Wabash Watershed (1961-1990)
Wabash Watershed (1961-1990)
Global warming is a resultant of Heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The release of these gases has increased in the last 500 years since the industrial revolution. There is an expectation that global warming will result to rising sea levels, droughts, fires, heat waves, extreme storms, heavy rainfall, floods, and melting of snow and ice. These changes as envisaged would affect agriculture and general food availability with devastating consequences for existence of life on earth. In additional, life would change completely because many systems are tied to the climate. For example, temperature changes would affect breeding cycle of insect, and this has implications on pollination and food availability for humans. Although short-term weather variations are normal and expected, long-term changes are deleterious to the environment and life on earth (Houghton, 2004). There is evidence that global warming is becoming worse primarily due to rise in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. In 1950s, the concentration of carbon dioxide was at 315 parts per million. Currently, the concentration is about 385 parts per million. To discover an increase in concentration of carbon dioxide throughout history, scientists have used bubbles of air trapped in ice and results show that the current concentration of carbon dioxide is the highest and has been, for more than 10,000 years (Maslin, 2007). Atmospheric carbon dioxide was 280 parts per million before the industrial revolution. During the ice age, concentration was only 100 parts and 300 during warm periods. Other green houses gases such as methane and nitrous oxide have increased at the same rate as carbon dioxide since then. The rising levels of carbon dioxide and vapor in the atmosphere are projected as causing wide ranging climatic changes, in the form of heavy rainfall and droughts occurring within a few years. The increasing level would flood cities and destroy infrastructure in low-lying areas. In the past, serious floods that used to occur once or twice in a period of 100 to 500 years are now regular occurrence. Small changes in precipitation, moisture, and local temperature will have a tremendous impact on human life due to their expected impact on food production. Since 1880s, annual mean temperature has increased, and projections based on factors in existence suggest the temperature increase will accelerate (Houghton, 2004). According to global warming theory, increase in temperature means more evaporation from the ocean. Presently, the ocean holds more than 4 percent more moisture compared to 30 years ago. This has resulted to experiencing tremendous and frequent storms. It is expected that as the temperature keep rising, the moisture in the ocean will increase, and storms will get worse. Additionally, warm air over land will either extend drought. The loss of summer ice in the arctic region has altered winter in North America and Western Europe. The melting ice adds to the sea volume that partly explains the increase in sea levels. The permanent ice that is melting in the Polar Regions is releasing methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Therefore, global warming is creating a condition for accelerated warming. Severe winter that was recorded in eastern US and northern US is related to temperature changes in the arctic region. Warm air over the arctic melts the ice that moves into the ocean, which becomes darker. Consequently, the ocean takes in more rays placing more warmth over the arctic region. This weakens the tight swirling vortex of the jet stream, which drives weather patterns in Western Europe. A weaker jet stream in 2010 dipped further south delivering storm tracks and bringing arctic air in middle air, increasing the possibility of severe winter (Houghton, 2004). That is what happened in 2010 in eastern USA and northern Europe. People...
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