Last Tuesday Dr. Clotilde Dubois, of the Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques (CNRM, Météo-France) came to EF Academy Oxford to give a presentation about global warming and her experiences in this area of science.
For her research, Dr. Dubois traveled to Antarctica with her research team. To get to their final destination they had to travel for a very long time, first by boat to Antarctica, and afterwards in jeeps that could drive on snow and ice to where Dr. Dubois and her team would do the research.
She explained that they drilled very deep into the ice to be able to research the different structures of ice that had developed over thousands of years. Carbon dioxide is known to dissolve in water and therefore also in ice. So they could see the different concentrations of carbon dioxide that had been in the atmosphere over this long period of time. With that information a graph could be plotted and they saw that the concentration of CO2 behaved in a wave-like pattern.
Dr. Dubois explained that there is a correlation between the temperature on Earth and the carbon dioxide emission. During the summer months, plants are very active in taking up carbon dioxide for their photosynthesis which decreases the concentration in the atmosphere. In winter months it’s the other way around; there is less energy for plants to carry out photosynthesis which keeps the CO2concentration in the atmosphere higher.
For ages, this pattern had been the same until a decade ago, when there was an extreme increase in the carbon dioxide concentration probably because we, the western world, emit so much carbon dioxide. It was almost shocking to see this difference.
Dr. Dubois’s talk was very informative and clearly explained with a lot of interesting pictures supporting her research. Her presentation has made me more aware of global warming and it has given me a better picture of how much we are polluting the earth because of our own needs.
This post is by Laura Vissers, a current student at EF Academy Oxford who is doing the IB Year 2.