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Balloon Or Bust Exploring Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas.

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Presentation on theme: "Balloon Or Bust Exploring Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Balloon Or Bust Exploring Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas

2 You’ve heard a lot about climate change: - It’s changing weather patterns - The ice caps are melting - Seasons are becoming more extreme - The sea level is rising But what causes that? Is it true?

3 The Greenhouse Effect

4 Why is it called the Greenhouse Effect? http://www.nature-

5 What do the Mythbusters say about it?

6 What are greenhouse gases? -CO 2 accounts for 77% of greenhouse gases -57% of that CO 2 comes from man made sources, especially energy generation -There are natural sources of greenhouse gasses (e.g. volcanos erupting) -Water is also considered a greenhouse gas (not pictured here)

7 How do Greenhouse Gases get into the environment? ons/global.html

8 Is it getting better? The amount of CO 2 in the atmosphere is actually increasing! ons/global.html

9 Correlation to world population growth:

10 Who’s responsible for Greenhouse Gas Emissions? gemissions/ g

11 How are Greenhouse Gasses affecting the environment Funny… looks like another graph I saw…

12 So what’s happening to the environment? Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. Researcher Bill Fraser has tracked the decline of the Adélie penguins on Antarctica, where their numbers have fallen from 32,000 breeding pairs to 11,000 in 30 years. Sea level rise became faster over the last century. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north or to higher, cooler areas. Precipitation (rain and snowfall) has increased across the globe, on average. Spruce bark beetles have boomed in Alaska thanks to 20 years of warm summers. The insects have chewed up 4 million acres of spruce trees. nvironment/global-warming/gw-effects/

13 What will happen if we let it continue? Sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches (18 and 59 centimeters) by the end of the century, and continued melting at the poles could add between 4 and 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). Hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger. Species that depend on one another may become out of sync. For example, plants could bloom earlier than their pollinating insects become active. Floods and droughts will become more common. Rainfall in Ethiopia, where droughts are already common, could decline by 10 percent over the next 50 years. Less fresh water will be available. If the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru continues to melt at its current rate, it will be gone by 2100, leaving thousands of people who rely on it for drinking water and electricity without a source of either. Some diseases will spread, such as malaria carried by mosquitoes. Ecosystems will change—some species will move farther north or become more successful; others won’t be able to move and could become extinct. Wildlife research scientist Martyn Obbard has found that since the mid-1980s, with less ice on which to live and fish for food, polar bears have gotten considerably skinnier. Polar bear biologist Ian Stirling has found a similar pattern in Hudson Bay. He fears that if sea ice disappears, the polar bears will as well. nvironment/global-warming/gw-effects/

14 Political Controversy? A poll of 1000s of scientific papers on climate change found “97% endorsed the… position that humans are causing global warming” (IOPscience) So what’s the problem?

15 What are some of the Myths about Climate Change?

16 Let’s do some math!! Goal: To calculate how much CO 2 your bus put into the atmosphere on the way to school First we need to make some assumptions: – How far does the bus need to drive to school? – Assume your bus burns diesel, and gets about 10 mpg* – All the fuel is burned and turns into CO 2 * id=20130725055457AAVzUO7

17 Diesel Fuel Numbers School bus fuel economy: ~10 mi/gal Carbon weight percent: 84.86% Diesel fuel Density: ~0.832 kg/l= 3.14 kg/gal Weight % Carbon in CO 2 =27.7% So if your school bus drives 5 miles to school (conservative estimate), how many kilograms of CO 2 does your bus emit

18 Calculation

19 So how much is that really? Well, dry ice is solid CO 2, let’s see how much that is in a balloon Now multiply that by: – All the busses at your school – All the busses in the US (480,000) – Add all the people driving to work every day on top of that (cars get better gas mileage, but are less efficient… why?) THAT’S A LOT!

20 So what can we do about it? Fossil fuels are the source of most of the CO 2 in the atmosphere – Natural gas offers a short term solution (CH 4 is more energy dense than oil, but has it’s own environmental problems) – Biomass offers a good opportunity– plants intake CO 2 over their lifetime, and when they are burned that CO 2 is put back into the atmosphere creating a carbon neutral cycle – Carbon sequestration techniques (such as burying the CO 2 ) offer some expensive answers

21 End Goal We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere Technology offers some solutions, but change needs to happen rapidly on both a political and social front – Largest climate change rally ever held a few months ago in NY – UN summit on climate change gained a lot of attention last week as well – The Rockefeller trust fund is divesting completely from non-renewable energy funds We need to be more cognizant of how our actions will impact the world around us!

22 If you want more… “Years of Living Dangerously” on Showtime, available for download

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