a young computer programmer, has won the lottery. After taxes, he
will be getting enough money to realize his life's dream: to buy
and operate a wheat farm in Kansas. Ever since he was a boy visiting
his grandparent's farm, Jim has dreamed of enjoying the outdoors
and the satisfaction of planting and harvesting wheat. Now that
he can realize this dream, his wife has readily agreed that they
should begin to plan their life on a farm.
Oddly enough, at just
about the same time that Jim won the lottery, he happened to pick
up a magazine that suggested some American farms may be in jeopardy
from Mother Nature. The article discussed the greenhouse effect
and global climate change. It stated that levels of atmospheric
carbon dioxide--a greenhouse gas--have increased significantly over
the past several decades. Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon
dioxide may have dramatic effects on the Earth's climate, such as
changes in precipitation and temperature patterns. If predicted
changes come about, in 50 years farmers may see significant declines
in the yields of wheat crops in the areas Jim had considered for
his farm. This news was disturbing because Jim had hoped to find
a farm that would provide not only for him and his wife, but also
for his children's future benefit as well.
Jim and his wife have
come to your firm, Earth Systems Science Environmental Research
(ESSER) for technical advice. They want to make sure they are making
a good investment. Using historical and predicted data provided
in the "Remote Sensing" puzzle piece of this module, perform
an Earth systems science analysis in order to determine how the
yield of hard red winter wheat in Kansas will be affected by increased
concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide as a result of its
impacts on the four spheres. Provide recommendations or solutions
as to whether or not Kansas wheat farmers will be able to maintain
the current yields of this variety of wheat 50 years from now.
Global Environmental Research (GER) has been approached by a group
of Kansas wheat farmers who are concerned that predicted increases
in atmospheric carbon dioxide may affect the climate in their
region and may thereby have an adverse impact on their livelihood.
They have been getting more and more information from agricultural
research journals that suggests that global warming could
lead to a decline in Kansas the yield of hard red winter wheat crops.
They want you to evaluate the situation and determine whether or
not there will be a significant change in carbon dioxide, precipitation,
and/or temperature over the next 50 years. Based on your findings,
they also would like you to make recommendations on the issue of
whether they will be able to maintain the current yields of hard
red winter wheat 50 years from now.
Photo: A fleet of combines harvesting
wheat. Photo courtesy of the Denver Post.
As part of your evaluation,
perform an Earth systems science analysis to determine the impacts
of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on the Earth's spheres.
What--if any--changes have occurred in the Earth's spheres that
support the hypothesis that global climate change is occurring at
an increasingly rapid rate? How can such changes affect hard red
winter wheat yield in Kansas?
First, you will
do an Earth system science analysis. Then, you will make
predictions, based on the results of the ESS analysis, concerning
the future of the growth of hard-red wheat in Kansas 50 years in the
Following the steps
below will help you to accomplish your task.
1 - List what is known.
2 -- List what is needed.
3 -- Gather information to complete an ESS analysis.
I Event Sphere
II Sphere Sphere
4 -- Present your findings.