Research on Global Warming
Some scientists studying global warming in the Arctic have discovered thinning sea ice near the northern reaches of Alaska. The summer of 2007 showed the least sea ice since sea ice was first tracked in 1979. Scientists participating in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Gyre Exploration Project cruised aboard the Canadian Coast Guard's ship, the Icebreaker, to see the effects of global warming for themselves.
When they reached the area where ice would usually be the thickest and heaviest, the ship sailed right through. When they did see ice, it was in a state of disintegration because of global warming. Most of the ice remaining was young ice, which is more vulnerable to thaw. The scientists took their data home to analyze during the colder months.
Another group, with the Arctic Modeling Group and the IJIS Research Group, set sail along the Alaskan coast in the Chukchi Sea. Their mission was to study different variables of the ocean water that might affect phytoplankton. They found that the water was warmer than the satellite statistics. The satellite showed 10 degrees Celsius, while their measurements showed 14 degrees Celsius. This is an example of global warming.
One study was done linking the Russian peat bogs with global warming. The bogs produce a large amount of methane gas. According to carbon dating that was done, this has been the case since the last ice age. Since methane is one of the greenhouse gases, this impacts global warming.
However, the studies also show that the peat bogs absorb carbon dioxide at an impressive rate. They contain the largest carbon stores on the planet. If the peat bogs dry up due to global warming, they would release this carbon dioxide into the air. The trade-off of carbon dioxide for methane would not be a good one, since methane stays in the atmosphere a shorter time.
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been busy proving that humans bear some culpability for the climate change in the oceans. They have done this both by observing and noting evidence, and by constructing computer models.
The computer models are based on the evidence that they do have, so they are thought to be quite accurate. With all the data in place, the evidence seems to point to definite global warming events. It also makes it clear that humans have played a part in causing this phenomenon.
An MIT professor has studied the effects of warming waters on hurricanes over the last fifty years. He studied statistics from past storms and generated computer models to test his theory. His specialty is meteorology, so his take on global warming is of interest. He found that the hurricanes have indeed been getting stronger since 1970.
Research is important to the field of global warming studies. It is only by knowing the problem in precise detail that people can adequately confront it.