Extreme Weather Conditions Essay Examples

Extreme Weather And Global Warming Essay

ENG 102-V1

Extreme Weather and Global Warming

Over the last few decades, there has been a signifacant change to the climate on our planet Earth. People around the world are beginning to connect the dots between global warming and the impact it has on recent extreme weather patterns. If someone didn't believe in global warming before, there have been many extreme weather occurences that can be linked to an increase in global warming. An increase in Earth's temperature will create more episodes of heat waves, severe storms, floods, and droughts. These episodes and their effects on those around the world, is our most visible impact of global warming on our everyday lives. While it may not be the only reason, global warming is playing a major role in extreme weather occurences around the world these last few decades.

Global warming is by far one of the biggest issues that our world faces today. Other forms of air pollution and carbon dioxide are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere like a blanket, holding the sun's heat and causing an increase in the planet's tempereature. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), "over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history" (NRDC). They go on to say, "…the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990. Scientists say that unless we curb global warming emissions, average U.S. temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century" (NRDC). Global warming is a complex issue, and its full impacts are hard to predict in advance. In looking for the greatest contributor to global warming, the United States has to look in the mirror. NRDC's research finds that, "Americans make up just 4 percent of the world's population," and that we also, "produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning" (NRDC). This is by far the biggest contribution from a country in the world. With numerous statistics and scientific theories to help this question arise, we must ask, is global warming to blame for climate change? I say yes.

Prolonged periods of little or no rainfall and increased temperatures are causing droughts in the western region of the United States. These droughts have stirred talk about the sudden climate change our world is faced with. Many scientists assume that the severe droughts are occurring because the temperatures are higher and the winters are shorter as a result of global warming. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, says that, "As you go into the summer there is less snow, so there is less soil moisture and less water to evaporate. Then you get a feedback process; since there is no moisture for clouds to form, there is no further rainfall" (Vogel). Trenberth makes sure to point out that...

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On a Rainy Day
11/28/95

November bows to December, and Fall to Winter. The Oregonian claimed that there were only two clear days in October, and if it is possible, this month has been even more cloudy. We deserve the rain, for drought has plagued our region for years. This is merely a year of above-normal precipitation, not a disaster. Still, it is difficult to look out the window without cursing. When will the skies clear again? I missed most of Fall's astronomical events: the Orionid and Leonid meteor showers, Saturn's ring crossings and transits of Titan, and several planetary conjunctions. Last winter's sketches of Mars and Jupiter stare at me from the back pages of my notebook, whetting my appetite. However, this astronomical thirst is itself denied by the moisture-providing clouds. I am drawn to observing logs from my past, and electronic news from areas with clear skies. I know that I can hold on until an East Wind comes shooting down the Gorge once again, driving the clouds back to the coast and drying everything up. On that night, bitterly cold though it may be, I know that I will be outside.



Observations of "Object Y"
12/6/95

Full Moon. Bad seeing. High relative humidity. Limiting magnitude no better than 4.5 at the zenith in a light-polluted sky. In short, the conditions make for a deep-sky observer's nightmare. When there hasn't been a clear night in over a month, a true amateur astronomer can't be picky. There is the obligatory view of Saturn with its rings and moons. On a night like this, enjoy it fully. There is no reason to rush to another object. Planets survive the poor transparency, although bad seeing detracts from detail and resolution.

An 8" telescope makes the Messier objects easy targets, if the sky is halfway decent. With the Moon's glare centered in the southern sky near Taurus, no object is easy. M1 is gone, M35 a washed-out collection of a few dim stars. M74 and M76 are on the very edge of visibility. The Andromeda Galaxy is stripped of its dust lanes and outer regions. Small objects with high surface brightnesses, like M77 and NGC 2392, are the only ones that really hang in there.

Why look for these objects on such a poor night? One answer is: "A bad night skygazing is better than a good night watching TV." The clear weather, as ill-timed as it may be, will probably go away before the Moon departs from the evening sky and is therefore precious. The artificial and natural sky glows combine to send a warning. Unless we control light pollution, this may be as good as the sky ever gets. M35 would normally be a showcase object, a textbook example of an open star cluster for beginning astronomy students. Tonight, it is distinctly unimpressive. Already, Portland's lights drown out the excitement that should go with a first view of the Great Cluster in Hercules or the Ring Nebula. Forget about seeing spiral structure in galaxies from the city. Central and Eastern Oregon still offer dark skies, but not everyone can be persuaded that the trip is worth it. Even when the weather is good, few people will leave an introductory astronomy class with an appreciation for what can be seen in the night sky.

These thoughts are sobering, but a view of the Moon lightens my mood. I forgo the polarizing filter, instead projecting the image onto a sheet of paper held behind the telescope. If it works with the Sun, why not with the Moon? I trace Mare Crisium and the rays of Tycho and Copernicus, enjoying a new perspective from which to observe our satellite. I shut down the observatory, and notice that the conclusion of my observing run coincides with the arrival of the night's first clouds.

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