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Tutorial 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Rudy Boonstra

TUTORIAL 1 September, 20, 2007 TA: Brendan Delehanty -> [email protected] I dont have office hours as of yet because there isnt a demand for it. If you have to get a hold of me just email me. We can then set up a time. I live in Guelph so I avoid coming in here as often as possible. On Thursdays I have a class downtown that ends at noon so I have to get here from downtown in 1 hour and 10 minutes so in future sessions give me a few minutes to make it here if I am just a few minutes late. If you have questions afterwards you can ask me but if they are lengthy then arrange for me to come in and talk with you at another time. My class downtown is on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I cant sit in class on Tuesdays to hear the lecture so I dont have perfect knowledge of what has been discussed. I will read the readings and find out from him what he has talked about. We will watch a movie today An Inconvenient Truth. I thought it was a good movie but some things I found problematic. I dont like movies that make good points but taking short-cuts. When I watched it a second time I thought differently though so watch it with fresh eyes. Look for correlation and causation in the movie. The interface between scientific knowledge and policyaction, when do we act? What level of certainty do we have to understand before we take action tied into the precautionary principle? The major theme of the movie I think is that it touches on obligations for those of us doing science. What are the moral obligations with respect to significant issues like climate change? New Week Article The Truth About Denial After the movie we will discuss the movie and the article in tandem. Keep an eye out through the movie that when Mr. Gore talks and present graphs to make his points, look critically at what he is using to support his points. Hopefully most agree that climate change is a problem and carbon dioxide emissions are a problem but it is important to have good sound arguments. Think about how Gore expressed disappointment that even though we have the knowledge that we are not acting. As a scientist, think about how the knowledge is certain enough that it deserves action. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH This is the first picture taken from space that anyone saw (1968). It was taken during the Apollo 8 mission. (Presentation by Al Gore) There are good people in politics that hold this problem at arms length. The picture has been known as Earth Rise and it lead to dramatic changes. The next picture was taken during Apollo 17 and it is the most commonly published photo in history. The only picture where the sun was directly behind the space craft so the earth is totally lit up. The next image was taken by The Galileo that went out to explore the solar system. This is the time lapse of a 1 day rotation of the earth. Tom Dansante took 3,000 separate satellite picture from over 3 years and he chose images that shows a cloud free view. All land masses are accurately displayed. BGYC58H3F.September,20,2007 TUTORIAL 1 1 www.notesolution.comI had a classmate in grade 6 that pointed to the two continents and asked the teacher did this ever fit together? and the teacher said no! The teacher was actually reflecting the conclusion of the scientific establishment at that time. Continents are so big they actually dont move but now we know they did move and they did at one time fit together. The point that Mark Twain made is important. The earth is so big we cant possibly have any lasting impact on the earths environment this is the assumption made now. The most vulnerable part of the earths ecological system is its atmosphere. The atmosphere is thin enough that we are capable of changing its makeup. (Explains how radiation comes in and heats up the earth and is re-radiated back into space). The atmosphere eventually heats up and that is the problem. This is the image that started me in my interest in this issue. I was a college student. My professor saw where this was going. In 1957 he hired Charles David Keaton who was faithful and precise in making the measurements. They chose the middle of the Pacific because it was the area that was most remote. Like many young people I came into contact with intellectuals. He showed our class the results of his measurements after just a few years and I was startled. He made it clear what the significance was. He drew the connections between the larger changes in civilization and the pattern that was now visible. The then projected into the future where we were headed unless we made adjustments. After the first 7 to 9 years you could see the pattern. Why does it (carbon dioxide) go up and down once each year? Look at the land masses, most are above the equator and so is the vegetation. When the northern hemisphere is tilted to the sun the amount of carbon dioxide makes it go down. When the leaves fall in the fall the carbon dioxide goes up again. By the middle 60s it was already clear that it was going up. In 1975 I went to congress and took my professor with me and they didnt really believe me. In 1992 I went to the White House and did something about the Carbon tax and then went to get a treaty that is very controversial. All this time you can see what I had seen all these years, it just keeps going up and we are seeing the impact in the real world. (Shows glaciers and mountain snow disappearing) These glaciers are beautiful but now all you see is the glaciers falling into the oceans. People live on the melt water that comes from glaciers and in the future 40% of the people will suffer because there wont be water to support them. The ice has stories to tell us. They dig down and bring core drills up and study it. When the snow falls it traps bubbles of atmosphere and they can measure the carbon dioxide the year that snow fell. They can measure isotopes of oxygen and figure out a precise thermometer that is was the year that the snow fell. You can see when the US Congress passes the clean air bill. They can count back year by year the same way a forester reads tree rings and you can see each annual layer from melting and freezing. They go back 1,000 years and construct a thermometer. Skeptics say it is a cyclical phenomenon. You can see that is true on this graph but compared to what is going on now there is no comparison. Compare the 1,000 years of temperature and compare to 1,000 years of CO2 and they are about even. They can go back 650,000 years for CO2 and temperature. You can see back 7 ice ages back. In all of this time (650,000 year) the CO2 has never gone above 300ppm. The relationship is complicated but there is one relationship that is powerfulwhere there is more CO2 the temperature gets warmer because it traps more heat from the sun. In the US where they have nice weather this BGYC58H3F.September,20,2007 TUTORIAL 1 2
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