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Jan Hollan: The consequences of warming and why we have to protect the climate

On Tuesday, September 6th, the Chamber of Deputies agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement (as the Senate had already done in April). And the Brno Assembly approved the accession to the Covenant of Mayors in the field of climate and energy. The signatories undertake to "reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and adopt an integrated approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation". They are important, encouraging news, but they are overwhelming.

The northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico flooded at the end of August with unprecedented total precipitation of Hurricane Harvey . The wind was not recordable, but it was slowing down on the mainland, but it slowed down so much that in a few days it came even over a meter of water. Caribbean islands have ravaged Hurricane Irma with the strongest wind ever reaching the mainland from the Atlantic. Destruction was caused by wind around his eye, with an average speed of up to 300 km / h, or else a large rise in water where a long gauge led to a giant air whirl with a radius of up to 300 km. Florida, already weakened by the Cuban mainland, has ravaged less, but due to twice even bigger radius, both water from the sea and large rainfall. Now, despite some of the Caribbean sounds just a slightly weaker hurricane, Maria , with full force struck Dominica Island, a little smaller in Puerto Rico.

How do hurricanes, or tropical cyclones work? They are actually gigantic "heat machines" powered by heat-generating condensing water vapor . The heat comes from the ocean, which is cooled by the vapor. When it is very warm to depths of up to a hundred meters, the hurricane can reach the highest intensity. However, he has to wander over such hot areas so that he is still "fed" by steam from still unboiled water.

Unfortunately, so hot water is now more common with global warming. And their temperatures reach record values. It is no wonder that even tropical cyclones are developing into record power. And although they do not have the right path to amplify, the unusually devastating collisions can be caused by anomalously high temperatures. Still worse were monsoon rain in Nepal, India and Bangladesh this year.

Earth warming caused by added greenhouse gases, mainly fossil-dioxide carbon dioxide, has many other consequences. We designate them as "climate change" . The vast majority of the consequences are damaging. Why? It's not hard to understand. The most important natural resource is ... a stable climate. Such as the world's ten thousand years, although with regional fluctuations. It also included hurricanes, floods and droughts. People have got used to managing such events falling within the usual range. Now there are extremes beyond the former range. And no doubt they will grow further.

The guilt is exclusively humanity whose emissions intensify the greenhouse effect. Natural bursts of warming, namely the loss of large volcanic eruptions emitting sulfur oxides and the increasing power of the Sun, were the last to be applied in the first half of the 20th century, since then their trend is the opposite. The fact that some people still doubt the decisive influence of the growing greenhouse effect may be that they do not really know it. The greenhouse phenomenon (see box) is very powerful, "twice as strong as the sun" . We have "made it " a little bit stronger. And as we do not, but we know by measuring ocean depths, Earth is now not returning into space for 400,000 GW of what it receives from the sun. This is hard to imagine, but if we divide it with the size of the Earth's surface, then the result is simple: it is almost 1 W / m2. At such a pace the revived Earth would never heat up, except for short-term episodes of recovery after massive volcanic eruptions. About a year at the end of the Palaeolithic , at the time of the massive extinction then also caused by fossil fuel emissions. At that time, however, they were burned by hot magma penetrating between the coal seams in today's Siberia.

The world agreed in Paris in December 2015 that he wishes to stop warming as soon as possible so that the planet does not warm up more than another half a degree Celsius (one degree we have already had ...). Each state has offered its contribution to this goal. Yes, the contributions are inadequate. But to balance the anthropogenic flow of carbon into the air, it has fallen faster and has fallen to zero in the mid-century, and this requires the occupation and deployment of the people of those states. The media can help if they are informed about climate change ... according to solid sources.

The essence of the greenhouse effect is a much higher air transmittance for solar radiation *, which is radiation of wavelengths predominantly less than 3 μm than for the radiation of the Earth's surface and the air itself with wavelengths above 3 μm. This is absorbed and emitted by key atmospheric dopants, the molecules of which are made up of more than two atoms - greenhouse gases. Greenhouse effect = the phenomenon that the atmosphere of the planet also radiates on the surface of the planet. The radiation of the Earth's downstream air is great, with a square foot of surface impacting this infrared radiation on average a third kilowatt. Sunlight gains Earth's surface twice as much.
* radiation = emission of radiation due to body temperature

Author: Jan Hollan, CzechGlobe, Institute for Global Change Research, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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