Public Lands

In the United States, one-third of the land is owned by the public and administered by the federal government namely, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The total area size of public land is roughly 700 million acres (283 million hectares). These areas are protected and managed for different purposes some, such as designated wilderness areas, are kept pristine and natural because of their inherent beauty, exceptional quality, or unique...

Forests Role In Climate Change

Forests represent a critical resource on Earth because they provide habitat to more than half of the Earth's living species, as well as help slow global warming through the storage and sequestration of carbon. Forests also affect the rainfall regime of an area and are critical sources of food, drinking water, and medicine. Through the sequestration of carbon, forests have a direct effect on the climate. The vegetation and soils in the forest help drive the global carbon cycle by sequestering...

The Role Of Refuges

Northern Alaska is expected to experience the most extreme of the effects, particularly in the winter. The researchers also project that the ground will continue to thaw and that the upper 30-35 feet (9-11 m) of permafrost will probably melt by 2100. In addition, precipitation will increase up to 25 percent in the north and northwest, but decrease by 10 percent along the southern coast. Soils will dry out due to increased evaporation, and wildfires will become more...

The Natural and Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

In this greenhouse environment, it is the combination of water vapor and trace gases that are responsible for trapping the heat radiated from the Sun. The natural amount keeps the Earth habitable. Without this trapped warmth, the Earth would have an average temperature of -0.4 F (-18 C). If this were the case, the Earth would look much different-there would most likely be very little, if any, liquid water available. The entire Earth would have an ecosystem similar to that of the harshest areas...

The Earths Energy Balance

Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stabilized at today's rates, global warming would not stop. According to scientists at NASA, CO2 levels are rising because there is more CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere than natural processes such as photosynthesis and absorption into the Positive radiative forcings warm the climate negative forcings cool the climate. One of the largest positive forcings today is the human-caused component leading to global warming. oceans can presently remove. There...

The Arctic And Antarctica

According to a report in National Geographic News on December 13, 2002, the six largest Eurasian rivers are currently dumping an excessive amount of freshwater into the Arctic Ocean much more than they were even a few decades ago. Bruce Peterson at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, says, The mechanism is most likely due to increased precipitation as forecast by global climate models. This finding supports the long-held belief that freshwater runoff into the ocean...

Working Together To Protect Wildlife

Animals That Begin With

Global warming is a problem that can be solved if all people work together. The following list provides some ways to work together to support global solutions to a global problem Make contact with elected officials Request that they support research and legislation that is designed to improve fuel efficiency standards and strengthens land manager and owners' ability to protect wildlife threatened by global warming. retire your car At least leave it home one day a week. Every gallon of gas saved...

Geologic Sequestration

CO2 can also be captured at stationary areas and injected underground into geological formations a process called geological sequestration. This technology captures the CO2 and other pollutants emitted when fossil fuels are burned. They are then compressed into a liquid and pumped deep beneath the Earth's surface into geologic formations. David Goldberg, a geophysicist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, has experimented successfully with this...

Potential Sequestration Drawbacks

One study that appeared in ScienceDaily in July 2008 examined different methods of carbon sequestration in an attempt to determine the pros and cons to the environment using four different testing scenarios, which conserved different types of land and animal species. The study determined that conservation of species is usually maximized when the natural habitat is either restored or maintained. Carbon sequestration, however, is maximized when forest ecosystems are restored. According to Andrew...

Ocean Sequestration

According to the IPCC, various technologies have been identified to enable and increase ocean CO2 storage. One suggested option is to store a relatively pure stream of CO2 that has been captured and compressed. The CO2 could be loaded onto a ship and injected directly into the ocean or deposited on the seafloor. CO2 loaded on ships could be either dispersed from a towed pipe or transported to fixed platforms feeding a CO2 lake on the seafloor. The CO2 must be deeper than 1.9 miles (3 km)...

Cultural Losses

Perhaps one of the saddest losses to the effects of global warming is the abuse and damage being suffered by the world's most prized monuments and works of priceless art works often representing the unique cultural story of a people irreplaceable works of heritage and history. Many of these sites are located in coastal areas, threatened by sea-level rise, flooding, and intense storms, posing threats to monuments, archaeological sites, and other famous structures. Because of climate change,...

Greenhouse Gases

It is the existence of trace gases in the atmosphere that act like the glass in a greenhouse. The trace gases serve to trap the heat energy from the Sun close to Earth. Most greenhouse gases occur naturally. Greenhouse gases are cycled through the global biogeochemical system. It is the greenhouse gases added by human activity that are trapping too much heat today and causing the atmosphere to overheat. There are several different types of greenhouse gases, some existing in greater quantities...

Preface Of Greenhouse Gases

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children. This ancient Native American proverb and what it implies resonates today as it has become increasingly obvious that people's actions and interactions with the environment affect not only living conditions now, but also those of many generations to follow. Humans must address the effect they have on the Earth's climate and how their choices today will have an impact on future generations. Many years ago, Mark Twain...

Sea Level Rise

Global warming causes the oceans to warm and expand, causing sea levels to rise. If ocean levels rise high enough, shoreline areas will be inundated and lost, forcing the populations that inhabit these areas to relocate and causing billions of dollars of economic losses in property damage. Coastal lowlands worldwide are some of the most rapidly growing population areas. The land area referred to as the low elevation coastal zone (LECZ) is the contiguous area along the coast that is less than 33...

Carbon Sinks

According to the World Resources Institute, the world's forests are natural regulators of CO2 in the atmosphere. While forests are effective sinks for CO2, if they are being cut down, then they cannot be counted on in the future to absorb the CO2 being released by fossil fuels and other sources. According to a study conducted by NASA, scientists estimate that there are roughly 1.1 to 2.2 billion tons (1 to 2 billion metric tons) of carbon generated each year that are missing from the global...

Radiation Transmission

The Earth reflects about 30 percent of the incoming solar radiation. The other 70 percent is absorbed and warms the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans. In order to maintain an energy balance, so the Earth does not get too hot or cold, the amount of incoming energy must roughly equal the amount of outgoing energy. The insolation occurs in the visible portion of the spectrum. The radiation that is emitted from objects that have been heated on Earth, however, peaks in the infrared portion of the...

The Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest encompasses extensive forests, topography that creates abrupt changes in climate and ecosystems over short distances, with mountain and marine environments in close proximity. The Northwest provides about one-fourth of the nation's softwood lumber and plywood. The fertile lowlands of eastern Washington produce 60 percent of the nation's apples and large fractions of its other tree fruit. Population and economic growth of this area has been twice the national rate since...

Adaptation Strategies

Cause Greenhouse Effect Polar Region

Even if they cost a little more initially, the savings involved usually pay for themselves via lower energy bills, and the environment benefits as well. Ken Ostrowski, leader of the project report team, says, What the report calls out is the fact that the potential is so substantial for energy efficiency. Not that we will do it, but the potential is just staggering here in the U.S. There is a lot of inertia, and a lot of barriers. The country can do the job with...

The Timing Of Seasonal Events

The loggerhead sea turtle is another species being documented as subjected to the negative effects of global warming. John Weishampel, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, has analyzed long-term records of a 25-mile (40-km) length of Florida coast, which represents one of North America's key breeding grounds for the loggerheads and has discovered that the turtles today are coming ashore to lay their eggs about 10 days earlier than they were in 1989. Suspecting global...

Impacts Of Global Warming

According to a report in the New York Times in January 2008, an article appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience reported that warming water temperatures and wind patterns consistent with global warming have been discovered to be eroding the ice sheets of Antarctica faster than anyone had previously thought. Up until recently, Antarctica has been one of the inconsistencies that opponents of global warming have used to make a case against it saying that because notable melting is not occurring...

Modeling Carbon Emissions In The United States

A study conducted by Purdue University has recently shown that the CO2 emissions in the United States are not all located where they were expected to be. According to Kevin Gurney, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric science at Purdue University, We've been attributing too many emissions to the northeastern United States, and it's looking like the southeastern United States is a much larger source than we had estimated previously. Purdue's new CO2 modeling system, called Vulcan,...

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

Carbon calculators can be easily accessed on the Internet, are easy to use, and provide quick results. The following is an example of how they work 1. Information Your geographic location. Reason your carbon footprint is partially determined by where you live. Some areas rely on energy (such as electricity) generated mainly from coal (a dirtier fuel), others from cleaner energy sources such as wind energy. 2. Information The size of your household. reason This helps differentiate you from other...

Types Of Carbon Sequestration

Carbon sequestration is the process through which CO2 from the atmosphere is absorbed by various carbon sinks. Principal carbon sinks include agricultural sinks, forests, geologic formations, and oceanic sinks. Carbon sequestration and storage (CSS) occurs when CO2 is absorbed by trees, plants, and crops through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass, such as tree trunks, branches, foliage, and roots, as well as in the soil. For a more in-depth discussion of the specifics of actual...

Carbon Capture and Storage

Geology Natural Gas Resources

According to the IPCC, CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is a process that involves capturing the CO2 arising from the combustion of fossil fuels (such as in power generation or refining fossil fuels), transport to a storage location, and long-term isolation from the atmosphere. Before CO2 gas can be sequestered from power plants and other point sources, it must be captured as a relatively pure gas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, on a mass basis, CO2 is the 19th-largest commodity...

Solar Radiation

The spectrum of the Sun's solar radiation is similar to that of a black body with a temperature of 5,800 K. Roughly half of it lies within the range of the visible shortwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The other half resides mostly in the near infrared portion, just beyond the visible wavelengths. A small amount lies in the ultraviolet range. Incoming solar radiation, also referred to as insolation, is a measure of the solar radiation energy that is received on a specific surface...

Global Warming Potential

Although there are several types of greenhouse gases, they are not the same they all have different properties associated with them. For example, they have different lifetimes in which they reside in the atmosphere, and they also differ in the amount of heat that they can trap. Many of the greenhouse gases are extremely potent some can continue to reside in the atmosphere for thousands of years after they have been emitted. For instance, according to the EPA, they can be 140 to 23,900 times...

Sinks And Sources

Releasing Green Gases Atmosphere

In terms of the global warming issue, storing CO2 in reservoirs or sinks is desirable in order to keep the CO2 out of the atmosphere so that it does not contribute to ever-increasing atmospheric temperatures. There are several mechanisms whereby carbon can be put into storage. During the process of photosynthesis, plants convert CO2 from the atmosphere into carbohydrates and release oxygen during the process. Trees in forests over a period of years are able to store large amounts of carbon,...

Landuse Change

Land use and land cover affect the global climate system through bio-geophysical, biogeochemical, and energy exchange processes. Variations in these processes due to land-use and land-cover change affect the climate. There are several natural processes that cause the exchange of greenhouse gasses such as CO2 from the Earth's surface to the atmosphere, such as photosynthesis, respiration, and vapotranspiration. Changing the land use of an area can also change the amount of heat transferred...

Global Dimming

Global dimming is an important concept that accompanies global warming. Little understood until recently, it is a phenomenon that plays a role in the overall environmental health of the Earth and has specific implications for global warming. Although global dimming has existed since as long as pollution has existed, it gained particular attention during the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, when all commercial airline traffic was grounded for three days. During this...

The Top 20 Carbon Dioxide Emitters

The world's countries contribute different amounts of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Carbon emissions from all sources of fossil fuel burning for a maximum period from 1751 to 2004 (or as long as a record is available) are shown. The following table lists the 20 countries with the highest carbon emissions. PER CAPITAL EMISSIONS (TONS CAPITAL) PER CAPITAL EMISSIONS (TONS CAPITAL) Source Marland, G., T. A. Boden, R. J. Andres 2004. Global, Regional, and National CO2 Emissions. In Trends A...

Europe Russia And Asia

According to the World Resources Institute, because of historic land use and settlement, Europe's natural ecosystems are highly disturbed and fragmented. Therefore, they are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of global warming. During this past century, for example, most of Europe experienced temperature increases that were larger than the global average. In addition, precipitation increased in the north but decreased in the south. The mountainous regions are providing documentable...

The Role Of Ozone

According to scientists at NASA, global warming and ozone depletion are two separate issues, but they do share some related aspects. Whereas global warming and the greenhouse effect refer to the lower portions of the atmosphere (the troposphere), enhanced by the continual addition of heat-trapping gases from human activity, ozone depletion refers to the upper portion of the atmosphere (the stratosphere). Disturbance of the ozone layer presents a serious health concern due to a lack of ability...

Impacts Of Deforestation

Deforestation is occurring today at alarming rates, as determined through the analysis of satellite imagery. It accounts for about 20 percent of the heat-trapping gas emissions worldwide. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates current tropical deforestation at 53,000 square miles per year (15,400,000 ha yr). This equates to an area roughly the size of North Carolina being deforested each year. Tropical forests hold enormous amounts of carbon. In fact, the plants and soil of...

Discovery Of The Greenhouse Effect

It was during the 19th century that scientists realized that gases such as CO2 found within the atmosphere cause a greenhouse effect that regulates the atmosphere's temperature. Ironically, the discovery of the greenhouse effect did not happen because scientists were trying to understand global warming it happened because they were searching for the mechanism that triggered ice ages. In an effort to understand the connection between CO2 and glacial periods, their interest was in studying the...

Agricultural Sequestration

Carbon sequestration occurs in soils and agricultural crops mainly through the natural process of photosynthesis. Half of the agriculture biomass is composed of carbon. When the vegetation decays, the litter and roots also contribute carbon to the soil. When agricultural fields are plowed, CO2 can be released to the atmosphere. The amount of carbon in cropland soils can vary depending on types of crops, types of fertilizers used, and type of management practice (such as conventional or...