March 5, 2015

Global Warming: Snow days a result or not?

Photo by Rachel Essa.

By Samantha Schaefer–

With all this wild weather occurring lately, students are attempting to look at things through a more theoretical perspective.  Many are beginning to wonder if global warming has something to do with all this snowfall and craziness. Most importantly, does more snow mean less heat? The answer to this question is simply no.

In fact, the large amount of recent precipitation provides valid evidence that global warming actually is occurring. The causes of this occurrence are what is in question. Global warming may be a somewhat relatively new concept to us, but it has been occurring for thousands of years before our time.

The heating of the Earth is often looked at as a problem, but it is merely a natural process that is supposed to occur. Have we as individuals sped up this process? There may be a possibility that we have.

Global warming was named one of the two top priorities of the British Prime Minister in 2005. Meanwhile,  former President George W. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 2001. The goal of this international treaty was to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent any anthropogenic interference with the climate system. And though the facts line up that we may be doing so, it is extremely unlikely that we have a large overall effect on the Earth’s climate change.

Several satellite measurements show the Earth warming and cooling over thousands of years (with or without human activity). The strange thing is, it appears that the change in CO2 slightly lags behind the amount of heat in the atmosphere. So, it is very unclear whether the amount of CO2 is affecting the amount of warmth, or vice versa. This is what causes such a debate regarding the issue of global warming.

Obviously, going green and using less gas is better for our health and respiratory systems, but does going green actually help the long-term effects of global warming? And if so, should we be trying to slow down this change, or is it something inevitably going to happen?

Louisville is ninth on the list of top air-polluted cities. How do you contribute each day to air pollution? Do you take the bus or ride a bike when you can?

It is extremely difficult to get to the bottom of global warming, given that each source gives different charts, theories, and persuasions, none of which are completely reliable. Even the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gives little to no information on the basic facts of global warming. Instead they continue to work upon the notion that we have already discovered the cause – anthropologic emission of gases. Their website contains precise planning and reports on how each country is working toward adaptation and alternatives, but no concrete reasoning on why. Either way, it can’t hurt that we have someone trying to fix things.

Are we certain that this climate change is bad? It may be for human beings, but this process is part of something much bigger that has been going on with or without us for as long as the Earth has revolved around the Sun.

More or less the decrease in produced fossil fuels is great for human health. So, why not go green?

As the climate warms, evaporation increases and causes more water to reside in the air. “When storms occur, this added moisture can fuel heavier precipitation in the form of more intense rain or snow.” This is what the Union of Concerned Scientists has to say on the matter. Therefore recent heavy snowfall is not a sign the Earth is staying cold this winter; it is actually a sign that the Earth is heating up.

In the meantime, it’s still nice to enjoy the snow days and take a moment to relax inside or go sledding with friends.

Sadly in the future students may not be able to enjoy this kind of weather, so don’t take it for granted. If you’re interested in slowing down Earth’s warming process, take the bus, ride your bike, or simply go outside and walk. If that’s too much of a far fetch, just use less energy at home, avoid frozen meals, and purchase fresh foods. It’s small changes that lead to larger ones, so support your local markets and “Keep Louisville weird.”

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