5th Grade Grizzly Cub
Greenhouse gasses trap heat in our atmosphere. Here is how greenhouse gasses are broken down on Earth:
Water Vapor - 95%
CO2 - 3.618%
Methane - 0.368%
Nitrous Oxide - 0.95%
Misc. - 0.072%
NASA's Mars orbiter shows that Mars may be going through global warming. The sun has been at its strongest for the past 60 years and may be affecting global temperatures. The brightening started relatively recently, 100 to 150 years ago. The global temperature increased about 0.2 degrees C over the past 20 years. To determine the sun's role in global warming, scientists measured magnetic zones on the sun's surface. They are sunspots. They are believed to intensify the sun's energy. Going back several hundred years they found that a dearth* of sunspots meant that a cold period could last as long as 50 years, but over the past century the number increased as the Earth's climate changed. The sun's brightness increased over the past 2 decades. Cosmic rays accelerate the formation of clouds in our atmosphere. Clouds have a cooling effect on Earth. Recently the sun's magnetic field doubled, reducing the influx of cosmic rays. This resulted in a reduction of cloudiness, which would be a factor in warming the Earth.
450 million years ago, CO2 levels were over 10 times higher than they are now and the planet was experiencing the coldest period in the last 1/2 billion years. The belief of worldwide warming is contradicted by the fact that massive areas are in fact cooling, such as N. & S. Pacific, the Amazon Valley, N. coast of South America, and many other places. When considered overall, warming and cooling are almost in balance. New studies also show that living plants emit a considerable amount of Methane in the presence of air.
In 1999, Michael Mann published a graph of past temperatures in which the Medieval Warming Period was not taken into account. The MWP occured starting about 1,000 B.C. and was followed by a little ice age in the 14th century. Mann and his team chose to get rid of the MWP so that their results showed what they wanted to show. Their work was accepted without criticism even though their results were not supported by the full facts.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia, in response to Gore's movie 'An Inconvenient Truth', said, "The man is an embarrasment to U.S. science and its many fine practitioners, alot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science." Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden says, "The 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, there is an increase in the 'calving' of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans."
* Dearth - scarcity or lack. Her new favorite word. It had to be looked up, of course, but she is now (successfully) attempting to use it in everyday conversation. My mother used this word a lot.
So - there it is. Not perfect, but not bad for a kid. It took several days and many hours of complaining because of all of that horrible writing that had to be done. I told her, "Be glad you are expected to write - - in some countries they would hang you if they knew you were trying. Or possibly whip you or bury and stone you." (A little tough - but it's true.)
Many interesting conversations have been spawned by the research that we had to do for the essay. One had to do with why scientists would be afraid to speak up for disagreeing with Gore's vision of global catastrophe. It is a hard thing to explain to a 10 year old how science can be politicized. How funding can be cut off. How one can be barred from submitting scientific evidence to journals. How a person's reputation can be smeared and how that can be devastating. It is a hard thing to explain.
This was a hard essay for her to complete. The writing of it was only part of the difficulty. Challenging her to read data and then write in her own words what it meant to her - man. I was constantly reeling myself in and forcing myself to keep my mouth shut. Interestingly enough, we found many sources that didn't even list water vapor as a greenhouse gas. I asked her, 'Why do you think they would ignore water vapor?' She couldn't answer but I hope that it got her thinking. She struggled, but she did it. I think she did good.