Well hello there!
Good to see you again. In case you are here for the first time, you might want to check out last week’s update.
This week’s theme is about global warming. Of course we have all heard about global warming. We understand it’s a very serious issue, no debate about that. But just how serious is it?
Numbers get meaningless once they get big. So let’s talk metaphors.
- True or False? -
Each day, the earth gains an amount of energy equivalent to:
4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day for a year long.
If you think this statement is true, then Continue. If you think this statement is false, then Continue too. It doesn’t really matter.
The correct answer is False. Very well done if you got that! But did you also know it’s much (much!) more? If you thought the answer was True, you were off by a factor 100.000!
The exact words that NASA climate scientist James Hansen used in his TED-talk are:
“… equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”
Yes, 400.000 is a big number. In that sense this metaphor is not making things easier. However, I think it does show how much you may have underestimated the immense scale of global warming, am I right?
The scientific way would be to say that the Earth is accumulating heat at a rate of 2.5x1014 Watts.
That’s it for this week. For next week I have something really positive and hopeful in store. So stay tuned!
Tell me more!
Yes, I know, comparing global warming with atomic bombs is a bit sensationalistic. James Hansen has often been criticized for it after he made this statement in his talk 4 years ago. But nevertheless, his metaphor seems to be effective.
It is also correct to state that the oceans (biggest absorbent of heat) have been heating at a rate of around 0.5 to 1 watt of energy per square meter over the past decade. But well, that doesn’t really speak to anyone’s imagination does it?
But if you want to know more, I’d recommend watching the original video. It is important to realize that James Hansen is one of the leading, highly respected climate scientists who has put climate change on the agenda.
(skip to 7:00 for the quote on Hiroshima bombs)
Since this is such a wide and extremely difficult topic, it’s best if we leave it for now and save our strengths for another time. I would suggest to get yourself a strong cup of coffee and something sweet. You have earned it.
Remember, next week I’m going to share some really hopeful and uplifting developments since it’s not all bad!
Have a wonderful week!