Global warming is rapidly changing our world – Part 1

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When the astronauts first went to space, they were struck by the fact that the atmosphere was this very thin crescent on the horizon (limb) of the Earth. This atmosphere is what we breathe, what protects us from cosmic rays and what keeps us from losing our oceans. When the first astronauts went to the moon, they were struck by the sight of our planet from afar. Just a little blue marble floating in the vast expanse of space. How fragile must it be? They were also keenly aware of the energy and technology required to leave Earth and how difficult it was to get to the Moon, let alone the nearest planet, Mars.

Figure 1: Photo of the Apollo 17 astronaut from December 7, 1972 – pictured as our Tiny Blue Marble. (Credit: NASA)

There has been a lot of talk that the next step in human space exploration and colonization is to go to Mars. However, it costs over $ 1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) to send a small rover to Mars. It’s estimated that a program to send humans to Mars would cost $ 1.5 trillion and take over 20 years, and we’re not talking about colonization. Mars is a harsh environment that would require special space habitats to live there and space suits to exist outside. Conclusion: The deepest gold mine, the hottest desert, the Antarctic South Pole station, or any other place on Earth is a place infinitely more habitable than any place in the world. space that can be reached from a distance.

Figure 2: 3D Spirit Rover image of an “ideal” location for human habitation on Mars. (Credit: NASA)

You will need a pair of red / green stereo glasses, with the red lens on the left eye, to view the image in stereo.

You can see where I am coming from: Humans cannot live anywhere other than Earth for the foreseeable future, so we have no choice but to take care of our planet!

In this two-part analysis, I provide evidence that global warming is real and poses an existential threat to the continued habitation of the more than 7,900,000,000 humans who live here (September 2021) and their hopeful descendants. live here in the future.

Global warming is real and poses an existential threat to our Earth

Each of us should look at our lives and see what we can do to reduce our contribution to global warming and encourage others to do the same. If you have a car, don’t buy another gasoline car. When it’s time to buy your next car, buy an electric car. It is the most dramatic statement an individual can make to green the Earth, prevent global warming, and eliminate the deadly poison coming out of your tailpipe. Below is evidence from space observations and historical events that indicate global warming is happening.

Let’s see some of the effects of global warming. Look first at the figure below which shows the reduction of thicker ice over several years in the Arctic Ocean between 1980 and 2011. In figure 5 we see the amount of open water in September 2007, 2011 and 2012 when more than half of the Arctic Ocean was ice free for the first time in recorded history.

More than half of the Arctic Ocean was open water in the summer of 2007 and again in 2011 and 2012. The Northwest Passage was open in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The northern route along the Russian coast was open: 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010 and every year thereafter (2011-2021).

Figure 4: Melting of the Arctic sea ice 2007 – January. (Goddard Science Visualization Studio)

Take a look at this wonderful animation of the melting Arctic sea ice (North Pole) from space – January to September 2007.

Figure 5: Arctic sea ice melt in 2007 – September (GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio)

In 1845 (176 years ago), John Franklin’s Northwest Passage Expedition resorted to cannibalism after being locked in ice for two years. It wouldn’t happen today.

In 2012, Matt Rutherford crossed the Northwest Passage and then the entire circumference of North and South America nonstop in a small vintage sailboat. He brought his 27-foot Vega sailboat, the St. Brendan, home on April 22, 2012, completing a 27,000-mile adventure to the cheers of hundreds of people who waited on the quay in the town of Annapolis for the see them take their first steps on earth in more than 10 months. When I worked for NASA, my family lived near Annapolis and visited the City Dock regularly from 1974 to 2005.

You can read more about Matt Rutherford’s story of circumnavigation here. And here’s a photo of a container ship crossing the Arctic Ocean. The Russians built container ships and compressed natural gas (CNG) ships to cross the Arctic Ocean.

Watch the unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet here:

Extent of the surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right) 2012. Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had thawed on or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had accelerated considerably and about 97% of the ice sheet’s surface had thawed by July 12. (Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI / NASA GSFC and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory)

Normally, even in summer, the Greenland ice sheet is so thick that the ice in the center over 5,000 feet above sea level melts very little. However, in the next two images you can see that the ice melt around the lower elevation edges increased significantly over the nearly 30 years between 1979 and 2007.

Figure 11: Melting Greenland Ice Cream, 2007 and 1979 (Credit: Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio)

Figure 12: Retreat of the Helheim Glacier from Greenland, 2001-2005 (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Figure 13: Retreat of the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland, 1851-2010 (Credit: Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio)

Figure 14: Gangotri Glacier Retreat in Uttarkashi District in the Himalayas, India (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Of the world’s 198,000 or so glaciers, 90% have been in decline since 1850. Virtually all of the world’s mountain glaciers are receding. In this article, I presented evidence that global warming is real and has caused unprecedented melting of ice in Greenland, on glaciers around the world, and in the Arctic Ocean. In the next article, I will present evidence that global warming is responsible for increasing hurricane intensity, increasing precipitation (and therefore flooding) in some areas, and increasing drought. and fires in other areas.

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