Label: Climate Change

February 20, 2014

I had multiple comments from Shanghai students today asking me about rising sea levels. It appears that you have been assigned a report on this topic and are asking me to explain it for you. Unfortunately, I can’t do your homework for you, and if every student wrote to me every night about a topic they needed to learn about, I would spend all my time answering their questions and would not have any time to write books! However, you can use my website to help with your research on future assignments. One way is to look at the yellow bar called "Labels" (on the left hand side of every blog page). If you click on any of those topics, it will take you to a list of previous articles that I have written about the topic. You can also type a key word (for example: "sea level") in the Search box which is at the top of every page on my website, and you may find useful articles that way.

Since you are all asking about a topic that many students wonder about, I am going to make an exception to my rule and write about this important topic today. As the temperature of the Earth warms and the polar ice melts, our sea level is rising worldwide. Over the past 20 years our oceans have been rising by about 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, which is about twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years. 

The reason this is increasing so much more quickly is that for the past 100 years our use of fossil fuels and other human activities have released enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These emissions have caused the Earth’s surface temperature to rise, and the oceans absorb about 80 percent of this additional heat. 

This is causing previously unknown levels of flooding in coastal cities. From the many monsoons which flood Chittagong in Bangladesh, to the effects of cyclone Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, to the millions of people affected by flooding from Hurricane Sandy in New York City, people in coastal cities and villages worldwide are experiencing the real effect of global warming on rising sea levels.

I have written quite a bit about global warming on this blog. Check the label "global warming" to learn more about this important topic.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Oceans, Global Warming   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 7, 2014

We’ve all seen many photographs from the record-shattering cold that has gripped the United States and Canada this week, but I particularly like this one. It shows Lake Michigan frozen solid, with the Chicago skyline in the background. 

 



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 1, 2012

I received a letter recently from Susan Hall, the Media Specialist at the National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) School in Ohio. Ms. Hall wrote:


 

 

 

As a 5-8th grade school, we are using your book GLOBAL WARMING in a summer Cyber e-reading program, paired with a fiction book titled FIRST LIGHT by Rebecca Stead, which also deals with global warming. Our very curious learners are enthusiastic about your book and have some questions for you!

 

 

 


What a good idea to study this topic through both fictional and nonfiction texts! So, I’ve agreed to answer four questions from Ms. Hall’s summer students here on my blog. I hope that other readers will find this interesting, as well.

Why do so many people think global warming is a government conspiracy? (Andrew)

It is difficult to answer this question because no one really knows why people’s opinions are so diverse. The only thing that I can really answer is why I think that global warming is REAL and NOT a conspiracy. I think global warming is really happening because the overwhelming evidence of countless studies is that global warming does exist and that it is influenced by human activities. Just because a certain percentage of people believe that there is a government conspiracy is not evidence that there is one. For example, some people believe that humans and dinosaurs lived on Earth at the same time despite the fact that all the evidence points to the fact that dinosaurs became extinct tens of millions of years before humans appeared. 

How could we simulate the earth’s atmosphere to study and test the effects of global warming? (Daniel)

Setting up a computer simulation to track complex climate changes is very difficult. Yet the ones that have been done all seem to suggest that global warming is real and happening very quickly. 

What change in energy use would most dramatically slow down global warming? (Camryn)

Becoming more energy efficient is the single most important change we can help to bring about. The largest single source of greenhouse gases is electric power generation. The average home contributes more to global warming that an average car. That’s because much of the energy comes from power plants that burn fossil fuel to make electricity. So the less electricity we use, the more we are helping cut down on the use of fossil fuels. 

Is it possible to reverse global warming? (Miriam)

Many scientists think that it’s possible to slow it down rather than just reversing the process. Either way, it’s to all our advantage if we conserve energy to reduce our use of fossil fuels. 

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Teachers and Librarians, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 11, 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday, where every week there is a new opportunity to publish your creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to read an excerpt from Seymour Simon’s book GLOBAL WARMING, research your own facts and explain in your own words the point that he is making.

 


From GLOBAL WARMING, by Seymour Simon:

     Global warming has changed the feeding patterns and behaviors of polar bears, walruses, seals and whales. It may even impact their surval.

     Polar bears live only in the Arctic. They are completely dependent on the sea ice for all their life needs. In the winter, females give birth to cubs. The mother polar bear eats little or no food during the winter.

     As spring approaches, the bear family makes a run onto the sea ice to feed on seals, their main source of food. If the ice melts, their food supply will be cut off and this will impact their survival.

 


Your assignment: Can you find facts to support what Seymour Simon is saying on this page? Use other books in your library, articles about global warming from Seymour’s blog, or other Internet sources to learn about the melting of the Arctic ice. Write a few paragraphs that use your own words and information that you have found to either argue for or against the idea that the survival of polar bears is threatened by the melting of the Arctic ice.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing!

 


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Writing Anchor Standard #1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(19) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Climate Change, Global Warming, Conservation, Common Core, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 16, 2011

Today’s story is part of our ongoing EARTH WEEK coverage.

  One of the things people wonder about after the very harsh winter we had this year is how we can have global warming when it seems to be snowier and colder than ever.

 That’s because there is a difference between the daily weather vs. the climate where you live. You get your daily weather forecast on TV or on the Internet. It tells you the expected high and low temperatures of the day and whether it’s going to rain or snow. Weather is a combination of all these things and more.

So how is weather different from climate? Climate is what the weather is most often like over long periods of times. The Northeastern United States and the upper Midwest will be cold and probably snowy in the winter because that’s been the climate pattern for many years. Weather can tell you if you need to wear boots that day because of the snow prediction. Climate tells you when and where it’s best to take a swimming vacation on a beach. Climate tells you what clothes to keep in your closet because you might need them during the year, but weather tells you what clothes to wear that day.

Most scientists are convinced that there is global warming and that they have the facts to back that up. The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO started keeping instrumental climate records in 1850, and eight of the hottest 10 years since then occurred in the year 2000 and beyond. Scientists expect a 3.5° F increase in average global temperatures by the year 2100, resulting in the warmest temperatures in the past million years. 

 

 

 

The last two decades of the twentieth century were the hottest decades in more than 400 years and may have been the hottest decades for several thousand years.

Records show that over the last century, Earth’s average climate had warmed in all seasons and in most regions. A single season or even a year in one region of the world is not a trend in global climate. Global warming refers to a long-term average over our entire planet.

 

 

 

 

The fact is that after 1961, many glaciers over the world have lost hundreds of cubic miles of ice. Most scientists believe that rising temperatures are the most important factor behind the retreat of glaciers. In Greenland, a NASA satellite shows that the ice sheet is shrinking and disappearing. Glaciers are moving into the ocean faster each year and more and more glaciers are being affected. In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was covered by 150 glaciers-today there are fewer than 30.

 

There’s no doubt about it, the earth is warming up.

 

 

Winter Wetlands Photo: Seymour Simon

Map Image courtesy geni.org

Upsala glacier photo: Gary Braasch

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

February 4, 2011

Kids all across America have had plenty of snow days this winter, with a series record-setting snowstorms that started back in December. Today, even kids from Texas to the Carolinas are having a snow day.

It sounds like a good time to settle in, make yourself a cup of cocoa, and browse Seymour’s online Science Dictionary. You can start with the entry for SNOWFLAKE!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Climate Change, Cool Photo, Weather, Science Dictionary, Winter, climate   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 14, 2010

Seymour wears shirt

I am wearing my favorite shirt today - a drawing of planet Earth with a "Saving" status bar below, registering about 30%. Saving Earth is something I find myself thinking about nearly every day…..especially when I read the news and see how many of the predictions of the consequences of global warming are coming to pass.

2010 has been a year of weather extremes - huge snowfalls in places that normally don’t get much snow at all, a deadly heat wave this summer in Russia leading to fires that killed 700 people per day, and unprecedented flooding in Pakistan that has affected 21 million people (1-out-of-8 Pakistanis), leaving at least 6 million people homeless and an area the size of Italy underwater.

Scientists say that the devastating floods in Pakistan and Russia’s heatwave were both the kind of extremes caused by global warming. We don’t know enough to blame manmade pollution and the greenhouse effect for directly causing any single, specific weather disaster, but we are certainly seeing an escalating pattern of climate extremes that are most likely part of a change in Earth’s climate, caused by global warming.

How is it that we get both extreme drought and extreme precipitation, even huge amounts of snow, when temperatures are increasing? The reasons that droughts are getting worse is pretty obvious for areas that generally have little rainfall - when the temperature gets hotter, drought conditions get even worse. But extreme rain and snow? Well, there is a physical law (it’s called the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, for those of you who want to look it up!) which established that the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by about 7% for every 1°C rise in temperature. Because precipitation comes mainly from weather systems that feed on the water vapor stored in the atmosphere, this has generally increased precipitation intensity and the risk of heavy rain and snow events. 

  Timor Coral Reef

2010 has also been a very bad year for our planet’s coral reefs. Mark Eakin, coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch, said high ocean temperatures in 2010 are causing corals to whiten, or bleach. "Major bleaching started in the Central Pacific in the early part of this year, then there was bleaching in the Indian Ocean and especially Southeast Asia throughout May and June. And now the big concern is that we may be seeing the worst bleaching ever in the Caribbean, later this year." According to NOAA, this thermal stress to corals is the highest it has been since 1998, when 15% of the world’s coral reefs died.

I am about to begin work on a book about coral reefs, which are some of the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth. Coral reefs are a source of food for millions of people, protect coastlines from storms and erosion; provide habitat for thousands of fish species, and provide many human jobs in both the fishing and tourism industries. In a nutshell, no reefs, no fish. Not...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Climate Change, Coral Reefs, Global Warming, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 5, 2010

Alana G. is ten years old, a great friend of Earth, and is working with us this summer to report on her activities as an environmentalist in her own community. Here is her most recent report.

- Seymour


Hello fellow Shipmates,

            I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. I wish I could stop the clock or at least add more hours to my day because I have so much more crusading that I would like to do before the summer ends. But that’s okay, I will just continue to parade up and down the streets of Southern California, spreading our message, fighting pollution and battling Planet Poachers with our friends from "KIDS TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW" for as long as I can. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine asked me last week "With Summer coming to an end do you feel sad that your KTFBT group will be over?" Hmm… I paused for a moment to think about it and then I said "No! Who ever said that my crusade would have to be over?" grin I sure didn’t. The way I see it is, my journey has just begun. This world is humungous. Bigger then we can ever imagine and with change happening everyday there will always be a poor little animal to defend, an ocean to protect and eco systems all over the world that will need our help to save them and it all starts at home with each and every one of us.

            There are little changes that we can make in our daily lives that can have a huge impact on the world around us. And just like you, I want to learn as much as I can to make sure that I am living a sustainable life or in other words, a planet friendly life. Like Seymour has mentioned to us all before, if we all do our best at lowering our carbon footprints we can help slow down the greenhouse effect that is causing the Earth’s climate change. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry; I’m sure Seymour will come to our rescue. (Seymour…can you help a kiddo out please?)* I learned all about climate change (well, not all but a lot) because I’ve always wondered about it and what all fuss was about when I heard my parents or the news talking about "Global Warming." My mom tried to explain it to me and I also did some research on the Internet and then I kind of understood what is going on but not enough to feel confident enough to explain it to someone else which really bugged me. I always try to learn things well enough where I feel comfortable telling someone else…like you…what it is I am trying to explain.

 

Well, then I met Seymour Simon and now I know to never fear…Seymour’s here. wink Seymour was kind enough to send me a copy of his book called "Global Warming." It is a great book because it is easy for us kids to understand but still tells us everything we need to know. Like, did you know that Polar bears live in the Artic and depend of the sea ice to live? Well, because of climate change the sea ice is disappearing right before our very eyes. They ice and glaciers are melting. :-( It is sooo sad. And if the ice melts it adds water to the oceans which...

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Posted by: Alana G

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Environment, Greenhouse Gases   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 28, 2010

             

While working on the Teacher Guide for Seymour’s upcoming book, TROPICAL RAINFORESTS, we came across this US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data on the effects of deforestation on average surface temperatures. Two 100-year simulations were carried out with CFS (Climate Forecasting System): 1) a current climate control simulation {CONTROL} and 2) a deforestation simulation {DEFOREST} in which tropical rainforest in the Amazon region was replaced with perennial ground cover.

 

The results suggest that the impact of Amazon deforestation would be a warmer and drier Amazon, as well as a warmer tropical Pacific and tropical North Atlantic, with the caveat that CFS is not specifically designed for long climate change simulations.

If you are interested in more detail about this study and others like it, you can find it here: Climate Test Bed Joint Seminar Series.

Deforestation and other words related to life in the Tropical Rainforest, such as Canopy, Emergent Layer, Epiphyte and Understory, are all defined for children in Seymour’s online Science Dictionary. As each new book comes out, we will be adding all relevant terms, with images, to this digital information source for kids. This is all free content, so please introduce it to any children you know who are interested in learning more about the amazing world around them.

 

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Tropical Rainforests   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 5, 2010

             

A few weeks ago we were so pleased to report here that the Eco-Libris blog had named Seymour’s GLOBAL WARMING book the "green book of the week."

 

Today we received a note from the reviewer, Raz Godelnik, who is doing valuable work on behalf of the environment at Eco-Libris.

 

He wrote: As you will see, our mission is to green the book industry and make reading more sustainable and we hope to make it happen sooner than later! One of our main activities is a tree planting program, where we work with readers, publishers and authors to plant trees in developing countries for the books they read, publish or write. So far we have planted with our planting partners around 150,000 trees! You’re welcome to see some of the planting activity on our planting gallery.

 

I took his suggestion and learned a lot on the Eco-Libris website. For one thing, more than 30-million trees are cut down annually for virgin paper used for the production of books sold in the U.S. alone.  That is sobering.

 

Eco-Libris has come up with a very simple idea to enable those of us who are readers (and therefore big consumers of books) to do something simple and affordable that will have an impact: plant one tree for every book we read. They see it as a way of taking responsibility for the environmental impact of the books we read.

 

This is a big idea. Here is how it works:

 

You go to the website and make a commitment to plant 10 trees every month, for a cost of $10 per month. Eco-Libris has carefully selected qualified planting partners in Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Malawi – places where planting trees will not only benefit the environment but also the local community – and they will plant the trees.

 

You willl receive stickers like this one (printed on recycled paper) for every tree that you plant, affixing them to your books to demonstrate your commitment to the environment.

 

I’m not only signing up to support Eco-Libris myself, I’m going to give a gift subscription to my college student, who as a History/Literature major, will be very happy to start to balance out the environmental impact of all those books!  What a great idea. A simple, elegant way to make a difference.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Conservation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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