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High School Science Proves Climate Change

Here’s a new perspective for us determine which scientists are right: high school science.

Let’s bring up the carbon cycle. Through photosynthesis, the electromagnetic energy of the sun is turned into high energy organic molecules of plants. In the normal carbon cycle, the energy of these molecules is released back into the world as heat through decomposition, often within a year’s time. But millions of years ago, there was an aberration to this cycle. A lot of these organic compounds were covered by sediment, effectively trapping the sun’s energy of that era. Today we are releasing this energy through the burning of fossil fuels.

Imagine a box about one meter by one meter by one meter. Nothing can get in or out of this closed system. Let’s conduct an experiment with is a lump of coal in this box. The rest of the box is filled with air. Let’s ignite the coal to completely combust it to water and carbon dioxide, thus using up some oxygen. Combustion produces heat. Since this heat has nowhere else to go, the temperature inside the box increases. If this experiment is to be extrapolated to the world, then our conclusion should be that if we burn coal or petroleum, the temperature is going to increase—just as the temperature of the box increased.

Let’s talk about convection. Convection is when bodies of liquids or gases move relative to each other because of a temperature difference. If a body of air near a warm surface increases its temperature, its density decreases. It will want to rise relative to the denser cold air above it. Given enough heat and time, eventually the warm air will move past the cold air. The cold air then moves to the surface to gain more heat for itself. In time, this air will warm up and it too will move upwards. This is convection.

We can see convection at work in our high school labs. If we place water in a beaker, the water is at the same temperature. To our eye, it looks still and unmoving. But put that beaker over a Bunsen burner and squint closely at the bottom of the beaker. As the bottom water heats up, we can see it swirling around, wanting to move somewhere. Convection is starting.

So if we are releasing our sun’s energy of millions of years ago into our atmosphere today, should we not expect higher temperatures, which then results in more convection? Are not hurricanes and tornados and other severe storms are nothing but nature’s chaotic way of using convection to equalize temperatures?

And here’s another scientific fact from high school. Warmer air carries more moisture. We should expect more water movement in the air as well. But if the air is warmer, it takes even a colder temperature to get it to drop its moisture. So water in the air will drop out in different geographical areas than it used to. Some areas will be dryer; some will be wetter. In other words, changing climate patterns are almost guaranteed if we just apply high school science.

If our academic abilities are limited just to our high school science, then we have to accept that global warming and climate change should be expected from the burning of fossil fuels. I wonder if climate change deniers can use high school science to make their claim.

Published on Writerbeat 2017

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