This page last updated July 2008 and now ARCHIVED.
Buy the George Monbiot book !
As an area of Geographical study, this is open to a great deal of 'bad science' and confusion. Many people fail to recognise the importance of dealing with the 'enhancement' of an existing mix of atmospheric gases without which there would be no life on earth. The term 'Greenhouse Effect' also is misleading as the gases don't really 'trap the heat which arrives from the sun and don't let it escape', neither do these gases 'act like a greenhouse'. That aside, the issue has recently gained greater prominence with the new President Bush following the line of his father and following the line of big US business in abandoning measures to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions following the Kyoto protocol. A recent article in the Guardian's 'Editor' supplement gave the interesting side information that under the Governorship of Bush, Houston became the most air-polluted city in the US.
A 2002 BBC NEWS article had news on the first 3 months of 2001, which were apparently the warmest January, February and March since records began. The trends seem to be for more warming in the future. The key word is attribution: linking cause and effect.
In July 2004, the Met Office and Dept. of Health launched the HEAT - HEALTH WATCH.
Newish February 2005 saw a conference in EXETER at the new MET OFFICE headquarters, aimed at establishing which were the most likely threats facing the planet given various levels of greenhouse gas emissions, or possible STABILISATION.
Newish June 2005: death announced of Professor Keeling, whose work produced the iconic graph showing carbon dioxide increases..
According to my latest Environment Agency newsletter, 9 out of the 10 hottest years on record happened in the last decade, according to the WMO.
Can I recommend that you do your bit for GLOBAL WARMING prediction.
Head over to CLIMATE PREDICTION site and check out the spec of your PC or laptop. If it can cope with the download, you can download your own personal computer model, which takes 1 set of data and works through it. This will potentially take hundreds of hours of time, but if your PC is in use for most of the day, you may as well have it working its way through the data in the background. You can always HALT it if you want your PC's full attention. After a while, you can then call up visualisations of how the data is progressing. Below is a SCREEN CAPTURE of the model that my laptop is currently running...this can be rotated (on my laptop...) Once your computer has dealt with the data it is then e-mailed back to the people running the project. Make sure that you have a good computer though, or the model will take a lot of your processor's power.
The Model ran in the background on my laptop from April 2004 and finally finished the run and uploaded my information in September 2005. Off it went into the ether to contribute to global warming research...
There is a great deal of GLOBAL WARMING information on the Internet. This is only a small selection which I have found of use for various levels of students.
A follow on from the EPA allows you to look at the predicted impacts in each of the US States. This would be excellent for American students, but even we can get some use out of it by perhaps comparing states like Florida and Hawaii with those like Alaska, where they may be thawing of the permafrost. Go HERE for all the info.
There's also an American PBS site which has environmental stories including ones on GLOBAL WARMING which are very recent. There's also a useful site based on a project by PACE UNIVERSITY in the USA again (ironically).
There's also a site by the Institute of Refrigeration, looking at how Global Warming relates to the humble FRIDGE. Sites operated by refrigerant manufacturers often complain technical information on the greenhouse gases such as CFC's and replacement HCFC's which have less ozone depleting potential. There is also something called GWP or Global Warming potential which can be calculated for greenhouse gases in comparison with an equal amount of Carbon dioxide.
NOAA site here: good FAQ
A good INTERACTIVE ACTIVITY here.
A UN site on Global Warming HERE. (Framework Convention for Climate Change)
Try this BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
If all goes according to plan I'm going to be starting an online course on Global Warming run by UEA in April, as if I'm not busy enough..
Need weather data ? Based close to Hertfordshire, or want to contrast it with your own area ? In that case, go to the ROYSTON WEATHER DATA page, at Iceni.org.uk. This excellent collection of weather data has information on all the usual suspects for the last few years, and has features on the great drought of 1976 with details of temperatures over the period of the heat-wave. Well done to Richard Barker, and others involved in putting together the site. Also has some excellent photos of meteorological interest. Has some statistics to consider whether Global warming can be seen in Royston. Recommended.
Go HERE for the Paleo Perspective: in other words, looking at past climatic change to put the current apparent warming into perspective. There is a lot of information on this topic which is outside the range of GCSE or even 'A' level studies. It's important, as with any Web-based enquiry, to try to be selective and make sure the information is from a reputable source.
UEA has long had a reputation for being leaders in Climate Change research. They have a website for their CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT which has very useful resources.
Try a site which goes into details on CLIMATE CHANGE INDICATORS.
On the CLIMATE HOT MAP site, they have a world map which you can zoom in to sections of to look at the suggested impacts of changes in climate owing to Global Warming. You can also buy the map as a poster. If you zoom into the Europe area for example, it mentions the following possible effects (these can't be vouched for though...)
- decreasing number of cold days, and increasing number of hot days
- glacial ice in Caucasus declined by 50%
- toads, frogs and newts spawning 9 days earlier, and earlier leafing of oak trees
- retreat of Alpine plants up mountains in Austria
- shift in range of species of butterflies and molluscs, plus bird migrations
- intense drought and increase in fires in Mediterranean areas
There's no shortage of sites which give you the doom and gloom of climate change - from the drowning of Bangladesh to the demise of cod and chips.
DEFRA: the Government department have a GLOBAL WARMING information site.
There's also THIS useful stopping off point.
Try the obvious URL: GLOBAL WARMING
Global warming is going to cause an increase in the rate of melting of the world's glaciers. Research on Glacier melting is currently going on. One scientist doing this is Dr. Bryn Hubbard, who is researching climate change in the Swiss Alps. He is working on the Tsanfleuron Glacier, about 3000m up in the Swiss Alps. At the present time, the glacier is retreating by between 15m and 20m per year. The glacier itself is only 4-5km long, so this represents a major change in the glacier's mass balance. The glacier is about 3km wide, and flows at around 10cm per day. Dr. Hubbard is producing a mathematical model of the glacier to predict future change.
A good article on the BBC NEWS site. This is on the ice field in the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda, also known as the 'Mountains of the Moon'. This ice field was mentioned in the 2nd Century by Ptolemy, and yet it is melting fast !
There is a commercial aspect to this. As with several ski resorts in Switzerland, the resort depends on the glacier. Thousands of skiers paying up to £20 per day to ski on the glacier would have to go elsewhere as the glacier shrinks. We have already seen the closure of ski lifts in Glencoe and Glenshee, and this could be the beginning of the end for some parts of the winter tourism industry.
Thanks to colleague Mr. Nunnerley for passing on a copy of PROM magazine from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth featuring Dr. Hubbard's work.
An interesting article available HERE: AtmosFEAR: Gaia's slap. Makes some interesting points.
Try this excellent NEW SCIENTIST FAQ page, with links to loads of other articles. This is a great place to start your researches. Recommended.
An article on the BBC website discussed the need for ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES to be granted official 'refugee' status. People who move due to rising temperatures should be classed as 'environmental refugees', and they are likely to grow in number: indeed there are millions of them already. By 2050 there could be over 100 million people displaced.
Try looking at the effects of HURRICANE CATARINA. The first hurricane to occur in the South Atlantic, in March 2004.
There was also a series of programmes on the BBC during the last week of JULY 2004, along with some new web content such as animations and information and case studies. Remember not to leave your TV on standby, and watch out if you've got a power shower, they're energy munchers!
Page of links and information at SCENIC VERVE. There are some Real Audio files to download too.
Head over to WWF LEARNING to download a free CLIMATE CHAOS TEACHER INFORMATION PACK in electronic format. All schools have been offered a free pack.
Check out http://flood.firetree.net/ for some interactive maps which allow you to see the effect of raising sea level on your own home area, or other parts of the world. Some interesting effects on King's Lynn - easy and effective. Recommended...
There are some opposing views: people such as Bjorn Lomborg are a little sceptical. There is a view that over longer periods, the current warming could be seen as nothing special.
There are some changes which have been noticed. See the PHENOLOGY link here.
Apparently the seasons for some fruit and vegetables are changing. The asparagus season is starting 3 weeks earlier than usual, and strawberries are now on sale 3 months earlier than the traditional season at the end of June.
The March 2003 was the warmest for 90 years, and summer 2004 was (not surprisingly) the hottest ever.
Summer temperatures have been significantly higher than the long-term seasonal average.
Why not read this article, which is a shortening of a series of forums on WEATHER OUTLOOK.
The BBC have now started up a section on the website called HOT TOPICS, one of which is Global Warming, appropriately enough. This has an extremely useful archive of BBC News stories, plus links to all the relevant organisations, such as the IPCC. Recommended.
If you want to take part in the calculations of possible future climate change, you can now lend the spare computing power of your home PC. In a similar scheme to the SETI scheme, where the aim was to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, you can offer your spare computing time to process information on climate modelling. It has been put together by scientists from a range of places, under the instigation of Dr. Myles Allen, a research fellow at Oxford University.
The following sites have useful resources and information.
Centre for Research, Education and Training in Energy (CREATE)
Centre for Sustainable Energy has resource packs: 0117 929 9950; try their WEBSITE too.
Try the ECO SCHOOLs Scheme
Check out YOU TUBE for videos of Futurama's Global Warming episode. A great starter.
Check out the BP Secondary Education Catalogue for 2007-8: they are offering free posters and cards, and also a new online resource called CARBON CRISIS: http://www.bp.com/bpes/carboncrisis
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
This is a new Hollywood film which looks at the issue of GLOBAL WARMING. A scientist warns of a coming climate catastrophe and is (of course) ignored until it's too late. Head over to the movie of the site which is HERE. Was alerted by Noel Jenkins to a rather wonderful GREENPEACE site which has a very similar look but has an alternative take on events: .ORG extension instead...
It includes some great images, plus a movie called THE WIND by Julien Temple which is well worth watching (Quick Time format) but only with older pupils as it contains some disturbing images.
Other GLOBAL WARMING type links:
WASPS in the ARCTIC CIRCLE
ATLANTIC HURRICANES in the Southern Hemisphere (KATARINA)
DIGITAL / SATELLITE TELEVISION
VINEYARDS: new wine growing areas in places such as Belgium, Netherlands and Poland
TOURISM in EAST ANGLIA
DOLPHINS FAR FROM HOME
Species of dolphins which are normally found in the Mediterranean have been seen in the North Sea
Spotted any more ? Let us know...
“I would like to live long enough to see the effects of global warming. I’ve got an inside tip that it’s all a load of crap!”
BBC4 Series on Climate Change - February 2006 (& also on BBC2 more recently..)
Climate Chaos: Plenty of materials on the BBC WEBSITE. Useful programme on FLOODED BRITAIN looking at 'coastal realignment'.
Letter to The Guardian from R. Davis of London
"Twenty five years ago I started picking my crop of blackberries in September, but this year half were ripe enough to pick by August. Climate change may mean mass population displacement and desertification, rising sea levels and extreme weather. But you get your fruit early."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/climate-shorts.shtml - series of short films from BBC4 Series
" I care more about the colour of the gearknob on my Mercedes SLK than the amount of carbon dioxide it produces"
YOU TUBE VIDEO
Found by Ollie Bray
You Tube video - link may not be active...
CASUALTIES OF GLOBAL WARMING
I shall add here any stories relating to things which are likely to disappear or be affected by Global Warming (started the list in December 2006...)
Holly with red berries
Migration Northwards of marine creatures
Dotterels - grass is replacing moss in the Cairngorms (although I once saw one at Cley next the Sea and some friends, who'd gone to the Cairngorms hoping to see one were unlucky...)
THINGS WE'LL START SEEING
Butterflies / Dragonflies and Bumblebees in the winter months...
Hurricanes in the southern Hemisphere
They reported from Antarctica in the first week of January 2007, and reported on Climate Change and had some dramatic images
Rose in bloom in Scotland in February - thanks to Val Vannet for the image.
Also in February 2007 was the showing of Channel 4's THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE.
This has a supporting MICROSITE which has links to a range of useful resources, including a chance to see sections of the programme and also see the arguments put forward. Make sure that you can mention some of these alternative viewpoints.
Students need to be presented with a range of arguments so that they can come towards their own conclusions. I know that a few of my students have been swayed by this programme.
There was a report in the paper in May 2007 warning of the dangers of misrepresenting the data, but there is a need for teachers to present a balanced argument in this (as and all other) areas.
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