a. In this lab, the question being investigated is, “Has climate changed over time?” b. The hypothesis is, “If CO2 levels affect climate, then the climate has changed overtime because of the increased greenhouse effect caused by higher levels of CO2 emissions.” c. Variables:
1. Independent Variable: Amount of CO2
2. Dependent Variable: Climate change
II. Background Information
Climate is the weather pattern in an area over long period of time. Climate is more focused on the long term rather than day to day or week to week changes. Due to uneven heating of the Earth’s surface, climate changes depending on where the location is on the planet. Factors such as incoming solar energy, Earth’s rotation, and air and water movements all affect an area’s climate. Different levels of these factors influence the biomes on the planet.
The current climate change is the warming of Earth’s atmosphere. Climate change has happened naturally all throughout history, but never to the degree that it is now. Average global temperature and CO2 levels are rising due to human activity on the planet such as increased agriculture, raising livestock, and burning fossil fuels. Now it is known that climate change is happening for a many reasons. Scientists studying ice cores, seafloor sediment, and tree rings are all seeing how the climate change is affecting the planet.
Even if immediate action is taken, there would still be lasting implications on the entire planet. Things such as rising sea levels, health implications, and severe droughts could all happen because of an increase atmosphere temperature. While some areas would be subjected to scorching temperatures, other would be plunged underwater. Warmer climate would allow for a longer breeding season for microbes and parasites. Action to stop climate change needs to happen as soon as possible before it could get worse.
III. Data Analysis
After looking at the data, it is clear that the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere directly affect the temperature of Earth’s climate. As the graphs show, the higher the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the higher the average global air temperature is.
Graph 1 shows how the rise in carbon dioxide has caused the average global air temperature to rise. For example, in 1965 the CO2 part per million (ppm) was roughly at 318ppm, and later in 2005 the CO2 levels were at about 374ppm. This clearly shows how the CO2 ppm levels have risen over time due to various human activity on the planet.
In Graph 2, the average global temperature over time is shown. This graph shows how the average global temperature anomaly has risen dramatically over the course of about 120 years. In 1900 the average global temperature anomaly was -0.1, while in 2000 is was almost at 0.6.
In Graph 3, the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide is shown over very long periods of time on Earth. From 400,000 years ago until present, the lines mapping out the temperature and CO2 levels in the atmosphere have stayed almost overlapping each other the entire time. It is also shown how the CO2 levels have affected the temperature. The CO2 levels have always changed first, falling or rising, with the temperature following that same trend almost immediately after.
In Chart 1, tree core data over time is shown. The growth of trees is greatly impacted by the climate that they grow in, and with warmer temperatures due to a warmer climate they will have a longer growing season allowing for thicker rings. For example, in 1600-1649 the average ring thickness on a tree has 0.24cm. Later, in 1900-1960 the average ring thickness from the same tree was 0.37cm.
The original hypothesis stated that if CO2 levels affect climate, then the climate has changed overtime because of the increased greenhouse effect caused by higher levels of CO2 emissions. The data gathered supports and accepts this hypothesis. It is shown by multiple studies how both the CO2 parts per million and the average global temperature has risen over time. As the graphs show, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has a direct impact on the average global temperature, causing the temperature to rise and fall as the levels of CO2 rise and fall.
This lab is very important to the planet, and the everyday lives of everyone on the planet. Climate change has an impact on all life on Earth, and even just a one degree change in average global temperature could end with catastrophic results. Even with immediate action, there will still be lasting implications on the planet. People can no longer ignore the changing climate, or pretend that it’s not going to affect them. Humans have had a huge negative impact on the climate, and for the benefit of not only themselves but for life as we know it, such impacts need to be reversed.