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ASSIGNMENTS FALL 2015
Skyler Neel Fall 2015
Geoengineering Our Oceans
Given the current level of C02 emissions, especially in developed nations, there is a strong possibility that it's too late for reducing emissions to be enough to slow the onset of climate change. In the near future humanity (primarily the current generation of adolescents) will have to make tough decisions regarding the practical and ethical implications of altering the frameworks of the planet. Although many ideas have been presented on how to reduce carbon levels using geoengineering, there has been a serious deficit of proper research into the consequences and effects of these methods. I'll outline a few notable examples: One of the most well known methods is known as iron fertilization, whereby iron shavings are strategically dumped into the ocean, encouraging the growth of phytoplankton which absorb C02 and bring it down deeper into the ocean after they die. Iron fertilization has, however, been found to be very impractical in the short term and could have the potential to drastically change the ocean's ecosystem. On the more technological side, there are also machines known as carbon scrubbers in the works. Carbon scrubbers would remove up to one ton of carbon from the air per day, which is a great starting point but millions would be required to have any effective impact.
A more promising method is the process of enriching soil with biochar, which is finely ground charcoal rich in organic carbon and extremely resistant to decomposition. When combined with reforestation, numerous studies have found it to be much more effective in the short term than ocean fertilization methods.
Climate geoengineering is best considered as a potential complement to the mitigation of CO2 emissions, rather than as an alternative to it
T. M. Lenton1,2 and N. E. Vaughan1,2
The Cenozoic Era (Also known as the Age of Mammals) refers to the time period from roughly 65 million years ago up until the present day. The beginning of the era is marked by the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, which left many significant gaps in the food chain. This provided the surviving mammals, birds, and rodents with the opportunity to diversify due to the relatively low amount of predators. The climate was much warmer than it is today and the temperature had little variety, and the distance from the equator was fairly irrelevant.
Early Cenozoic era
The early Cenozoic era was also a time of extreme continental drift, with Africa breaking off from South America and merging with parts of Asia and Europe. Flightless birds and small mammals began to dominate the planet, although the skies were ruled by massive birds with no competition. As millions of years passed, early canines and felines became very common, both of which climbed their way up the food chain.
After tens of millions of years, the earth began to undergo drastic cooling roughly 23 million years ago. During the next 20 million years or so, many great mountain ranges were formed, and almost all of the earth became encased in thick layers of ice, leading to massive glaciers and vast tundras. As the species of Earth adapted to this new and merciless climate, primates began to evolve - using advanced fine motor skills to make the best of their surroundings. Eventually, some species of primates started to walk upright, becoming some of the first of the Homo genus.
Late Cenozoic era
As our early ancestors went on, they began to fight back against the great predators, such as the saber toothed tiger and wooly mammoth. Neanderthals emerged and began to innovate, to explore, and eventually spread throughout Asia. Meanwhile, early Homo Sapiens went North from Africa and gradually began to cooperate with other great mammals, such as the wolf. Through a turn of events that we know little about, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens interbred, thus setting a course for the evolution of modern man. Tribes were formed, language was crafted, and blood was shed. Empires rose and fell, knowledge was gained and shared, and questions were asked.
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