Why does this matter?

It is one thing to convey quantitative results to people so they may better understand climate change. I am not against this, seeing as the numerical representation of data is strong and credible evidence that the world is changing, but it is equally as important to demonstrate why all this matters.

There are natural climate forcing techniques our Earth follows. They can be divided into two types; external and internal. External processes include aspects like the Milankovitch Cycles that relate to incoming solar radiation. Internal processes include any changes that occur within the Earth system, such as volcanics.

Throughout the history of Earth’s existence, it has been fluctuating between periods of glacial versus interglacial time lengths. Glacial refers to times when the Earth contained active and growing glaciers. During interglacial times, the Earth would warm and glaciers would retreat. The last glacial max ended about 15,000 years ago, meaning that we are currently in an interglacial period.

Being said, this does not mean that the anthropogenic warming effects we have on our Earth do not matter. We are altering the natural warming processes the Earth has been constantly following for ~4.5 billion years.

So, the next time you see climate data portrayed in charts, graphs, or statistics, think to yourself; Why does this matter?

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Volcanic Carbon Dioxide

As we all know, a great deal of the carbon dioxide in out atmosphere is due to anthropogenic sources. There are natural processes and cycles, however, that release CO2 from the lithosphere (Earth’s crust) back into the atmosphere.

Natural CO2 release mechanisms include decomposition, respiration, and outgassing from volcanoes. This outgassing includes activity like eruptions (explosive and quiescent), geothermal vent release, and the nature of chemosynthetic environments.

The emission of CO2 through volcanic sources is essential to the carbon cycle. Although the total amount of carbon dioxide released from volcanoes is minor, it still makes a difference.

During an explosive volcanic eruption, gasses and matter are expelled. This matter consists of magma, ash, and dust which is at a temperature of about 800 degrees Celsius. Despite the fact that heat is released from this matter, it also acts to block the suns UV rays. Both of these processes alter the temperature of the Earth.

The quiescent gasses that are constantly emitted are composed of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and water vapor. These all aid in the increase of average global temp.

Here’s a little more info having to do with anthropogenic vs.volcanic emissions of carbon dioxide. Take a peek and look at the quantitative measures and observations relating to this matter.

Specialists Species Beginning to Suffer

Have you ever thought about how climate change can effect the organisms that also inhabit our Earth?I believe many people view our world as anthropocentric, or only revolving around us humans. It is crucial to take a step back and realize that there are millions and millions of other creatures we live with.

There are certain species who are more resilient to sea level rise, increasing temperatures, and more extreme weather. These species are referred to as generalists. On the other hand, species who are more sensitive to these changes are called specialists.

Two examples of these specialist species are the Ochre Star (Pisaster Ochraceus) and the American Lobster (Homarus Americanus). The effect of warming seas has had drastic and devastating effects on these two species.

Although the Ochre Star comes from the northwest Pacific Ocean and the American lobster comes from the northeast coast of the United States, the epidemics effecting them are of major concern. This information was found from this article put out from The Independent, a news site based out of the UK.

On the Pacific Coast, the Ochre Star is suffering from a disease which degrades its limbs and causes them to fall off. This disease is thought to be a virus that is more active during times of warmer temperatures.

As for the American Lobster, the term used in the article is “epizootic shell disease.” This is understood to be a disease that is also characterized by the warmer waters present in the North Atlantic.

If these specialist species continue to suffer, it is only a matter of time before the population of generalists species begin to suffer.