Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “CO2”

California Climate Change Cheat Sheet – Roger Ingalls

Government reports about climate change can be boring and laborious to read. I believe changes in our environment are important, especially at the local level so I’m making an attempt to boil the information down to important and, hopefully, interesting bullet points. I relied heavily on a recent report from California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

ca warm pic

Climate Change Bullet Points:

1)      In 2007, there was a 90% statistical certainty that man was responsible for the current global warming trend.

2)      Today, there is a 95% statistical certainty that man is responsible for global warming.

3)      By 2021, as more data is collected, statistical certainty will climb to 99% pointing to man as the cause for global warming.

4)      The greenhouse gases (GHG) that warm the Earth’s surface are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons and ozone.

5)      In California, emissions from transportation, electrical power generation and the industrial sector account for over 80% of GHG emissions with transportation accounting for the largest portion at 38%.

6)      Atmospheric CO2 levels were first documented in 1958 at Mauna Loa, Hawaii at a concentration of 315 parts per million and in May 2013 a mean concentration of 400 was detected.

7)      Since monitoring CO2 concentrations in La Jolla, CA, levels have risen from 325 in 1969 to 395 in 2012.

8)      CO2 levels in the ocean rise as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, changing the chemistry of the water; this is called ocean acidification.

9)      California’s coastal waters are acidifying as evidenced by seawater CO2 and pH levels measured at Monterey Bay; this negatively impacts the local ocean food chain.

10)   Since 1895, annual average temperatures have increased by approximately 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit across California.

11)   Over the past century, minimum, average and maximum temperatures have all been increasing in California with the nighttime minimum increasing by 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the daytime high increasing by 1.5 degrees.

12)   Over the past 20 years, the altitude in the atmosphere where temperature drops below freezing has risen by 500 feet indicating warmer conditions at higher elevations.

13)   Over the past century, spring runoff to the Sacramento River from the Sierra Nevada Mountains has decreased by 9%

14)   Over the past century, surface area of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada has been decreasing with losses ranging from 20% to 70%.

15)   The rise in global sea level is attributed to thermal expansion of ocean water and the melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets.

16)   Over the past 100 years, sea levels have risen by an average of 7 inches along the California coast with levels at the Golden Gate in San Francisco increasing by 8 inches and 6 inches at La Jolla near San Diego.

17)   In Southern California, plant species in certain areas have moved upward by an average of about 213 feet over the past 30 years.

18)   The lower edge of the conifer-dominated forest in the Sierra Nevada has been retreating upslope over the past 60 years.

19)   Butterflies have been appearing earlier in the spring over the past four decades.

20)   Many small mammal species studied in Yosemite National Park showed a movement to higher elevations when compared to earlier century observations.

Don’t get caught up in a finger pointing “who’s responsible for climate change” world, just prepare for a warmer and biologically different future.

The iPhone Does Not Exist – Roger Ingalls

Imagine you’re sitting in Starbucks holding an iPad, iPhone or iPod and someone walks up to you and says, “that thing in your hand does not exist”. You’d look at them, think they were off their rocker and quickly scurry away. When climate-deniers tell me increased levels of CO2 are not responsible for global warming, I believe they are either brainwashed (followship syndrome), have a political agenda so truth doesn’t matter or they’re just plain crazy.

You may be scratching your head and asking why I’m drawing parallels between Apple products and manmade climate change but the answer is simple. The same technology used to predict how CO2 impacts temperature change is also used in the manufacture of the advanced computer chips (integrated circuits) that go into cell phones, iPhones and all similar devices including computers. However there is one big difference, predicting CO2 related climate change is magnitudes simpler than controlling the manufacturing of integrated circuits.

Destructive SEM Photo of Chip, sciencedirect.com

Computer chips, which are about the size of a finger nail, have millions of components inside them (called gates or transistors) with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers. For comparison sake, the width of a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers. These chip components are so small they cannot be seen through the lenses of the most advance optical microscopes and aren’t clearly visible with multi-million dollar scanning electron microscopes. The shape and dimensions of these super small parts can only be “inferred” or predicted by analyzing how light (similar to sunlight) reflects, absorbs and scatters off the parts. A special machine shines light onto the part and then captures the light coming off them. The light-data creates a “kind of” fingerprint that resembles an up and down squiggly line. The light-fingerprint is compared to millions upon millions of stored fingerprints, which were created by computer simulations, until a match is made. Once a match is detected, the shape and dimensions are provided.

Climatologist use the same technique as described above except the problem is much simpler. The sun is the source of light that is analyzed as it reflects, absorbs and scatters through and off the atmosphere as well as the Earth’s surface. Computer chips are more complex because they have forty or more material layers or atmospheres with varying chemistry while the Earth has just one atmosphere with a few elements such as oxygen, CO2, nitrogen and so on. The dimension that climatologist look for is temperature as it relates to CO2 concentration. Computer simulations are used to predict or “infer” temperature change as the chemistry of our atmosphere varies; computer simulations predict a rise in temperature as CO2 amounts go up. CO2 concentrations have increased from 175 ppm (parts per million) to 395 ppm since the start of the industrial revolution. This is the fastest increase in Earth’s history and we know this from another type of scientific analysis but I’ll save that explanation for another day.

If you believe iPhones, high-speed internet and similar products exist, you must also believe in manmade global warming because the computer simulations that allow the manufacture of these gadgets also predict an increase in temperature as CO2 concentrations rise.

You can’t believe in one and not the other, it’s illogical.

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