Wednesday, February 26, 2014

There's a new widget on the sidebar here ...

I mean that maroon thing headlined "Nowhere to hide ..." right below the archive list.  It's designed to visually demonstrate how rapidly the earth is accumulating heat from the greenhouse effect that human emissions of carbon dioxide gas have stimulated. According to the folks from Skeptical Science:

The earth has warmed rapidly over the past century due mainly to human activity, and especially over the past few decades. The increased greenhouse effect has warmed the land and air and melted ice, but most of it (about 90%) has gone into heating the oceans. ... for recent decades the earth has been heating at a rate of 250 trillion Joules per second.

“Joules per second” is a difficult unit of measure to appreciate, and is especially foreign to people who are unfamiliar with science. This widget attempts to put that heating into terms that are easier to visualize. 250 trillion Joules per second is equivalent to:

  • Detonating four Hiroshima atomic bombs per second
  • Experiencing two Hurricane Sandys per second
  • Enduring four 6.0 Richter scale earthquakes per second
  • Being struck by 500,000 lightning bolts per second
  • Exploding more than eight Big Ben towers, with every inch packed full of dynamite, per second

Since I'm in San Francisco, I set up the widget to display the heat increase in "6.0 earthquake equivalents." I started the clock in 2005, because that's when I started this blog. By clicking on the icons at the bottom, you can see the other measures of heat energy. Under the "i" icon for each of them, you are led to further information.

Any way you measure it, we're emitting a lot of heat and if we don't slow and stop it, we can expect to fry.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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