Never mind the cold, globe is warming

Its difficult to believe in global warming with repetitive winter storms rolling over much of the country.

Climatologists are telling us that we should avoid a 2 degree Celsius increase in global average temperature because that would bring unprecedented high temperatures and sea levels.

How does this temperature increase happen? Increased levels of man-made carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, triggers a cascade of amplifying factors that lead to an undesirable outcome. Arctic and Antarctic sea ice is melting at accelerating rates. Ice and snow reflect heat, but open sea absorbs heat which raises ocean temperature which then melts more ice. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas. Warmer air can absorb more water, which drives temperatures even higher.

The third amplifying factor is methane gas, which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. As vast areas of frozen tundra thaw, the organic material is broken down by microorganisms to produce methane. Additional methane, now frozen in ocean sediments, melts and bubbles into the atmosphere. The ultimate outcome isn't pretty and we should consider what kind of world we will leave for our children and generations to come.

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