Global Warming – From bits, bytes to complete story – Part 2 (Adverse Effects)
While that one-degree of heat made you take off a sweater, segments of the Earth known as permafrost began a meltdown. Permafrost is a condition whereby sections of the Earth’s surface have remained at a temperature below freezing (0 degrees Celsius) for at least two years. Literally, it means permanently frozen soil. In actuality, most permafrost regions have been frozen for thousands of years. A large portion of the Arctic is permafrost. During summer months these areas seem to be thawed as they permit a two to twelve foot layer of soil to grow vegetation. But beneath that summer season lays a still frozen core. These frozen strata of the Earth lock away huge amounts of gaseous content with the highest concentrations of gases held in check by permafrost being Carbon dioxide and Methane gas. That one-degree increase in overall temperature is allowing millions of underground acres of permafrost to defrost and release even more greenhouse gas.[linkad]
In a similar vein frozen areas know as Tundra is also experiencing a subtle warming. Tundra describes the soil above permafrost that is frozen for most of the calendar year but thaws for allowance of small amounts of vegetation growth. Areas of Tundra throughout the world serve as sinks for absorption of massive amounts of Carbon. As these areas begin to exist for more months of the year above freezing they both release their stores of Carbon and cease to function as greenhouse gas depositories. The extremist view is that within another half century global warming will simultaneously melt the arctic tundra releasing billions of tons of harmful greenhouse gases and ignite the world’s rainforests destroying our planet’s ability to create oxygen. Such a viewpoint is falsely alarming and without basis. The real danger of global warming is sufficient without need to exaggerate.
- Polar meltdown
The increase, albeit slight in overall temperature the planet is now in the midst of, is more than sufficient to cause catastrophic effect. Take for example our next link in the chain of events feeding the effect of global warming. That is the warming of our polar caps and oceans. An increase in overall temperature for the troposphere allows that segment of the atmosphere to absorb more water vapour. Much as we set a dew point for condensation of moisture on the earth’s surface, the atmosphere has an evaporation point allowing a larger volume off gaseous H2O to exist. A simple linear logic would allow that a 1 percent increase in overall water temperature throughout the earth’s atmosphere might allow a corresponding 1% increase in airborne vapour. In truth there is a non-linear curve to this dialectic, but the general principle follows suit and allows for our explanation. A 1% increase in water vapour is a huge increase to the overall amount of greenhouse emissions. The problem however is not caused by the increase whether it is 1% or 1000th of one percent. The problem is that each release of an unchecked amount of greenhouse gas precipitates a further release. So if we add excess water vapour to our ecosystem it then further heats the atmosphere so as to allow even more water vapour to encroach.
- Ocean Temperatures and Positive Feedback
Our oceans digest most of the carbon footprint needing to be absorbed into our ecosystem. But, if we raise the temperature of the oceans by as little as 1/10th of one percent that ability to absorb and neutralize excess CO2 is compromised. Currently greenhouse gas emissions from production of energy and internal combustion engines results in a 36% increase in carbon dioxide over that which the planets normal balance can support. This results in a subtle increase in temperature that just happens to be enough to melt some of the Earth’s permafrost, which then releases even more CO2. The CO2 then slightly raises the Earth’s temperature resulting in an endlessly looping progression. This situation and scenario is known as positive feedback and this is the real danger inherent as global warming. We can follow our ever-expanding chain of events further to a point where man is more directly affected.