I’m glad readers are interested in climate change and wonder about the real cause of current global warming. Some readers question whether human beings have the power to change the climate. Others think the Earth’s wobble around its axis may cause warming, and we don’t need to worry about the use of fossil fuels.
I would like to present facts for them to consider, and hopefully change their minds.
Yes, astronomers have determined that the Earth has been going through three orbital variations. These include shifts in its axis, the wobbling motion around the axis, and ever-moving continents that can affect oceans and atmospheric patterns when plate tectonics move and warmer waters flow from the equator to the poles.
The tilt shift ranges from 24.5 degrees to 22.1 degrees on 41,000-year cycles. Earth’s one full wobble, which looks like a slowly spinning top, happens every 10,000 to 23,000 years, according to astronomer Milutin Milankovic.
In 1976, in a landmark study, it was reported that over the past 80,000 years, carbon dioxide levels fluctuated between about 170 parts per million and 280 ppm. But carbon dioxide levels are much higher today as compared to the past fluctuations.
In May 2016, carbon dioxide levels in Antarctica hit 400 ppm, according to Climate Central. The warming effects of carbon dioxide will have big consequences, because even a small increase in Earth’s average temperature can lead to drastic changes.
For instance, Earth was only about 9 degrees F colder, on average, during the last ice age than it is today. If global warming causes both Greenland’s and Antarctica’s ice sheets to melt, the oceans will rise about 196 feet higher than they are now.
Humans have no control over any of the variations caused by changes in the Earth’s axis or its wobble, which occurs over thousands of years. However, we can do our part to minimize damage caused by greenhouse gases and plastics just over decades.
Scientists have noticed that climatic changes in the last few decades have caused global temperatures to fluctuate by as much as 5 degrees F or more.
Our use of fossil fuels has tremendously increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has a warming effect on the environment. According to scientific data, currently we have about 410 ppm of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, and we’re adding 2 ppm per year thanks to more than a billion automobiles and thousands of factories and power plants.
I remember when people in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Tokyo wore masks so they could breathe. I recently read that in New Delhi, there was so much smog before COVID-19 that people couldn’t see the stars at night. Due to the lockdown on people and automobiles for five weeks, they can see clear skies and stars again.
At the current rate of carbon dioxide increase, we’ll have 474 ppm by 2050. Some climatologists believe 500 ppm of carbon dioxide will approach dangerous levels for humans. We need to reverse the trend soon. We can’t control when the Earth will shift its axis or wobble again in thousands of years. However, we can have some controls over global temperatures and the air we breathe within this century!
Nanda is director of genetics for Seed Genetics Direct, Jeffersonville, Ohio. Email email@example.com or call 317-910-9876.