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CLIMATE CHANGE – ADAPTATION AND ADOPTION

Presentation by

Dr. N. Rajeshwara Rao
E-mail: raonandamuri@gmail.com

Department of Applied Geology University of Madras

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is any long-term significant change in the “average weather” that a given region experiences.

Average weather may include average temperature, precipitation and wind patterns. It involves changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over durations ranging from decades to millions of years.

Climate change – Drivers

Climate changes can be caused by dynamic processes on the Earth, external forces including variations in sunlight intensity, and more recently by human activities. In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, the term climate change often refers to changes in modern climate.

processes in other parts of the Earth such as oceans and ice caps. and greenhouse gas concentrations. the Earth's orbit. and include such processes as variations in solar radiation.  . The external factors that can shape climate are often called climate forcings. and the effects of human activity.Climate forcings  Climate changes reflect variations within the Earth's atmosphere.

 Many climate fluctuations – including not only the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) but also the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. at least in part. and can dramatically affect climate.Ocean variability  On the scale of decades. Past climate records suggest that there is some chance that this circulation could be affected or even altered by the changes projected in many climate models. ocean processes such as thermohaline circulation play a key role in re-distributing heat.   . On longer time scales. the North Atlantic Oscillation. and the Arctic Oscillation – owe their existence. climate changes can also result from interaction of the atmosphere and oceans. to different ways in which heat can be stored in the oceans and moved between different reservoirs.

Simplified illustration of oceanic conveyor belt circulation .

   . ENSO is associated with floods. commonly referred to as simply El Niño) is a global coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon. The name El Niño.El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)  El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO. and other disturbances in a range of locations around the world. The atmospheric signature. Australia. from the Spanish for the little boy. refers to the Christ child. it is an important temperature fluctuation in the surface waters of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. first described in 1923 by Sir Gilbert Thomas Walker. the Southern Oscillation (SO) reflects the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. droughts. because the phenomenon is usually noticed around Christmas time in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America. As a Pacific Ocean signature.

American coast. without the effect of ENSO. and cold water upwells along the South American coast. equatorial winds gather warm water pool toward west. when the warm water approaches the S.Schematic illustration of ENSO  Under normal conditions.  . Under El Niño conditions. the absence of cold water upwelling increases warming.

cooler. . replacing the warmer. usually nutrient-depleted surface water. and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface.What is Upwelling? Upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense.

in 1996. second. 20th century PDO events persisted for 20 to 30 years. Two main characteristics distinguish PDO from El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO): first.Pacific Decadal Oscillation – PDO  The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a long-lived El Niñolike pattern of Pacific climate variability.   . while researching connections between Alaska salmon production cycles and Pacific climate. while those of ENSO are seen in the tropics. the climatic fingerprints of the PDO are most visible in the North Pacific/North American sector. The term was first coined by Fisheries scientist. Steven Hare. while typical ENSO events persisted for 6 to 18 months.

The NAO was discovered in the 1920s by Sir Gilbert Walker. winters are mild and rain is frequent. If westerlies are suppressed.  . bring moist air into Europe.   Similar to the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. the temperature is more extreme in summer and winter leading to heat waves.North Atlantic Oscillation – NAO  The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean controlling the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic. deep freezes and reduced rainfall. Westerly winds blowing across the Atlantic. summers are cool. In years when westerlies are strong. NAO is one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic and surrounding humid climates.

. takes place between the ocean basins. The entire circulation pattern takes ~2. This dense water then flows into the ocean basins. dissolved substances and gases around the globe. While the bulk of it upwells in the Southern Ocean. therefore. the water masses transport heat.000 years.g. cooling all the while and eventually sinking at high latitudes (forming NADW). On their journey.Thermohaline Circulation – THC      THC refers to the part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is thought to be driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and fresh water fluxes. This collection of currents is responsible for the large-scale exchange of water masses in the ocean. reducing differences between them and making the Earth's ocean a global system. Gulf Stream) head poleward from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. the oldest waters (with a transit time of around 1. Wind-driven surface currents (e. Extensive mixing.600 years) upwell in the North Pacific. solids. including providing oxygen to the deep ocean.

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  .Role of Thermohaline Circulation  THC plays an important role in supplying heat to the Polar Regions. Changes in the thermohaline circulation are thought to have significant impacts on the earth's radiation budget. THC not only governs the rate at which deep waters are exposed to the surface. and thus in regulating the amount of sea ice in these regions. but may also play an important role in determining the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Effects of CO2 on Climate Change  Current studies indicate that radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is the primary cause of global warming. primarily due to the effect of geological processes and biological innovations.000 ppm to less than 200 ppm. plays a key role in regulating Earth's temperature. Higher dust levels are attributed to cold. Over the last 600 my.000 years (Petit et al. Antarctica. Greenhouse gases are also important in understanding Earth's climate history. have estimated variations in CO2 level. temperature and dust concentration over the last 400. which is the warming produced as greenhouse gases trap heat.    . carbon dioxide concentrations have varied from perhaps >5. dry periods in the Earth’s history.. 1999). The greenhouse effect. Studies on ice cores from Vostok.

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A positive forcing (more incoming energy) tends to warm the system. while a negative forcing (more outgoing energy) tends to cool it.  .  Net irradiance is the difference between the incoming radiation energy and the outgoing radiation energy in a given climate system and is thus measured in watts/m2. as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the measured difference relative to the year 1750.  The change is computed-based on unperturbed values. radiative forcing is defined as the change in net irradiance at the tropopause. the defined starting point of the industrial era.Radiative Forcing  In climate science.

methane. Greenhouse gases include in the order of relative abundance water vapor. in its absence. the Earth would be uninhabitable. carbon dioxide. the mean temperature of the earth would be ~19°C rather than the present mean temperature of about 15°C. Without this effect. nitrous oxide.Greenhouse gases  Greenhouse gases are components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. and ozone.  . The majority of greenhouse gases come mostly from natural sources. but they are also contributed to by human activity.

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.Contributors to Greenhouse Effect  Water vapor – about 36 to 70% (not including clouds). sulfur hexafluoride. Ozone – 3 to 7%. Carbon dioxide – 9 to 26%. Other greenhouse gases include nitrous oxide. HFCs. perfluorocarbons and CFCs.     Methane – 4 to 9%.

with same coloring of sectors as used in the top chart. weighted by their global warming potential over the next 100 years. LOWER PANEL: Comparable information for each of three primary GH gases.  .ANTHROPOGENIC GH GASES  TOP PANEL: All man-made greenhouse gases.

g. coal): 35% Liquid fuels (e.g.SOURCES OF CO2 The seven sources of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion are:        Solid fuels (e.g. gasoline): 36% Gaseous fuels (e. natural gas): 20% Flaring gas industrially and at wells: <1% Cement production: 3% Non-fuel hydrocarbons: <1% The "international bunkers" of shipping and air transport not included in national inventories: 4% .

ROLE OF WATER VAPOR

Increase in atmospheric temperature caused by the GH effect due to anthropogenic gases leads to increase in water vapor content of troposphere, with approximately constant relative humidity. Increased water vapor in turn leads to an increase in the greenhouse effect and thus a further increase in temperature. Increase in temperature leads to still further increase in atmospheric water vapor; and the feedback cycle continues until equilibrium is reached.

ANCIENT CO2 LEVELS

Measurements from Antarctic ice cores – Before industrial emissions started, atmospheric CO2 levels were ~280 ppm. Ice cores data show that CO2 concentrations stayed between 260 and 280 ppm during preceding 10,000 years. Studies using evidence from stomata of fossilized leaves suggest greater variability, with CO2 levels above 300 ppm during the period 7,000-10,000 years ago.

First 50 ppm increase in about 200 years. from start of Industrial Revolution to around 1973.INCREASE IN GH GASES  Increase in levels of GH gases since beginning of the Industrial Revolution. from 280 ppm to 380 ppm).e. Increase in CO2 concentration by about 100 ppm (i. from 1973 to 2006.. Next 50 ppm increase took place in about 33 years.    .

COMPARISON TABLE GAS 2007 1750 Increase CO2 383 ppm 260 ppm 31% Methane Nitrous oxide 1.745 ppb 700 ppb 150% 314 ppb 270 ppb 16% .

Thus. it will have a large GWP on a 20-year scale but a small one on a 100-year scale.SCALES OF EFFECT  ATMOSPHERIC LIFETIME describes how long it takes to restore the system to equilibrium following a small increase in the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere. if a molecule has a high GWP on a short time scale (say 20 years) but has only a short lifetime. GWP is measured relative to the same mass of CO2 and evaluated for a specific timescale.  Global Warming Potential (GWP) depends on both efficiency of the molecule as a GH gas and its atmospheric lifetime. .

Methane – In addition to direct radiative impact also contributes to Ozone formation. the hydroxyl radical. OH) that would otherwise destroy them.  .g. It is often argued that contribution to climate change from methane is at least double previous estimates as a result of this effect..Role of CO and CH4  CO – Indirect radiative effect by elevating concentrations of Methane and tropospheric Ozone through scavenging of atmospheric constituents (e.

CO monitoring by TERRA The MOPITT sensor aboard NASA’s Terra satellite has assembled the first view of carbon monoxide in the Earth's atmosphere. .

forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. it is the only known mass extinction of insects. was an extinction event that occurred 251. informally known as the Great Dying or mother of all mass extinctions. Earth's most severe extinction event.Permo–Triassic (P–T) extinction event  The Permo–Triassic (P–T) extinction event.   .4 million years ago. the recovery of life on earth took significantly longer than after other extinction events. with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost.

Extinction events in the past .

which occurs in two short (~1. 2000) and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose. was marked by the most rapid and significant climatic disturbance of the Cenozoic Era. 55.     . The release of these clathrates. These probably represent degassing of clathrates (methane ice deposits). may have been triggered by a range of causes. Regional deep water anoxia may have played a part in marine extinctions. leading to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). with a corresponding rise in sea level as the whole of the oceans warmed (Sluijs. Global temperatures rose by ~6°C over 20. extinction of numerous deep-sea benthic foraminifera. Associated with changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation.Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)  The Paleocene/Eocene boundary. The event is linked to a negative excursion in the δ13C isotope record. and major turnover in mammalian life on land. and ultimately the event itself. a sudden global warming event. Evidence currently seems to favor an increase in volcanic activity as the main perpetrator.000 years. which accentuated a pre-existing warming trend.8 million years ago.000 year) pulses.

Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum .

Some confine the Little Ice Age to approximately the 16th century to the mid-19th century. and 1850. Climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period. 1971). which varied according to local conditions.The Little Ice Age  A period of cooling occurring after a warmer era known as the Medieval Warm Period (a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region) or Medieval Climate Optimum (Ladurie. It is generally agreed that there were three minima. each separated by slight warming intervals.   . beginning about 1650. about 1770.

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What is Plate Tectonics?  It provides geology with a comprehensive theory that explains "how the Earth works.   . It deals with the movement and velocity of major and minor plates.“ The theory was formulated in the 1960s and 1970s as new information was obtained about the nature of the ocean floor.

Plates and Plate Boundaries .

build and tear down mountains and generally serve to define the stage upon which climate exists.  . the North and South American plates collided to form the Isthmus of Panama and shut off direct mixing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. plate tectonics will re-position continents. shape oceans. More recently.Role of Plate Tectonics in Climate Change  On the longest time scales. approximately 3 million years ago. tectonics may have triggered the large-scale storage of carbon and increased glaciation. plate motions have been implicated in the intensification of the present ice age when.  During the Carboniferous.

which is converted to heat at the Earth's surface.Solar variations  Sun is the ultimate source of essentially all heat in the climate system.    On the longest time scales. is an integral part of shaping the Earth's climate. The energy output of the Sun. the sun itself is getting brighter with higher energy output. . in addition to geothermal energy provided by the hot inner core of the Earth. this slow change or evolution affects the Earth's atmosphere. as it continues its main sequence. Energy is also provided by the gravitational pull of the Moon (manifested as tidal power).

as re-constructed from historical observations. is measured as 104 atoms/gram of ice. Solar intensity variations are considered to have been influential in triggering the Little Ice Age. The second. and for some of the warming observed from 1900 to 1950.Types of solar variations  On more modern time scales. including the 11-year solar cycle and longer-term modulations. the 10Be isotopic concentration estimated in an annually layered ice core from Dye-3. Of the two proxies related to solar magnetic activity.    . the first is the Group Sunspot Number (Rg). Greenland. there are also a variety of forms of solar variation.

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The quiet period observed from 1645 to 1710 is known as the Maunder Minimum and is associated with a near zero abundance of sunspots.What are Sunspots?  Sunspots are darker.    . cooler regions of the sun's surface associated with high magnetic flux. Higher numbers of sunspots indicate a more active sun with stronger and more complicated magnetic fields. The dominant change in sunspots reflects the quasi11 year solar magnetic cycle.

.Sunspot monitoring Sunspots have been monitored since the time of Galileo. One striking feature that emerges from the longterm data is that the number of sunspots observed in a given year varies in a dramatic and highly predictable way.

and perhaps much of the rest of the world. astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots. when sunspots became exceedingly rare.Maunder Minimum  The Maunder Minimum is the name given to the period roughly from 1645 to 1715. The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle – and coldest part – of the Little Ice Age. Whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters is the subject of ongoing debate     .000–50. as opposed to a more typical 40. as noted by solar observers of the time. during which Europe and North America. for example. Maunder (1851–1928) who discovered the dearth of sunspots during that period by studying records from those years. During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum.000 spots. was subjected to bitterly cold winters. It is named after the solar astronomer Edward W.

Variations in sunspot number and the Maunder Minimum .

orbital variations are in some sense an extension of solar variability. These variations are considered the driving factors underlying the glacial and interglacial cycles of the present ice age. known as MILANKOVITCH CYCLES.    . and other planets. the Moon. because slight variations in the earth's orbit lead to changes in the distribution and abundance of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface. are a highly predictable consequence of basic physics due to the mutual interactions of the Earth. Such orbital variations. Subtler variations are also present. such as the repeated advance and retreat of the Sahara Desert in response to orbital precession.Earth’s Orbital Variations  In their effect on climate.

000 years. Currently.  Eccentricity (orbital shape). resulting in 100. At the same time.5° and back again on a 41. The Milankovitch theory of climate change is not perfectly worked out as yet. the angle between Earth's rotational axis and the normal to the plane of its orbit moves from 22. named after Serbian civil engineer and mathematician Milutin Milanković.1° to 24. In addition.000year timescale. this angle is 23. and precession (wobble) of the Earth's orbit vary in several patterns. the largest observed response is at the 100. in particular.Milankovitch cycles  Collective effect of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate.000-year cycle.44° and decreasing. the elliptical orbit rotates.000-year ice age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation over the last few million years. axial tilt (obliquity).000-year cycle between the seasons and the orbit. leading to a 21.    . The Earth's axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26.

MILANKOVITCH CYCLES .

Volcanism  A single eruption of the kind that occurs several times per century can affect climate. but can reshape climate for millions of years and cause mass extinctions. measurements indicate that most of the dust thrown in the atmosphere returns to the Earth's surface within six months. occur only a few times every hundred million years.   . causing cooling for a period of a few years. scientists thought that the dust emitted into the atmosphere from large volcanic eruptions was responsible for the cooling by partially blocking the transmission of solar radiation to the Earth's surface. For example. the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 affected climate substantially. Huge eruptions. known as large igneous provinces. However. Initially.

Pinatubo – 1991  Mt. Pinatubo was the second largest eruption of last century. which was predicted to cause a 0. The eruption also injected a twenty million ton sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas cloud into the stratosphere. and produced ~10 km3 of rock and ash.Eruption of Mt. the aerosols caused a measurable stratospheric temperature rise and a drop in the direct solar beam at the Earth's surface. . This gas cloud was chemically converted into a sulfuric acid aerosol.   Although the temperature decrease is hard to identify due to natural climate variability.5°C global temperature decrease.

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) .

including land use. the debate has largely shifted onto ways to reduce human impact and adapt to changes that have already occurred. though it is important to note that the scientific debate has moved on from scepticism. Other factors. Consequently. followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere). The biggest factor of present concern is the increase in CO2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion. 2007). and cement manufacture. ozone depletion. also affect climate.Human-induced changes      Various hypotheses for human-induced climate change have been debated for many years. animal agriculture and deforestation. There is scientific consensus on climate change that human activity is. which exert a cooling effect. the main explanation for the current rapid changes in the world's climate (IPCC. undoubtedly. .

Why are Glaciers important?  Among the most sensitive indicators of climate change. however. and retreating during climate warming on moderate time scales. advancing substantially during climate cooling (e. For the last century.g.  . the Little Ice Age – LIA). glaciers have been unable to re-generate enough ice during the winters to make up for the ice lost during the summer months. both contributing to natural variability and greatly amplifying externally forced changes.  Grow and collapse.

note the rapid decline between 1982 and 1990. . particularly after 1982.Decline in advancement of Alpine glaciers in Switzerland and Italy.

Usually recedes in summer. the Arctic ice cap is likely to melt much faster than had been thought. or a change in ocean circulation. University College. has brought warmer water under the ice cap. 2008). London. suggesting that some other. but grows back in winter. A matter of greater concern is that the sea ice is not only receding. such as a rise in water temperature. but also getting thinner. Cause of thinning even more alarming!!! Winter temperatures in 2007 cold enough that they could not have been the cause. Findings suggest that period in which ice renews itself has become much shorter. long-term change. Arctic ice cap shrinking at record rates in winter as well as summer. leading to sea-level rise (The Times of India. If findings are confirmed. Thickness of ice has decreased by a record 19% in 2007 winter.Current status of Arctic Ice Cap          Research by British scientists at the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling. .

the scientists showed that the glacier sped up between late 2005 and mid-2007. the ice above accelerates towards the ocean. When the sub-glacial lakes overflow. Has provided evidence that sub-surface floods can indeed act like a turbo-lubricant. and the lakes began to re-fill. adding to the growing concern about the pace at which glaciers are melting into the seas. By tracking both the ocean-bound movement of East Antarctica’s Byrd Glacier and the events in two lakes that lie beneath it. Conversely. A hidden network of glacial lakes far below the Antarctic surface regulates the motion of the continent’s ice rivers. precisely when ice-penetrating radar imagery from satellites showed that both lakes were overflowing.Deep below Antarctica?  According to a team of scientists led by Dr. (Nature Geoscience)   . movement of the glacier slowed when flood ceased. Leigh Stearns of the University of Maine. massive floods deep below Antarctica’s surface accelerating flow of glaciers into the ocean.

Snippets – Current Scenario .

Oceans acidifying faster  Research at Department of Ecology and Evolution.  .519 measurements of ocean pH spanning 8 years. Results based on 24. University of Chicago. USA.    Could reduce oceans’ capacity to absorb CO2. Increase in acidity 10 times more than predicted by climate change models. Increasing acidity correlated with increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.

If current trends continue. published in Science. Results from findings by Australian Institute of Marine Science researchers.   .   Related to warmer seas and higher ocean acidity from increased levels of atmospheric CO2. corals may stop growing completely by 2050. Sharp decline in coral growth on the Great Barrier Reef by >14% since 1990 – A sure warning sign. and provide habitat for a multitude of plant and animal species.Significance of Corals  Coral skeletons form the backbone of reef ecosystems.

.Mushroom coral – Fungia sp.

A intense storm as that which occurred on August 28. Impending storm in 2009-2010.   Could disable life support systems on a global scale.  . 1859 could threaten civilization. 1960.Preparing for a Solar Storm    Storms of moderate intensity occur every ~50 years. Could lead to drastic climate changes in the immediate future. Last occurrence on November 13.

   .  Till now. Study likely to yield better understanding on the impact of climate change on Arctic ecosystems.Arctic Tundra emits CH4 in winter!  Research at Lund University. Methane measurements made at Zackenberg Valley. wetlands considered to produce large amounts of CH4. Results indicate emission of CH4 as high in winter as during summer. Sweden. Greenland.

. to reflect sunlight and lower global temperature by ~1°C.Sci-fi Solutions for Global Warming  Sucking CO2 out of the air by sowing the oceans with Fe-dust that would spur the growth of phytoplankton. Paul Crutzen’s solution: Scattering of SO2 particles in the stratosphere.   Roger Angel’s solution: Setting up an array of deflecting lenses between Earth and Sun. to reduce solar heat striking the planet.

4 to 1. Facing water shortage by 0. ~30% of plant and animal species becoming extinct.     Flooding of downstream villages.7 billion people. Rising sea levels – 40 cm to 1.4 m.Worst possible scenario?    Arid regions becoming drier. Flooding of coastal areas. Drying up of water supply sources. .

Phytoplankton blooms thus stimulated consume CO2 and sink to ocean bottom once short life cycle is completed. 11 from Germany and 10 others.The LOHAFEX Experiment  Indo-German experiment involving 29 scientists from India. if they sink below 1. CO2 would be trapped for centuries.000 m. If they sink below 500 m. 1 x 106 tons of CO2 could be buried in the ocean every year.  Atlantic Ocean bottom near Antarctica to be seeded by 20 tons of dissolved Fe-sulfate over 300 km2.    . CO2 would not surface for 100 years. If successful.

Melting ice sheets create huge icebergs. UK. University of Leeds. . Accumulation of frozen mud could breathe life into icy Antarctic waters. Geologist. Rob Raiswell. With rising temperatures. Icebergs gouge out minerals from bedrock on their way to the sea.Glacial melts – Flip side       Theory proposed by Prof. increased ice sheet melting leading to increased removal of CO2. natural removal of CO2 from atmosphere. This would trigger a large.

Cornell University. . Biochar can store GH gases such as CO2.    According to Johannes Lehmann. Heating plants such as farm waste or wood in airtight conditions produces a high-C substance called Biochar. biochar could store 1 x 109 tons of carbon.Biochar cuts Greenhouse gases  Ploughing charred plants into the ground to revive soil fertility an ancient technique. annually equivalent to >10% of global carbon emissions.

Earth’s atmosphere was warm and full of CO2. but was completely covered with ice. and create Ice Age conditions. 630 my ago. Particles of sulfate emitted by industrial pollution and volcanism could reflect Sun’s rays. UK.  Evidence from limestone suggest large amounts of GH gases coincided with prolonged period of freezing temperatures.  .GH gases may trigger Ice Age   Research at University of Birmingham.

let the dishes air dry. Run the washing machine with a full load.  .What to adopt as an individual       Run the dishwasher only with a full load. Avoid the use of air conditioners altogether. If using an automatic dishwasher. Buy energy-efficient appliances.  Consider installing compact fluorescent bulbs instead of highwattage incandescent bulbs. Hang dry some-or all-of the laundry.  Turn off the hot water tank when going away for extended periods of time. Turn out the lights in empty rooms and when away from home.  Install additional insulation on the hot water tank and pipes.

      Walk. Buy locally produced or grown items from local stores and businesses. propane or natural gas. Avoid unnecessary idling. They don't require the transportation energy of imported products. Have your engine tuned at least once every six months. Check your car tire pressure regularly. They minimize the use of environmentally hazardous substances and maximize energy efficiency and the use of recycled materials. such as ethanol. . Share a ride with a friend or co-worker. ride your bike or take a bus to work.What to adopt as an individual   Look for products bearing the EcoLogo. Use alternative fuels.