Matthew Nisbet writes a careful analysis of how awareness until this point has been raise and what needs to be done in order to reach more people. He determines that one of the biggest challenges met in the attempt to raise awareness of climate change and global warming is that of framing. Framing refers to the manner in which an issue is presented in order to provoke a certain reaction with the listeners. Climate change has been presented in a very polarized way which has caused it to be associated with either political affiliations or ideologies. As a result, how the message reached the audience depended on how they felt about whatever group was presenting it. Nisbet concludes that the best way to reach a wider audience is to reframe climate change as a global problem that impacts more than just a small group of people as a way to get passed the difficulties presented by its current framing.
Matthew C. Nisbet (2009): Communicating Climate Change: Why Frames Matter for Public Engagement,
Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 51:2, 12-23
Though dozens of surveys on global warming have been completed over the past twenty years, the results have never been compiled into one succinct summary. Matthew Nisbet, assistant professor at American University, gathered results from over seventy surveys in order to create a review of public opinion trends in regards to global warming.
In terms of public awareness and understanding they found that as time progresses and media coverage increases, more people report having heard about global warming, however, even twenty years after global warming has been brought to the attention of the public, few Americans believe that they fully understand the issue. Despite this confusion among the public, most do believe that climate change is prevalent but because of its “creeping nature,” many tend to discount its threats.
In order to stave off global warming most Americans vote to set higher standards for automobile, industry, and CO2 emissions and support spending government money on alternative energy forms.
Nisbet, M. C. and T. Myers. 2007. Twenty years of public opinion about global warming. Public Opinion Quarterly. 71: 444-470.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 106, Issue 30, pp. 12235-12240 (2009)
Research by John E. Dore, Roger Lukas, Daniel W. Sadler, Matthew J. Church, and David M. Karl sheds light on short and long-term modulations of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. The team of researchers analyzed nearly twenty years worth of time series data (seawater pH and related statistics) at Station ALOHA near Hawaii and came to many important conclusions. In terms of short-term trends, they were able to establish a clear seasonal pattern in the pH of surface waters; the pH hits a peak during the winter (January to April) and hits a minimum during the summer (July to October). They also noted that the swings in pH were mirror images of the swings in water temperature (carbon dioxide is most soluble in water at low temperatures). In terms of long-term trends, they observed a rate of pH decline of about .0019 per year. These findings are quality additions to our knowledge of how ocean acidification functions.
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 113, C10031, doi:10.1029/2007JC004629, 2008
Over the past decade, Dwight K. Gledhill from the NOAA Nesdis Coral Reef Watch, has been following the trends in ocean acidification in the Greater Caribbean Regions. The absorption of carbon dioxide of the seawater causes a reduction in pH but also decreases the carbonate mineral saturation state, which is a factor in coral reef bleaching. Using in situ observations as well as remote sensing, they collected data on sea-surface alkalinity and partial pressure of CO2. The results revealed variability throughout the region, but despite the variability, a strong decrease in aragonite saturation state was observed.
Numerous studies have demonstrated a relationship between saturated aragonite (carbonate) levels and coral calcification. The findings and data reveal which parts of the Greater Caribbean Region have the highest decrease in saturated aragonite levels and thus which areas are most prone to coral bleaching due to ocean acidification.
Journal of Geophysical Research. Vol. 110. (2005).
Ken Caldeira, working at the Carnegie Institution, performed a study on ocean acidification that predicts the pH and aragonite saturation of the ocean in 2100 based on several different atmospheric carbon dioxide prediction models. He predicts aragonite will be undersaturated in the Southern Ocean by 2100. The model that predicts this happens to be one of the most conservative projections also. This leaves many to question whether ocean organisms will be able to sustain shell calcification past this date. This models predicting future pH measurements of the ocean are useful for other researchers. It gives them a good pH range to expose organisms to. The way they respond in the these environments will enable scientists to better understand organism specific responses to ocean acidification. The study also argues against the use of deep-sea carbon dioxide injection. Caldeira states that this will solve approximately ten percent of the problem but does not offer a better solution.
Public Opinion Quarterly. 71, 444–470 (2007).
Matthew Nisbet and Teresa Myers compiled 20 years of public opinion surveys regarding the issue of climate change providing the first “authoritative summary of their collective findings.” The surveys looked at public awareness and knowledge of global warming, their perceptions of the level of certainty among experts about the issue, their concern about the impacts, their support for policy action in light of economic costs, and support of the Kyoto climate treaty.
This study found that the amount of public awareness regarding the issue highly depends on media coverage, resulting in changing levels of awareness over the years. In addition, global warming usually remains at the lower end of the public’s worries, especially in comparison to water-related pollution. In regards to potential solutions, the general public tended to be more supportive of alternative energy sources and emission limits on industry and automobiles, however less inclined towards the use of nuclear energy and taxes on electricity and gasoline.
Is the response of coral calcification to seawater acidification related to nutrient loading?
Coral Reefs 30 (2011) 911–923
Ocean acidification, or the increasing concentration of CO2 in ocean water, has been shown to have a negative effect on coral calcification. Increasing CO2 lowers aragonite saturation state (Ω). Generally, Ω decreases linearly with calcification; however, in some cases, it has little or no effect on calcification. Can higher nutrient content be mitigating the negative effects of low Ω?
A study by Chauvin, Denis, and Cuet shows that nutrients do, in fact, play a role in promoting coral calcification in low Ω environments. Their experiment found that a modest nitrate addition increased calcification. Nitrates play a role in photosynthesis, and consequently promoted photosynthesis could be the factor directly stimulating calcification. These nutrient-enriched coral showed no relationship between calcification and Ω, suggesting that an excess nutrient environment compensates for low values of Ω. This evidence can be used to explain why some coral reef environments thrive even under low Ω conditions.