Could the Greenhouse Effect Cause More Damage?


John Harte is an ecologist from the University of California at
Berkley. He is trying to find out whether heat stimulates further trace-gas
from solid or not. He is going to conduct an experiment that will tell him if
the greenhouse effect could start a cycle that would cause the effects to be
worse than already predicted. The experiment will begin December of 1996 and
will run for no less than three years.
Harte has stretched a twelve foot high grid of cables above 300 square
yards of land in a high mountain meadow in the middle of the Colorado Rockies.
The cables are supported by four steel towers, one at each corner of the grid.
Hanging down from the cables are ten infrared heat lamps which are about three
feet long each. This is supposed to simulate what many see as the coming
apocalypse. (global warming) "By 2050, if we decide to load trace gasses -
mainly carbon dioxide - into the atmosphere at our current rate, we can expect
Earth\'s temperature to increase by any-where from three to nine degrees. The
Vostok record confirms that," says Harte.
The grid is divided into ten sections. Each of the ten sections covers
thirty square yards of the meadow. The infarared lamps will heat every other
section by 2.5 degrees. The unheated sections in between allow researchers to
compare the efects of the lamps with the regular state of the meadow.
One time a week, Harte will take gas samples from buckets turned upside
down for ten minutes at a time on both the heated and unheated strips through
fitted nipples at the bottoms of the buckets by syringes, then analyze them
with a gas chromatograph. "We\'ll be able to plot any changes in the meadow
very precisely," says Harte.
Some of these changes could alter the very make-up of the seasons. With a
2.5 degree rise in temperature, snow at high elevations might melt up to two
months sooner. In Colorado that would constitute March as May. As a result,
the soil will dry quicker and will be much warmer than usual when May rolls
around. John Harte says it would be like expanding summer at the expense of
winter.
That means plants that usually start to bloom just as the snow begins to
melt will bloom sooner then the pollinators of those plants can get to them.
That would be harmful to both of the species involved. Harte says that this
project should confirm that people don\'t have any time to waste when it comes to
saving this disaster from happening.
In three years, Harte and other researchers will be able to tell whether
or not Global Warming will be the next apocalypse. This apparently is a serious
issue to many environmentalists and ecologists. A lot of time, money, and
effort is being put into this. If this experiment ends up warning us about
what may happen if people keep polluting the atmosphere with certain gasses,
Harte and other researchers working on this project will be commended.

Category: Social Issues