Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is Global Warming Warming Up?‏

by Knight Pierce Hirst

Nearly half of the fish that is eaten globally depends on coral reefs for feeding and spawning, but the reefs are dying. Coral reefs are a vital source of food, medicine and livelihood for hundreds of millions of people worldwide; but at least 19% of the world's reefs are already gone and another 15% could die within 20 years.

Global warming, pollution, coastal development, bottom-dragging fishing boats and international trade in coral jewelry are killing it. According to the 2010 Global Marine Species Assessment, all coral could be extinct in 100 years if those killing coral aren't "corralled".

Global warming seems to be making allergies worse. Warming seasons across the U.S. are longer and cooling seasons are shorter. Not only are plants producing more pollen because of longer growing seasons, but also because of increased carbon dioxide in the air.

Based on pollen scores, allergy medicine use per patient and board-certified allergists per patient, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America determined that Knoxville is the country's allergy capital for 2010. Of course, Louisville, Chattanooga, Dayton and Charlotte - which came in second, third, fourth and fifth respectively - don't have numbers to sneeze at.

Faster growing trees are another result of global warming. When the trees at the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center outside Washington, D.C. were measured in 2010, the forest was increasing 2 extra tons per acre per year - up to double the usual growth rate for some trees. This is attributed to global warming - to the average temperature increasing three-tenths a degree Celsius in 23 years, a week-longer growing season and an increase of 12% in the carbon dioxide level. Because similar increases in tree growth rate have been seen worldwide, I guess it's not caused by hot air coming from the United States Congress.

Finally, Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana lost 2 more glaciers in 2010 because of global warming. In 1910 when the 1.4 million acres of wilderness became the 10th U.S. national park, there were 150 glaciers. Now there are only 25; and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, many of those could be gone by 2020.

In recent years glacier melting has increased as global temperatures have increased. In the past 100 years the park's mean summer temperature has gone up approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer temperatures shrink the rivers of ice until they stop. It's another type of man-made meltdown.

Knight Pierce Hirst has written for television, newspapers and greeting cards. Now she writes a 400-word blog three times a week. KNIGHT WATCH, a second look at what makes life interesting, takes only seconds to read at

No comments:

Post a Comment