By David Rixham
WORCESTER – If there was any doubt to the theory of global warming, Dr. Tim Cook of Worcester State University silenced the critics in what was the perfect introduction to climate science.
Cook’s presentation, titled “Climate Science 101”, detailed the basics behind global warming. He captivated the small audience of 20 with his knowledge of the situation, along with several graphics to back up his information.
As a passionate fan of climate science, I am still blown away by the increasing number of facts that are presented in speeches like this one. Although I knew most of the material that was being discussed, the audience seemingly could not believe the information that was being conveyed.
Cook began his presentation with information conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to NOAA, 2014 is set to be the warmest year on record. Members of the audience recalled the harsh winter that the Northeast faced earlier this year, to which Cook said, “The weather we experience and weather that we live in often takes away from the bigger picture of the globe.”
Cook explains that greenhouse gases and the resulting greenhouse effect are major contributing factors behind global warming.
“Greenhouse gases are vital to our world,” says Cook, “but humans are impacting the greenhouse effect…the energy the sun provides Earth wants to be kicked back out into space, but is instead held in by greenhouse gases.”
Cook continued his speech by showing the crowd the global temperature increase over the last 120 years. The video indicated that global temperatures remained relatively normal from 1884 through 1989. However, as the 90s began, average global temperature skyrocketed to three degrees above average.
“Carbon dioxide is not the only pollutant,” Cook says. “Sunlight was being blocked by more soot and ash, and the Clean Air Act of 1970 allowed more of the energy from the sun in, allowing temperatures to rise.”
Predictions say that at this rate, by 2100, global temperatures could increase by as much as six degrees Fahrenheit. This increase would make way for more diseases to be spread, storms to become more powerful, droughts to be hotter and last longer, and the potential for the sea level to rise by nearly three feet, flooding cities like Boston, New Orleans and Los Angeles and nearly wiping the entire state of Florida off the map.
“Where we are going to be in 50 years is based on the decisions we make and the policies we enact,” said Cook.
According to studies, Cook says that by the end of the century New Hampshire’s climate will be similar to that of current-day North Carolina; That New York can expect a climate like present-day Florida, and Massachusetts will feel like present-day South Carolina.
Cook believes in a call for action. Although he did not go into great detail about the vast amount of ways a person could help, he did offer keen insight to his audience allowing them to see what the world may be like if something drastic doesn’t happen soon.