Severe Weather Phenomena (05:52)
Mega storms, droughts, and forest fires have become normal; scientists investigate climate mechanisms and solutions to the climate change crisis. Meteorologist Paul Douglas discusses the pressures of weather prediction and addresses religious and political beliefs preventing science acceptance.
Warming Planet (03:39)
The last decade has seen record temperatures; wildfires, extreme floods, and other weather phenomenon occur more frequently and with more intensity. John Holdren and Marshall Shepherd discuss the immediacy of the climate change threat. Earth's natural history includes dramatic swings; scientific evidence shows that human industry drives current trends. (Credits)
Climate Science History (07:24)
Andrea Sella discusses early investigations into climate control; Joseph Fourier discovers that atmosphere traps heat. In 1864, John Tyndall finds carbon dioxide specifically responsible for radiant retention. The interaction of land, sea, ice, and atmosphere determine climate; see a simulation of the Greenhouse Effect.
Breathing Forests (06:27)
When burned, carbon dioxide forms in the atmosphere, trapping heat. Ralph Keeling measures Greenhouse gas using a method invented by his father. Dave Keeling discovers seasonal patterns in levels and an acceleration trend.
Studying Gas Bubbles (04:32)
Geologist Ed Brook and his team drill for ice cores in Antarctica; atmospheric gases are trapped within. His findings extend the Keeling curve; current levels are higher than in 800,000 years.
Studies of Mud (05:03)
Andrea Dutton explains how seashell chemistry and growth measures temperature; colder water contains more Oxygen 18. She isolates samples from cores comprised of sediments millions of years old. Data revealing temperature swings closely resembles carbon dioxide fluctuations gauged in ice core samples.
Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels (07:14)
Earth's orbit and natural activities trigger carbon dioxide release; people burn fossil fuels at exorbitant rates. Keeling collects air samples and analyzes the ratio of carbon atoms. Douglas discusses public doubts regarding climate change. Trapped heat influences cycle changes, strengthening storms.
Rapid Acceleration (03:07)
Scientists discuss concerns over the rate of climate change and increased carbon dioxide levels; they conduct a worldwide endeavor to create a prediction model. Burning fossil fuels changes atmospheric composition and ecological impacts will be catastrophic without solutions.
Emission Absorption (05:20)
Efforts to study and solve global warming problems are underway. Greg Asner studies the role of forests in climate. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide represents half of human contributions; trees and oceans absorb and store carbon dioxide.
Heat Absorption (07:08)
Stephen Riser leads an international study of chemical and temperature changes; Argo floats explore underwater for years. Alison Gray explains deep water currents and how the Southern Ocean warms more rapidly; seas absorb 93% of atmospheric heat, fatally impacting marine life.
Arctic Recession (06:31)
David Holland and Brian Rougeux set motion trackers on Jakobshavn glacier to study impacts of warm air contact. The ice cap is disintegrating; see calving and photo comparisons of accelerated recession. New data reveals destabilization and intense loss from shifting Gulf Stream currents.
Submerging Civilization (05:30)
The Antarctic ice sheet contains 200 feet of possible sea level rise. In the Australian Outback, Andrea Dutton collects rock core samples; analysis reveals ancient corals. When glaciers melt, coastal cities will be underwater.
Coastal Survival (06:34)
Sea level rise impacts the Marshall Islands; Kathy Jetnil Kijiner explains the loss of habitat and culture. Norfolk's Naval Base is the largest in the world. Col. Jason Kelly and Admiral Ann Phillips assert climate change as a national threat; residents describe impacts on daily life.
Extreme Weather (04:00)
In 2017, mega storms plagued the United States. Western wildfires have quadrupled since 1980; scientists explain feedback loops created by melting ice and carbon dioxide release.
Modeling and Prediction (06:09)
Katharine Hayhoe compares climate prediction to rear view driving. She and Kirsten Findell describe how climate models are assembled and function. By 2100, Earth will be significantly hotter, strengthening storms and causing eight feet of sea level rise.
Alleviating Harm (05:04)
Options for climate change response are "Suffer, Adapt and Mitigate." Billions depend on seas for food and employment; marine life is migrating to cooler waters or dying. Ruth Gates studies surviving reef populations, finding them more resistant to heat.
Adjusting to Change (05:54)
Kelly oversees a $1.5 billion plan to cope with rising sea levels in Norfolk; mitigating change equates to less adaptation and requires a shift from fossil fuels. Alternate technologies are improving rapidly; Whirlpool factory wind turbines cut energy costs.
Creating Alternatives (03:26)
At National Renewable Energy Lab, scientists invent carbon free renewable energies; they are revamping solar cells with cost effective and controllable perovskite. The sun is Earth's largest power source, but vastly unharnessed.
Prospering from Mitigation (02:49)
Fossil fuels account for 80% of the world's power; emissions are pumped into the atmosphere. SaskPower injects carbon dioxide deep underground, but it is not cost effective. Lisa Dyson discusses uses of carbon; her company researches microbes capable of transforming it into useful forms.
Negative Emissions (05:02)
Carbon must be pulled out of the atmosphere to subvert global warming. Geologist David Montgomery explains modern agriculture's disruption of photosynthesis. Dave Legvold converted to "no till farming" after observing depleted soils.
Unclear Future (05:06)
Climate change solutions vary; mitigating damage requires them all. Scientists discuss Earth's mechanisms and the human variable. Douglas explains divisive attitudes toward global warming and getting past denial.
Credits: Decoding the Weather Machine (00:51)
Credits: Decoding the Weather Machine
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