Wabash Watershed

Global warming is a resultant of Heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The release of these gases has increased in the last 500 years since the industrial revolution. There is an expectation that global warming will result to rising sea levels, droughts, fires, heat waves, extreme storms, heavy rainfall, floods, and melting of snow and ice. These changes as envisaged would affect agriculture and general food availability with devastating consequences for existence of life on earth. In additional, life would change completely because many systems are tied to the climate.
For example, temperature changes would affect breeding cycle of insect, and this has implications on pollination and food availability for humans. Although short-term weather variations are normal and expected, long-term changes are deleterious to the environment and life on earth (Houghton, 2004). There is evidence that global warming is becoming worse primarily due to rise in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. In 1950s, the concentration of carbon dioxide was at 315 parts per million. Currently, the concentration is about 385 parts per million.
To discover an increase in concentration of carbon dioxide throughout history, scientists have used bubbles of air trapped in ice and results show that the current concentration of carbon dioxide is the highest and has been, for more than 10,000 years (Maslin, 2007). Atmospheric carbon dioxide was 280 parts per million before the industrial revolution. During the ice age, concentration was only 100 parts and 300 during warm periods. Other green houses gases such as methane and nitrous oxide have increased at the same rate as carbon dioxide since then.

The rising levels of carbon dioxide and vapor in the atmosphere are projected as causing wide ranging climatic changes, in the form of heavy rainfall and droughts occurring within a few years. The increasing level would flood cities and destroy infrastructure in low-lying areas. In the past, serious floods that used to occur once or twice in a period of 100 to 500 years are now regular occurrence. Small changes in precipitation, moisture, and local temperature will have a tremendous impact on human life due to their expected impact on food production.
Since 1880s, annual mean temperature has increased, and projections based on factors in existence suggest the temperature increase will accelerate (Houghton, 2004). According to global warming theory, increase in temperature means more evaporation from the ocean. Presently, the ocean holds more than 4 percent more moisture compared to 30 years ago. This has resulted to experiencing tremendous and frequent storms. It is expected that as the temperature keep rising, the moisture in the ocean will increase, and storms will get worse.
Additionally, warm air over land will either extend drought. The loss of summer ice in the arctic region has altered winter in North America and Western Europe. The melting ice adds to the sea volume that partly explains the increase in sea levels. The permanent ice that is melting in the Polar Regions is releasing methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Therefore, global warming is creating a condition for accelerated warming. Severe winter that was recorded in eastern US and northern US is related to temperature changes in the arctic region.
Warm air over the arctic melts the ice that moves into the ocean, which becomes darker. Consequently, the ocean takes in more rays placing more warmth over the arctic region. This weakens the tight swirling vortex of the jet stream, which drives weather patterns in Western Europe. A weaker jet stream in 2010 dipped further south delivering storm tracks and bringing arctic air in middle air, increasing the possibility of severe winter (Houghton, 2004). That is what happened in 2010 in eastern USA and northern Europe. People contribute to the global warming phenomena by burning fossil fuel.
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide that produces greenhouse effect over the surface of the earth; thereby, trapping more solar radiation. Additionally, when people cut down trees, the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase precipitously because trees and forests acts as a carbon sink. Other than burning fossil fuels and deforestation, other human activities behind global warming are industrial processes and mining, landfills, septic, water systems, fertilizer application, manure and management (Maslin, 2007).
Currently in the tropics, massive deforestation is taking place. In the Amazon basin, millions of acres are cleared annually to pave the way for ranches to rear beef animals for meat export to Europe and North America. Western Europe and North America have the utmost per capita use of meat in the world. Deforestation is also carried out in order to satisfy the huge demand for timber product in Brazil, a country that is developing fast. Deforestation has gains for the country. Trees in the Amazon and Congo basins are significant.
The two largest forest basins act as the “world lungs” because they absorb excess carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. Forests also play a critical role in reducing flooding and are a great source of hydroelectric power, which is clean. Of the hydroelectric power of the two great rivers and elsewhere in the world, the need for burning fossil fuel to produce electricity would reduce dramatically further leading to less pollution. The current environmental crisis such as global warming, water scarcity, ozone depletion, and biodiversity depletion is caused by anthropocentric perception of nature.
In accordance with anthropocentric view of environment, trees are cut down in order to gratify the huge demand for tree products or to pave the way for farming or ranching. Removal of trees leaves the earth unable to absorb excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through burning of biomass (Archer, 2012). As a result, increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming and climate change. Deforestation is also causing the extinction of species.
People view trees as mere resources that can only be exploited to provide building materials, avail jobs for the low-income people among other uses, totally disregarding the intrinsic value of forests or trees, which is to act as a carbon sink (Robbins and Hintz 60). As a result, this has caused massive environmental damage with global ramifications. From the data collected for the Wabash water basic, this paper consider temperature, precipitation, evapotraspiraition, moisture deficit, and surface for evidence of global warming. Temperature
Although data presented is not consistent, there are indications that there is an overall warming of the environment. On average, maximum temperature increased over the period, and minimum temperature increased. According to global warming theory, increase in global and local temperatures lead to increased evaporation that cause more cloud cover/fog or haze that hold more temperature increasing minimum temperature in the process. The increase in minimum temperature recorded during the 30-year period can be construed to mean the presence of global warming.
In the 80s, average temperatures increased rapidly suggesting that the world was warming up rapidly. Hover, the increase slowed down in the 90s. The average daily temperature has declined in the 30 years under study. According to global warming theory, increase in greenhouse gases increases the ability of earth atmosphere to hold onto nighttime warmth more effectively than increases in mid-day temperature. The decline in average temperature range supports the view that the globe is warming. Precipitation On average, annual precipitation at the valley has increased.
The precipitation rises from 39 inches to 42, which is a significant increase. The increase in precipitation is consistent with the earlier data that demonstrated an increase in temperature. Global warming theory predicts a situation where increase in temperature leads to more water vapor due to evaporation leading to an increase in precipitation. Based on the findings that precipitation has increased in the 30 years, conclusion can be made that global warming is a reality. However, there are other facts that do not support the supposition of global warming.
The global warming theory predicts that continental landmasses would receive less rainfall. Decline in temperature gradient between equatorial regions and regions removed from the centre would decline, leading to weak storm system that transports moisture from the oceans to the landmasses for precipitation. In the continental United States, the amount of precipitation should have declined as weak storm systems should have been able to transport moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Increase in precipitation contradicts global warming theory.
Additionally, draught is brought by low precipitation and high evaporation. Precipitation recorded is high. Over the period, the day where there is light precipitation has increased peaking in the 70s. The numbers of recorded days with moderate precipitation also increased. In the 80s, there are more days of moderate precipitation. This period coincided with higher temperatures suggesting that increase in temperature and evaporation was creating drought conditions. This view is also supported by the view that annual day on heavy precipitation declines over the period.
The number of days with recorded heavy precipitation show great variability that is not possible to extract a visible pattern to link to the global warming. The number of days where precipitation over 0. 01 inches and above is recorded increases over the period. The increase is probably due to light precipitation days that follow the same trend. This information alone cannot absolutely indicate the presence of global warming. However, the data in itself shows that there is more moisture in the atmosphere or evaporation and resulting condensation due to temperature increase.
Evapotranspiration The rate of evapotranspiration as the data shows increase over the period and peaks in the 70s. According to global warming theory, evapotranspiration would increase in tandem with an increase in precipitation and temperature. The increase in a period of a general increase in temperature and precipitation is consistent with what would be expected as predicted by the global warming theory. Moisture deficit Moisture deficit declined suggesting that drought induced deficit should have been the case.
Annual surplus moisture is recorded, and this supports the theory of global warming. Runoff There is an increase in runoff due to increased precipitation. The 5-year running means that the data seemed to run in the 2-3 year cycles of maximums and minimums, but the peaks of the cycles grew to extreme high levels. As far as we understand about the consequences of global warming, this data does not seem to agree them. Views Based on the data presented about the Wabash watershed, there is a strong suggestion that global warming is real.
All the variables largely behave in a way people would expect in a warm environment. For example, theorists predicted that temperature would rise, and there would be a drop in the range of temperature. According to the date, temperature has increased during the period, and the difference between minimum and maximum temperature has declined. The results of the data fulfill the predictions. Despite evidence for global warming, some of the date collected from the watershed opposes what should happen in theory.
For example, more droughts should have happened during the period that does not turn out to be precisely the case. However, the wild variability of key variables is a pointer to a potential problem. In a tropical region, the wide variability could have resulted to observable drought like conditions. Conclusion Global warming is a problem with serious consequences. The carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is expected to drive the present global temperature further north. The changes in the arctic region and the ocean have implication for the weather patterns worldwide.
According to the data presented for the Wabash watershed, both minimum and maximum temperatures increased during the 30-year period and the difference between them decreased. Global warming theory precisely suggests the same thing. Increase in average temperature suggests that moisture levels at land and sea would increase. As an indication, precipitation levels would increase, and more severe storms in the sea would be experienced due to high moisture levels. In the last few years, violent storms have been witnessed at sea indicating that moisture levels at the oceans are increasing.
Global warming theory predicts lower precipitation levels due to the disturbance of delicate pressure balance in the tropics and regions that are not close. The global warming theory predicts that continental landmasses would receive less rainfall. Decline in temperature, gradient between equatorial regions and regions removed from the centre would decline leading to weak storm system that transport moisture from the oceans to the land masses for precipitation. Because precipitation increased at Wabash watershed for the period under review, the results do not quite agree with the theory.
However, in all other respect, the behavior of the variables that were under study suggests that global warming is real. In tandem with an increase in precipitation, runoff increased. Annual surplus moisture is recorded, and this supports the theory of global warming. The implication of Wabash watershed is that in general, the earth is growing warmer, but some predictions of global warming are not turning out as expected (Archer, 2012). This could be due to some hidden variables or known variables interacting in a way that is not fully understood.

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