Dr. Richard W. Smith on Climate Change | Politics Matters
Host William Parris invites Organic Geochemist Dr. Richard W. Smith to set of Legitimate Matters to discuss the current state of the earth’s oceans in relation to global warming and climate change. How important is climate change and why should you care? How has our environment changed from the past to the present? To what degree will hurricanes and tornadoes increase in size, intensity and frequency? Are coastlines in danger of becoming immersed under water? Is New York City at risk of becoming uninhabitable?
FEMA’s newest four-year strategic plan to prepare for natural weather disasters completely omits any mention of climate change, global warming, or rising sea levels and temperatures. Is climate change really a debate? 2017 was the costliest hurricane season in U.S. history. If FEMA can’t properly recognize the causes of these threats, how can we ever expect our government to prevent and respond to them?
How does the ocean gage climate change?
Through constant interactions with the atmosphere, the ocean plays a major role in earth’s climate. As the planet temperature increases, the ocean stores most of the energy it receives. It is possible to quantify and follow the extent of global warming by measuring the extent to which heat is stored by the ocean.
The Earth receives energy from planetary radiation. While the Earth holds part of this energy, the remainder is redirected into the atmosphere. Rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the sky causes a buildup of heat within the climate system.
The ocean absorbs over 90% of excess heat accumulated in the climate system and gets warmer. It is a crucial regulation role, but the quantity of heat accumulated now has consequences on sea level evolution, temperature increase or ice
The quantity of energy stored in the ocean is estimated by analyzing the thermal content of oceans. The temperature of ocean surface water is measured with sensors attached to satellites. The data is inserted into models*, which quantifies the thermal content of oceans over the entire water column.
According to estimations, oceans store up to the equivalent of 10 times the quantity of energy consumed by mankind over the same period.
It is more reliable to monitor the evolution of this quantity of energy than to observe surface temperatures. The latter are particularly sensitive to local vertical redistribution mechanisms and are not necessarily representative of global warming.
In the future, it is crucial to have better knowledge and accurate monitoring of the quantity of heat captured by the ocean to improve scientific knowledge on changes in the climate system, climate predictions and to analyze the impact of climate change mitigation policies.
Climate change is an extremely dangerous threat to our country. We’ve seen the horrible effects of weather disasters firsthand: We’ve lost friends, family and neighbors; we’ve lost businesses, homes and communities. And we’ll lose even more if we aren’t ready for ever-worsening catastrophic weather.
Host William Parris and Dr. Richard Smith discuss scientific evidence about climate change and worse case, realistic scenarios.