but easy to be misunderstood. Weather is a phenomenon that people can experience in a short time whilst climate is a long time issue. Climate is usually described in terms of the mean and variability of temperature, precipitation and wind over a period of time, ranging from months to millions of years, and it could also be considered as an engine that uses heat energy to keep the atmosphere and ocean moving, and to keep life on earth continuing.
Climate change nowadays has aroused widespread concern. Our current situation is that our planet as a whole system is now taking in more energy than it radiates, which has caused an imbalance. As the higher levels of atmosphere radiate some of the surplus heat down, all the lower levels near the surface warm up. Then the imbalance has to continue until the high levels get hot enough to radiate out as much energy as the planet is receiving, which is known as the ‘Green House Effect’. Some people believe that the surface of the earth will be at saturation, and the temperature of the earth won’t be continually rising-the “saturation argument” against global warming; however, others believe that the earth surface can’t reach saturation since plants can absorb CO2. As Marslin (2008) pointed out, “people will be surprised to know that about half of all our carbon emissions are absorbed by the natural carbon cycle and do not end up in the atmosphere.” Secondly, the absorption in the so-called unsaturated higher levels of atmosphere is the crucial factor determining whether there will be an increase in temperature or not. Evidence of climate change is as follows. It can be seen in the mean of occurrence probability of extreme weather because the mean of occurrence probability of extreme weather has moved to the direction of more hot weather, while there has been less extreme cold weather in contrast in recent decades. From high-resolution climate records showing glacier length, tree rings, sediment cores and historical records, the average temperature of the previous period of the 20th century has been relatively stable; however, after the Industrial Revolution, the global warming phenomenon began to appear, especially in the last 10 years. The average temperature in 1900 increased by 0.7 Celsius. Mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets both have reflection on elevated temperatures, as they are melting at a faster speed. Lakes are increasing in size and number meanwhile ice is losing rapidly. Above are all testaments that a massive global climate change is occurring. The factors causing climate changes are known as climate forcing. As Maslin(2009) mentioned, scientists drilled down into the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to get the greenhouse gases, and by examining the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the ice core, they drew a conclusion that when CO2 and CH4 increase, the temperature will increase and vice versa. So the temperature of our atmosphere will rise if levels of green house gases...
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