Blog: Carlita the Croc

Climate Change Clarification

If you clicked on this blog to find flaws in an argument for climate change, I hate to disappoint you but, I’m flawless.

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See? Flawless.

But seriously, folks, this is not to convince you of whether or not climate change is real or human-driven.  This post is for those who accept the science and were hoping to get a better idea of what is happening and what to do about it.

The Heat-Trapping Blanket
Before we get into how climate change affects Chicagoland specifically, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page about what causes climate change.

Today, when the words “climate” and “change” are used together in a sentence, it’s referring specifically to the effect that humans are having on climate throughout the world.  How is this happening?  When humans burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to produce power, rampant amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.  When thinking about this, think big:  data centers that power the Web, power plants and generators that serve entire cities, oil refineries – just to name a few.  This carbon dioxide, or CO2, stays in the atmosphere creating a blanket-like effect, trapping heat that would typically be released out into space.  The more fossil fuels burned, the thicker the CO2 blanket, the more heat gets trapped. 

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The purple part around the Earth is atmosphere: a layer of water vapor and gases, like CO2. The yellow squiggly arrows are heat that enters the atmosphere, but then becomes trapped in the atmosphere.

The Heart of Climate
The trapped heat doesn’t stay put way up in the atmosphere.  It moves all over the globe and some of it gets absorbed by the ocean (as does the CO2).  That warm air also doesn’t warm equally.  In fact, the ocean is like the Earth’s circulatory system, distributing heat and moisture all over the world.  Some places see greater increases in temperature than others. With the movement of warm air also comes the redistribution of water. 

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Ocean currents carry heat and moisture all over the world.

The Big Picture
These changes are happening on a timeline that is too quick for plants and animals (humans included) to be able to adapt – decades rather than millennia.  And it’s not just about living in an area that is comfortable climatically.  Warmth and moisture distribution affects resources, like food and water.

But more on that, specifically for Chicagoans, in my next post.

The Break-Up
In the meantime, what to do?  Well, we know the problem:  rampant carbon dioxide from using fossil fuels as energy.  The solution?  Stop using fossil fuels as our main source of energy, which releases rampant amounts of carbon dioxide.  And?  Do it on a big scale!  It may seem formidable, but you can do it!  Remember how quickly you all shot down CFCs once it was realized how harmful they were?

To Be Continued…
There’s much more to climate change and the effects it has on the Earth and its inhabitants.  I will continue to discuss those subjects in the blog, but if you have any burning questions, tweet at me @candidcroc! 

To make extra sure you have happy feelings associated with tackling this problem, here is a cute picture of a red panda!

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Hi!

Posted: 2/22/2016 9:49:36 AM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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