Label: Global Warming

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, Global Warming, Oceans   •  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 12, 2012

Each one of us has a Carbon Footprint. That means that we can each figure out how much CO2 (carbon dioxide - a bad greenhouse gas) is created by the choices we make every day. How we travel, how we use electricity, how we dispose of our garbe, even what we eat adds to CO2 emissions.

Are you wondering what your carbon footprint is? Click here to use the Zero Footprint Kids’ Calculator, where you can find out your number. And as you answer the questions, you will learn a lot about the choices you can make to do better.

Ready? Set? Click and calculate!

 

 















Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. So get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  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 30, 2011

I am so proud of all of you who wrote to me in response to Earth Day! Today, the last day of April, we posted almost 300 promises that you have made to Earth Day’s BILLION ACTS OF GREEN website. Seymour Science readers have really stepped up to make a difference! I feel sure that you will all work hard to continue caring for our planet Earth every day.

As promised, we are publishing everyone’s writing about why they care about Earth Day. This list is alphabetical, so find your name and show your writing to your families, your teachers, your librarians and your friends. You are part of an important cause, and each of you deserves to be very proud of what you’ve done. 


 

       

Alana:   

Dear Mr. Simon, My carbon footprint was very surprising to me. To know how large of a footprint I am leaving is mind blowing. My carbon foot is 19.9. I have a fairly large family. I have 5 people in my family. To reduce my carbon footprint I could turn off the T.V. when I am not watching it. Also, I could reduce the amount of time I use the T.V. Another thing I could do is buy a reusable water bottle. I could also eat less fast food.  Sincerely, Alana

 

 

 

Alana B.:           

  I am going to celebrate Earth month 2011 by doing many good things for the Earth. A few things that I will do is cleaning up the nearby creeks and roads. Also, I will make the people that surround me aware of the Earth and how much we need to help it.

 

 

Alex:           

I love trees and that’s why I don’t waste paper so I recycle and encourage others to care about are world like a mother would care for her newborn. We can all do this together so join me!

 

 

Alyssa:                       

  Hey Seymour Simon!  Our class is recycling all of our paper to help the environment!!!!!!!! Our class is going green!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Amanda:

  I am going to help my neighbors recycle (pick up) stray trash on the streets and our community!  Earth Day is everyday! ALWAYS RECYCLE!

 

 

 

Amber:                       

  Me and my mom grow our own food like fruits and vegetables. Maybe I could start a garden at my dad’s too and that is how I will help the earth.

 

 

Amelia P.:           

  Hey Seymour Simon! Our class (Ms.Wolf’s class.) is going green! We are recycling all of our old papers! Your butterfly garden is really cool!

 

 

Andrew H.:           

  Dear Seymour Simon, 
My name is Andrew and I am a student at Churchville Elementary. My carbon footprint was 16.25. I am not too proud about that so I’ve been trying to lessen that score by walking more to "baseball practice" or my friend’s house. I also am only washing my clothes when I need to. My new wash day is Friday instead of ever other day. I also bought an aluminum bottle for water. I thank you for this opportunity to write back to you. Sincerely, Andrew

Andy:

  My Earth Day Pledge is that I will never ever litter,

and not use too much electricity. 

 

 

Andy:

  Here’s my idea to save the earth: when you’re done with electric appliances, turn...read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2011, Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011

 

 

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day. Many special events happened on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and Seymour Simon was invited to speak to the crowd about what was then his new book, GLOBAL WARMING. The speech is a classic statement of his beliefs about teaching, and our roles, both collectively and individually, as shipmates on planet Earth. We are reprinting it here today as part of our Earth Day commemoration. If it moves you, please click the yellow "Share/Send page" button at the top of this page.


There is a Native American proverb that powers and informs the reasons and ideals of our approach to the problems of climate change and global warming. The proverb is one you may have seen before:

 

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents;

it was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors;

we borrow it from our Children.

 

I was a teacher in the New York City School System for nearly 25 years. I’ve written over 250 books for children about animals and the wonders of Earth and Space. Each year, I speak to thousands and thousands of children in schools in all parts of the country, in the South to the North, from East to West. I tell them about butterflies and polar bears, I talk to them about lightning and tornadoes; I take them on a journey from Earth to the ends of the universe using the words and images in my books. I’ve written books about nearly every science and nature subject you can imagine.

The Earth is so big and the subject is so vast, that you might think that kids get overwhelmed. "What does all this mean to me?" you might think that they respond. Well, you might be surprised at what they really do say. Here’s what many of them ask me: "Where do I fit in? What’s my place in the universe? What is it all about? And what about me?"

That’s what inspired me to write my book GLOBAL WARMING. This is a book for kids and their families. It tells what’s happening in the world of climate change and it tells how those changes affect all of us. Then the book tells what kids and their families might do to make changes in their own and their family’s lives that affect everybody on Earth.

Knowledge empowers people with our most powerful tool: The ability to think and decide. There is no power for change greater than a child discovering what he or she cares about.

Seymour Simon

April 22, 2010 / Washington, DC 


What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are doing. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Simon, Earth Day 2011, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 20, 2011

1. WATER: USE IT, DON’T ABUSE IT.

a)   I don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Water from the tap is just fine, and I don’t want to put more non-biodegradable plastic into landfills.

b)   I turn off the water until after I’ve finished brushing my teeth, and wash all the dishes in one sinkful of soapy water, rather than running water the whole time I’m washing the dishes.

c)   I have cut my soda consumption down by more than half. I like water better, anyway.

 

2. ELECTRICITY: BEING SMART ABOUT THE POWER THAT I USE.

a) I have replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent bulbs.

b) We are using less energy by keeping our house two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter.

c) I unplug appliances when they are not in use for long periods of time. If they’re plugged and even when they are not turned on, they still consume electricity.

 

3. TRANSPORTATION: CONSERVING ON THE ROAD.

a) I walk or bike rather than be driven whenever I can, and try to combine errands into one trip.

b) I am writing to my local government to ask them to design car-free zones and parks that would let people get places by walking, cycling, or driving those cute, tiny electric vehicles.

c) Next time my family buys a car, we want to pick a model that gets good gas mileage, and therefore uses less fuel.

 

4. FOOD: THINKING ABOUT THE COST OF WHAT I EAT

a) I don’t like vegetables, so I just don’t eat any. You’re not responsible for greenhouse gases generated by growing food that you don’t eat!

b) I only buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season so they are not flown in from tropical climates. And I try to buy produce that is grown locally, which further reduces the carbon footprint.

c) Our family has "meatless Monday" every week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS

1.   While all these things help, "c" is the best answer. The main ingredient of soft drinks is water - so the big soda companies use massive amounts of water on a global basis. And, cutting down on soda consumption is good for your body, too!

 

2.   "b" is the best answer. Electric power generation is a big source of greenhouse gases - the average home contributes more to global warming than the average car. The worst appliances are air conditioners, which use up to 1/6th of the electricity in the U.S.

 

3.   All good answers, but "c" is the most important thing all Americans can do. By using existing technology to produce vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas and emit less carbon dioxide pollution, Americans can save billions of dollars, reduce global warming pollution, and slash our dependence on oil.

 

4.   You may be surprised to learn that the most effective choice is "c". Raising animals for food generates more emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined. And for all of you who answered "a"....eat your vegetables, they’re good for you!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Conservation, Carbon Footprint, Earth Day 2011   •  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

January 11, 2011

           

Is there a glass of milk sitting on the table as you read this over breakfast? Bet you didn’t know that the production of milk is one of the big offenders in the creation of damaging greenhouse gases.  How are dairy farmers are working to improve this situation? By reducing cow burps!

That’s right. Half of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each gallon of milk take the form of methane gas, which is released both when cows burp and when they produce manure (that is, when they poop). And it’s not just a problem here. A British study found that methane emissions from gassy cows are responsible for 4% of the U.K.‘s total greenhouse gas emissions. A 2006 United Nations study found that cows produce a staggering 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions — more than planes, trains and automobiles combined.

Can burping cows really be responsible for all this? When cows digest their food, stomach bacteria produce methane, an ozone-forming gas considered 23 times worse than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere. "A lot of people think this gas is coming from the rear end," explains Nancy Hirshberg of Stoneyfield Farms in Highgate, Vt. "Ninety-five percent is actually from the front end, from the burps." Stoneyfield Farms is one of the many dairy producers who are working to develop new kinds of feeds that will help cows digest their food better, as well as constructing machines called methane digesters, which convert the bad methane gas to usable biogas.

Some families have one meat-free and dairy-free meal every week to help this problem of burping cows!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Global Warming, Cool Photo, Greenhouse Gases   •  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...

read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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