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Fact Sheet: The Science of the Climate Crisis The Urgency of Climate Change And Why We Have to Act

Now Global Crisis:
Causation of Climate Change Greenhouse gases and aerosols alter the energy balance in the climate. (1) The abundance of these gases trap heat in the atmosphere Gas examples: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (1) Global atmospheric concentrations have increased significantly since industrial activities since 1750 Primarily due to fossil fuels and land-use change (CO2), agriculture (methane, nitrous oxide) (1) Statistics of Atmospheric concentration of CO2: Pre-industrial: 280 ppm 2005: 379 ppm (1) 2013: >400 ppm (2)

Positive Feedback Loops:
Positive Feedback Loop: A system that responds to a perturbation by enhancing the effects. Oceans: A Carbon Sink About half of current CO2 emissions are absorbed by marine and terrestrial ecosystems. (3) Strength of the ocean as a carbon sink depends on the CO2 partial pressure along the air and sea interface. (4) As the global temperature increases, warming oceans lead to stratification (separation) of ocean layers with less vertical mixing of waters. Thus, this leads to a slower absorption of excess carbon from the ocean surface. (4) Moreover, warmer water has a smaller capacity of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere leading to a positive feedback loop. (5)

Forests: Sensitive to Change Estimated that a net total of about 1.1 petagrams of carbon is absorbed by forests a year that include forests, tropical land-use changes, deforestation and regrowth of tropical forests. (6.) Deforestation produces about 2.8 Pg of Carbon per year in the last decade but most has been offset by the carbon uptake in tropical regrowth forests. (6) Forests remain highly sensitive to temperature change. Higher overall temperatures may result in a smaller carbon sink due to A higher respiration and reduced soil moisture. (7) Albedo Effect An increase in global average air temperature has resulted in a loss of artic ice. (8) Ice helps to reduce global temperatures by efficiently reflecting sunlight. A reduction in this ice due to rises in temperatures leads to a less efficient surface and more rising temperatures thus sustaining a chain of melting ice. (9) Artic: The Warming Agent Methane Methane is a greenhouse gas about 25 times more powerful than CO2. (10) As ice melts, frozen reservoirs of methane begin to thaw. It is estimated that the Arctic stores about 1,200Pg of carbon compared to the atmospheric methane pool of about 5Pg. (11)

Boston Area:
Storms It is estimated that in the 21st century that there will be a 24 inch rise of sea level along the metropolitan Boston coastline. Simply a 12 inch increase can contribute to a typical 10-year storm with the intensity of a 100-year storm. During and after extreme weather events, it is estimated that motorists need an extra 80% more hours on the road. (12) Flooding River flooding may affect twice as many properties and result in twice the overall cost of damage. Property damage due to coastal flooding and emergency services is estimated at $94 billion for this century. Global warming may result in a reduction of water quality in rivers and streams that many organisms depend on. (12) Rise in Temperatures

Since 1970, average annual temperatures have increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The rise is twice as much during winters. The northeast is expected to face more heat waves in the future. (13) Required use of air conditioning for days in July is expected to rise over 24%. There may be at least 30 days of temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. (12)

Recreation and Industries in the Northeast Portions of the Northeast may not be suitable for popular varieties of crops of apples, blueberries and cranberries. Current maple and birch forests are expected to move north. (13) Ski and snowboard seasons will be cut short due to warmer winters and may require further artificial snowmaking equipment. (13) Cod populations are sensitive to temperature changes At 47 degrees Fahrenheit for annual bottom temperatures, there is a decline in growth and survival of cod. Large populations are rarer at the 54 degrees Fahrenheit. It is expected that both thresholds will be met sometime this coming century. (13)

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