Could The Greenhouse Effect Cause More Damage

? Essay, Research Paper

Could the Greenhouse Effect Cause More Damage?

John Harte is an ecologist from the University of California at

Berkley. He is trying to find out whether heat stimulates further trace-gas

from solid or not. He is going to conduct an experiment that will tell him if

the greenhouse effect could start a cycle that would cause the effects to be

worse than already predicted. The experiment will begin December of 1996 and

will run for no less than three years.

Harte has stretched a twelve foot high grid of cables above 300 square

yards of land in a high mountain meadow in the middle of the Colorado Rockies.

The cables are supported by four steel towers, one at each corner of the grid.

Hanging down from the cables are ten infrared heat lamps which are about three

feet long each. This is supposed to simulate what many see as the coming

apocalypse. (global warming) “By 2050, if we decide to load trace gasses -

mainly carbon dioxide – into the atmosphere at our current rate, we can expect

Earth’s temperature to increase by any-where from three to nine degrees. The

Vostok record confirms that,” says Harte.

The grid is divided into ten sections. Each of the ten sections covers

thirty square yards of the meadow. The infarared lamps will heat every other

section by 2.5 degrees. The unheated sections in between allow researchers to

compare the efects of the lamps with the regular state of the meadow.

One time a week, Harte will take gas samples from buckets turned upside

down for ten minutes at a time on both the heated and unheated strips through

fitted nipples at the bottoms of the buckets by syringes, then analyze them

with a gas chromatograph. “We’ll be able to plot any changes in the meadow

very precisely,” says Harte.

Some of these changes could alter the very make-up of the seasons. With a

2.5 degree rise in temperature, snow at high elevations might melt up to two

months sooner. In Colorado that would constitute March as May. As a result,

the soil will dry quicker and will be much warmer than usual when May rolls

around. John Harte says it would be like expanding summer at the expense of


That means plants that usually start to bloom just as the snow begins to

melt will bloom sooner then the pollinators of those plants can get to them.

That would be harmful to both of the species involved. Harte says that this

project should confirm that people don’t have any time to waste when it comes to

saving this disaster from happening.

In three years, Harte and other researchers will be able to tell whether

or not Global Warming will be the next apocalypse. This apparently is a serious

issue to many environmentalists and ecologists. A lot of time, money, and

effort is being put into this. If this experiment ends up warning us about

what may happen if people keep polluting the atmosphere with certain gasses,

Harte and other researchers working on this project will be commended.