By Christian Horta
A tense moment occurred during the question and answer session at a conference held on Thursday evening explaining the science behind global warming.
Presenter Jeffrey Bennett, an astronomer and author, opened the floor to questions at the end of his presentation, and an attendee stood up in front of the audience to argue that some of his facts were incorrect.
When Bennett politely told the attendee that he was going to move on to other questions following the disagreement, the attendee yelled “You’re wrong!” Nervous, quiet giggles fell over the room. The event, Global Warming Demystified, was sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Geology. Professor Steve Koletty introduced Bennett, who has worked for the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NASA. Bennett also wrote a book called “Global Warming Primer,” which explains the science behind global warming in detail.
Earlier in the presentation, he indicated that global warming has been a hot topic between climatologists and politicians, but it’s primarily a debate over the details.
He also presented scientific models and data to demonstrate that global warming is a reality. The argument he made focused on how fast it will happen and how severe it will be.
Bennett says that the changes in our Earth’s climate have been gradual, however these changes are taking a turn for the worst at an exponential rate. We may see sea levels rise by as much as a foot by the end of the century.
In addition, carbon dioxide levels are 40% higher today than in the past 800,000 years. According to Bennett, one major factor that has to do with climate change is the greenhouse effect, which is what keeps our planet warm.
Carbon dioxide and methane are important greenhouse gases because they trap radiation emitted by Earth and contribute to the heating of the atmosphere.