Climate change/ global warming: the first in a series

Extreme weather events are named as possible results of climate change.

Extreme weather events are named as possible results of climate change.


This information is the first in a series on climate change and global warming with references to several scientific sources. The Fort Independence Environmental Climate Change Working Group, which is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, will present this series for Sierra Wave. Dennis Mattinson is the chair of the Working Group.

Part I – An introduction to Climate Change

Provided by the Fort Independence Environmental Climate Change Working Group

What is Climate Change?

“Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.” 1

“Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between. Other changes are even more dramatic. Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and northeast. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean wildfires in the west start earlier in the year, last later in the fall , threaten more homes, cause more evacuations, and burn more acreage.” 2

 Global Warming is part of Climate Change. What is Global Warming?

“As the sun’s energy warms up the Earth, our planet radiates some of this heat back out towards space. Certain gases in the atmosphere act like the glass in a greenhouse, allowing the sun’s energy in but preventing heat from escaping. Some greenhouse gases, such as water vapor – the most abundant greenhouse gas – are naturally present in the atmosphere; without them, the Earth’s average temperature would be an unbearably cold -18ºC instead of the 15ºC it is today. However, human activities are releasing immense additional amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming the climate. The greenhouse gas most commonly produced by our activities is carbon dioxide (CO2). It is responsible for some 63% of man-made global warming. One of the main sources of CO2 in the atmosphere is the combustion of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Over the past couple of centuries, our societies have burnt increasing amounts of fossil fuels to power machines, generate electricity, heat buildings and transport people and goods. Since the Industrial Revolution the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by around 41%, and it continues to rise.”


  1. USEPA
  2. National Climate Assessment Development Committee –
  3. European Commission Development Committee

55 Responses to Climate change/ global warming: the first in a series

  1. Dan Nilsen May 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I have no doubt that the temperatures are changing. However I would like you to explain why you think CO2 is the cause. Recently I saw an article if correct stated that at the beginning of the industrial revolution CO2 was approx., 230 ppb ( parts per Billion and now it is approx., 400 ppb. Ok this is a huge increase that amounts to nothing. This is what has me really questioning CO2 contribution to this rise. Unfortunately I understand what Parts per billion means. A 170 ppb increase is zip nada not Zero ? almost and you are blaming CO2? Your stupid are just not grasping the lack of this. Consider there are 6 billion people on earth approx, so 6 time 170 ppb equals 1020 out of the 6,000,000,000 if you painted all of these 1020 people red and everyone else white you would never see one in your entire life time.
    You realize this is .00000017 % increase do you not. I’ve written this off as a cause. Please explain to me how this CO2 is the cause.

    • Benett Kessler May 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Dan Nilsen, We’ll see if we can get a response. We appreciate dispassionate questioning but not the name-calling and patronizing I edited out of your comment.
      Also, what are your credentials?
      Benett Kessler

      • Steve May 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

        Benett, have you ever question scientist that don’t agree global warming is caused by human activity. If you look at history, the earth has gone through both warming and cooling periods. Also have you ever looked at NASA data that is showing Venus and Mars warming as well and I doubt anybody is driving SUV’s there. I am always told we cannot changed the weather, but somehow we humans can change something as vast as the climate.

        The most concerning issue I have is our absolute trust in scienctist, but they have been wrong in the past. From I recall global cooling was the issue 50 years ago.

      • Everything is political today June 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        Like it or not, everything has become political. Everything.

        In so far as the climate change thing, it boils down to this point of view:

        Liberals are concerned about climate change and how it may affect humanity
        and …
        Conservatives believe Liberals are nothing more than “enviro-wackos” (a popular Rush Limbaugh moniker that draws large guffaws from his audience) and are merely starting trouble unnecessarily.

        • Big AL June 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

          Do I detect a secret affection for Rush here Dr. ?

          I have seen people from both sides do just what your referring to. It doesn’t matter what someone believes, if they are passionate enough about it or they think they are right and everyone else is wrong … they can go overboard on it.

    • Help our MotherEarth! May 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      The way the earth reacts to carbons in the atmosphere is a natural reaction (carbons hold heat), BUT the way the carbons has been recently introduced (last 150 years) to the environment is NOT!

    • Paul May 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

      Hello Dan,

      I have no climate credentials, I’m a Computer Engineer by trade. However the Scientists agree CO2 is a major issue and I trust them more than random people on message boards. Therefore I accept their statements. However I think I can address some of yours.

      You state that a 170 ppb increase is “zip nada no Zero”, which I assume you mean to say “is nothing.” You then give a figure of .00000017% increase. I have no idea where that came from. Going from 200 ppb to 400 ppb constitutes a 100% increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. To put it more in line with your terms, if you count 200 ppb out of 6 billion people, you will count 1200 people. Counting 400 ppb out of 6 billion people will give you a count of 2400 people. You’ve doubled, or increased by 100%, the number of people you have counted.

      The focus seems to be on CO2. However it’s not the only greenhouse gas being targeted. The Kyoto Protocol, and other efforts, seek to limit all types of greenhouse gasses. Look up “Global Warming Potential” for information on the other chemicals which contribute to Global Warming and you’ll get some idea. I believe CO2 is singled out because it is generated most abundently by human activity.

      • Ken Warner May 31, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

        And there is a tipping point. If CO2 rises and warms the Earth to the point where the frozen tundra starts melting and begins to release it’s sequestered methane stores — which is an even more potent greenhouse gas — and the Earth warms even further to the point where the deep oceans begin to warm and begins to melt the methane hydrates stored in deep ocean sediment. And bubbles of methane rise to the surface and blanket populated areas — well that’s an interesting topic that some scientists have looked at in detail.

        Some one of you may like to follow up on that line of discussion.

    • Where they get their BS from May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      Once again we have the usual neocon subjects speaking the same BS their neocon hero speaks of.

      See for yourself where they get the BS

      And watch for the usual:

      “Stop bringing up Limbaugh all the time!”

      • Big AL May 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        And we have the same neocon rhetoric about neocons and their heros and BS and what ever. Please “Stop bringing up Limbaugh all the time!”

    • Charles O. Jones May 31, 2013 at 8:30 am #


      Asking questions as you did in your second sentence is a good thing IMO. We all should be asking questions in an attempt to learn more. Yet coming to your own unsupported conclusions as you did further down your post is just foolish.

      Keep asking questions! But be patient enough to wait for answers to those questions before you jump to your own conclusions.

    • JaneE May 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      CO2 blocks a different portion of the infrared spectrum than other green house gasses. Satellites measure the outgoing radiation and have recorded a decrease in outflow from the wavelengths associated with CO2, which is consistent with the calculated effects of the additional amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  2. Philip Anaya May 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m looking forward to the second ,third,fourth etc. installment of this knowledge and discussion. Thanks FIECCWG ,Dennis M. and the Sierra wave

  3. Ellen Wilson May 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Engine combustion machines that emit CO2s are not part of the natural environment. The Earth and her regulatory systems cannot keep up with these excesses. You can check this basic scientific fact out in this neat handy dandy diagram of the carbon cycle:

    Everyone should have this basic education. It’s a fact not a fantasy.

  4. Strong Ev May 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

  5. Jimmy D May 31, 2013 at 5:46 am #

    I stopped reading after the second sentence, …”funded by the EPA”…

    • Benett Kessler May 31, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Why is that?

      • Tourbillon May 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

        Why is that you ask? Do keep up with current events dear. For starters, because the EPA is part of the same administration that includes the Justice Department (under Congressional investigation for search warrant shenanigans and more), the State Department (under Congressional investigation for Benghazi inconsistencies), and the IRS (the daily double, under both Congressional and independent FBI criminal investigation for you-know-what). Benett, this may come as a shock given that a left wing administration is in power, but you might consider dusting off that old “Question Authority” bumper sticker instead of asking others why they are questioning authority.

        • Benett Kessler June 1, 2013 at 7:14 am #

          No thanks. I prefer people to explain themselves, dear.
          Benett Kessler

          • Tourbillon June 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

            Ordinarily, in America it is the authoritarians who are expected to explain themselves. Unless, apparently, the authoritarians are Leftists, in which case our vaunted Fourth Estate demands that challengers to authoritarianism explain themselves. You are truly a citizen of your Brave New Word, Benett.

          • Benett Kessler June 2, 2013 at 8:01 am #

            Apparently you don’t know me too well. I have poked sticks in the eyes of authority in the Eastern Sierra and beyond for 38 years now. Just ask them. I still want to know why the poster has a problem with EPA. Then, we can go from there. Let’s hear specifically why you have a problem with the EPA besides the fact that it’s a government agency. Sarcasm is a weak defense, Tourbillon.
            Benett Kessler

        • Big AL June 1, 2013 at 8:41 am #

          It’s because the EPA along with a lot of other agencies have become biased. They started out as something good, but people don’t trust them. As Tourbillon says, as well, they are a govt. agency.

          The old saying .. I’m from the Govt, I’m here to help you … yeah right.

          • Benett Kessler June 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

            How about a few more facts and not just suspicion.

          • No facts, please. June 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

            I wonder why it is Big Al (and the other right-wingers on this blog (and there are lots of them) hates the presentation of facts?
            Could it be they would rather fight than switch?
            What does fighting with everyone prove?

          • Big AL June 2, 2013 at 10:26 am #

            No Benett that is not suspicion, that is learned truth. People do not trust the Govt. and rightly so with such items fresh in our minds as the Benghazi incident.

            The wall St. fiasco, that was big money bailing itself out with our money. And the big money dictated to the Govt. what to do, under the guise of a national and world wide economic emergency.

            Just because the EPA is an environmental protection agency does not make them above suspicion. It doesn’t make them any more green than AL Gore.

            Like it or nor not … the Govt. is controlled by big money. That is not a suspicion.

            So there are a couple facts for you, that is not suspicion unless one wants to bury their head in the sand.

            There is big money to be made in the green industry …. carrying out all of these mandates, takes money, and with the amount of mandates out there and more to come … it is going to take a lot of it!

            Some have made tons off of it already.

          • Benett Kessler June 2, 2013 at 11:41 am #

            Dear Al, et al, If you read Bureaucrat Beat, you know we are aggressively suspicious of government. It is wearisome to hear rhetorical accusations without back-up, even on government agencies. We might note that without the EPA, there would likely have been no clean-up of the Owens Dry Lake. Does this mean EPA is above question? Of course not. But how about we apply our minds to real points based on some truths instead of the “gumball effect” – it falls out of your mind and pops out of your mouth.

          • Big AL June 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

            Benett I left off a lil steam with a couple comments there. but What I say are not thoughts rolling out of my head like gum balls rolling out of a machine .. what is up with that?

            I guess my words of thought are either like that or not it depends on how one sees it or assumes.

            I hope it isn’t because of my own opinion on the EPA, kind of funny though.

            I did recite facts, I did not how ever supply links to articles about facts on the subject, because what you hear and what you read is not always the truth, or the whole truth. Just to note: I recited the incident of Benghazi for one.

            The way I see it, and I know some don’t believe it, but it is my thoughts on it, not my opinion. That we hung those men out to dry, our govt. ….. left them, and we may or may not know the real truth.

            … Has to be something about it .. they are trying real hard to keep it quiet.

          • J-Frog June 4, 2013 at 8:12 am #

            But Gee Whiz Big Al, The U.S.E.P.A was created because rivers and streams were catching on FIRE! “Umm Something’s not here?” Pollution! Do you remember that? I don’t I just remember reading about it and thinking what the —- ??
            Whether or not we all feel the urgency to step out of our comfortable convenient lifestyles to help the the generations after us have the same beautiful landscapes and opportunity’s, then we must do what it takes to align our daily routines with MotherEarth’s natural order of laws, rather then continue to tread all over ALL of OUR life supporting systems.

          • J-Frog June 4, 2013 at 8:17 am #

            “Umm somethings not right here?”
            was the intended quote of my own thoughts, when trying to understand how a river can catch fire. (Pollution and No respect for MotherEarth)
            But I hear you “loud and clear” on the no trust of any Gov’t entity, but we as individuals can pick one we kinda agree with, and maybe be able to find glimpse’s of some good they may do?

          • J-Frog June 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #

            @Big AL, Benghazi? What about all the terrorists attacks under Reagans term and the nothing they really did about it?? Wheres the outrage on that, way more Americans lost there lives in similar situations. Is it just because “Benghazi” is what the establishment media is feeding us, so it rolls out our mouth like nothing?
            It’s true bro, Reagan’s administration had many more Americans die in separate occasions then the current Administration (speaking of embassy attacks here). Wheres the outrage?
            Where’s the outrage on Bradley Manning? He did break the law in some ways, BUT he uncovered serious short comings of our gov’t and rather then our gov’t seek justice on it’s self it is taking it out on the whistle blower? not the people that obviously were in the wrong but the only one who is in jail is the whistle blower? Now that’s a Problem, so what does that say for medias when they find good “NEWS” and it may compromise how the gov’t wants to be portrayed? What precedent is being sent with the way our gov’t is dealing with whistle blowers??
            Now is the time for “we the people” to speak truth to power, but the established powers want to keep us in the pawn/sheep category!

        • A question for Tourbillon June 1, 2013 at 10:28 am #

          Dear Tourbillon,

          Just curious if you “questioned authority” when your right-wing administration invaded Iraq in search of WMDs that never existed and bankrupted the country trying to pay for it?

          A simple yes or no will suffice … dear.

          • Big AL June 2, 2013 at 10:34 am #

            A question for Dr. Facts …

            Do you secretly have a fancy for Rush … a simple yes or no. or is it just jealousy that he has more fans and a higher rating .. hehe

        • Ken Warner June 2, 2013 at 9:51 am #

          An investigation is not an indictment. Especially in our political system. An investigation in Washington is simply political theater.

          You name three investigations as if their mere existence proves wrongdoing — which is exactly what the Republicans want you to believe.

          For example “Benghazi” Do you know that the Republicans voted against appropriating money for expanded security at our embassies despite repeated requests by the State Dept?

          Dig deep into any of those manufactured “scandals” and you will find that those scandals are just a wish list for a desperate political party seeking power and are the direct result of actions taken by the Republicans in Congress

          Sadly, they work as planned on the gullible.

          • Charles O. Jones June 3, 2013 at 7:22 am #

            Well said Mr. Warner.

    • J-Frog May 31, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Well Jimmy, then close your eyes tight, hold your hands to your ears and go “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you”

    • Where they get their BS (ERA) May 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh repeated a debunked theory that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations banning Freon and other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) caused the February 1, 2003, destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. An independent review board investigated the Columbia disaster and found that that the accident occurred because a piece of insulating foam broke off from the shuttle’s external tank during flight, severely damaging the shuttle’s ability to survive the heat of re-entry. The “theory” Limbaugh promoted is that the EPA regulations forced NASA to stop using Freon in the insulating foam, which weakened its ability to stay attached to the shuttle’s external fuel tank. In fact, Freon was used to build the section of insulation foam that broke off from Columbia’s external fuel tank; according to the review board’s report, NASA stopped using Freon to make that section sometime in 2002, after Columbia’s tank had already been built.

      The United States and other countries have phased out Freon and similar CFCs because they break down the Earth’s protective ozone layer over a prolonged period of time.

      Limbaugh brought up this theory, which he said was “going around,” after a caller complained about the EPA’s regulation of ammonia. Limbaugh then attacked environmental regulations, and said that he was “inclined to believe” a rumor that the “banning of Freon actually caused … the Columbia shuttle accident,” claiming: “They had to use something else to cause the foam to bond to the fuel tank, and it was not nearly as good as Freon was.”

      • Desert Tortoise May 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

        Mr. Limbaugh’s education ended in high school. He has zero college education. What do you expect? He is really nothing more than a glorified radio DJ with a drug problem.. Same for Mr. Beck, who has taken exactly one post secondary course which he did not complete, yet people hang on their every, frequently uninformed, word. Would you quote the old KROQ DJ Jed the Fish on matters of public policy? Heck no you wouldn’t but I have heard more intelligent things come out of his mouth than out of Mr. Limbaugh’s. They are both a couple of low education radio personalities, think Ryan Seacrest with a different gig. They are not oracles.

  6. MJA May 31, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    There are 7 billion people burning up the planet and the Earth’s temperature or fever is rising. The solution is not a matter of science and technology, but rather simply self-control.


  7. Steve May 31, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    The Earth is approximately 8,000 miles in diameter. We all live form sea level to about 15,000 feet in elevation, or about 3 miles. So the the habitable zone is very thin at best. That is why small changes can and will make a difference to all of us living on the skin of the Earth.

    Just like the plankton living in the early oceans changed the atmosphere to a oxygen rich world that was essential to life as we know it now. Small changes can and will make a difference.

    Please use your own mind and resist the use of repeated rhetoric that only serves to stop the conversation. Be a thinker not a repeater.

  8. Desert Tortoise May 31, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    My understanding is that the other major contributor to greenhouse warming is methane, of which livestock raised for food contributes in abundance. The release of methane could accelerate as polar regions warm and tundra unfreezes.

    Serioiusly, how can anyone see the air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley, the LA Basin, Mexico City or Beijing just to name a few examples and still cling to this notion that human activities do not affect the atmosphere and the climate. There is a cloud of air pollution that hangs over the western coast of India and southern Pakistan that is visible from space.

  9. Karen May 31, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Here is an upcoming event on this subject:

    Climate Change in the Eastern Sierra: What’s Already
    Happening, and What Might Happen in the Future?
    By Holly Alpert, Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program
    Wednesday, June 5 from 12 – 1pm
    Eastern Sierra Land Trust Garden
    176 Home St. Bishop
    For More info: (760) 873-4554

    Holly Alpert, Program Manager for the Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program, will be our speaker for the June installment of our Brown Bag Lunch Series. Everyone is invited to attend, and is encouraged to bring his/her own lunch. The Brown Bag Lunch will be held in ESLT’s garden at 176 Home St. in Bishop (and indoors during inclement weather).

  10. J-Frog May 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Two groups who promote anti climate change data;
    “The knowledge and Progress fund” (supported by) The Donor Trust and Donors Capital Fund (Financed By) = Yep you guessed it! Billionaires Charles and David Koch (Koch industries)!

    Anybody see a problem with that?

    So we have individuals with deep pockets giving millions of dollars to create studies trying to convince people otherwise of what 98% of the WORLDS scientist believe.
    And that’s how our politics gets corrupted, and we go down the wrong road, because people have a financial incentive to lead us down the road in there direction, and against what is true and real.

    Here’s another fun fact for y’all;

    James Lawrence Powell looked at 13,950 peer reviewed climate articles between 1991-2012 and only 24 rejected global warming.

    As we experienced our hottest year on record last year we had a 2% drop on worldwide climate coverage between 2011-2012, making the fewest number of published stories since 2009.

    Only 19 weekly science sections left in american newspapers, down from 95 just two decades ago.

    So our mainstream media and published newspapers are keeping us in the dark!

  11. sierragrl May 31, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    All I know is I want my good asthma inhaler back. The inhalers had an aerosol propellant in them, which was banned by the EPAin 2008 due to the “Montreal
    Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer”. The replacement inhalers do not propel the medicine into one’s lungs near as effectively. Used to be taking 2-3 puffs at a time was rare…now I do 5,6,7,8 puffs sometimes. I want to ask, was the amount of CFS being released into the atmosphere from inhalers really enough to take a needed medicine off the market? The Doctors at first were all towing the line, saying the new inhaler’s work just as well…but most doctors now will tell you quietly that they don’t. Enough patients have weighed in. How many people are going to die from this, or end up with COPD because of the scar tissue being created by the medicine not working as well? Too many, I know that for sure.

    • Big AL May 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

      Anything is too much any more Sirragrl, some sense has to be played into things like this so a issue like you have can be addressed, but there is no sense in anything it is just …. ban everything .. period!

  12. johnjcampnfish June 1, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    So, what are all of you “believers” doing about it? The carbon footprint required to enable people to live in Mammoth Lakes and other Eastern Sierra communities is much, much larger than it would be if you all lived in downtown LA and stayed there. With the exception of ranching, DWP, and electric utilities, there is no valid reason for anybody to live in or even burn fossil fuels to visit the Sierras. Are any of you that truly believe all this global warming alarmism really willing to “walk the walk”? I’m betting not.

    I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who say it’s a crisis treat it like a crisis.

    • Charles O. Jones June 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      @ johnj
      When you quote “believers” in your first sentence it’s hard to view the rest of your response as objective. The term “believer” is generally reserved for religious references. Does accepting the opinions of the overwhelming majority of experts in a field of science make one a “believer”?

      If so, does this equally apply across the board to all fields of science? Or just to climate change? Please explain how the acceptance of scientific theory is analogous to religion?

      • johnjcampnfish June 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

        If you believe that humans are responsible for causing, and thus responsible for correcting global warming, then walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Nothing religous about it except for the way theories are followed as fact based on faith that scientists have never been wrong.

        • Charles O. Jones June 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm #


          I don’t think anyone here has made the claim or even the implication that “scientists have never been wrong” – so that notion is a red herring.

          I’m curious though, If you are in disagreement with the overwhelming majority experts in the study of climate science, do you harbor similar disagreements with the experts in other fields of science? If so, please explain.

      • Big AL June 3, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

        I don’t see he was referencing religion .. I think it is merely terminology. Yeah has it made a believer out of you yet .. or are you a believer in the twinkie theory. Is it still working for you? Will you still believe tomorrow?

        Just saying …

        • Charles O. Jones June 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

          I’m sorry Al, I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

          • Failure to communicate June 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

            That makes two of us, Charles O.



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