The presentation started with a piece of music.

The presentation started with a piece of music.
It began in the low baritones of a stringed instrument and began to grow higher and higher in pitch.
Each note represented a temperature reading for one year on the earth. The music ended with a high squeal.
In the next couple decades it is projected the sounds that would represent the temperatures will be too high for the humans to hear, said John Harrington Jr., a professor at Kansas State University and an expert on climate change.
Harrington presented a lecture Sunday at the McPherson Museum on climate change in conjunction with an exhibit on the same subject at the museum.
Science is developing more sophisticated tools to measure climate changes.
Harrington said it is important to note climate is not the same as weather.
Imagine a cloud with many points within it. One side of the cloud represents energy, one side represents by wind and one side is represents precipitation.
One point in the cloud is a single weather event like a rain storm. All the points in the cloud represent climate. When the whole cloud shifts over time, that is climate change.
Since 1880, the average earth temperature has trended upward. Scientists have been able to draw a parallel between increases in temperature and carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.
The sun radiates heat to the earth surface, and a portion of that heat is trapped by the earth’s atmosphere. The carbon dioxide works like a blanket, trapping more energy in the atmosphere.
The only thing scientists have observed that has reduced this effect is major volcanic eruptions.
On a global scale, this warming effect can be seen apparently in the shrinking of the ice sheet and glaciers.
Although Kansas may not have glaciers, researchers in K-State Agronomy Department indicate Kansas’ winter wheat crop may come under threat in the future if the warming trend continues.
Harrington showed a variety of charts and graphs showing the trend upward in global temperature. It does not follow a straight line. It has many ups and downs within the trend line.
However, Harrington said global warming is not a theory.
Unfortunately, people in certain industries have paid people to perpetuate a misinformation campaign so people will not act.
Those who wish to read more on this campaign can read “Merchants of Doubt” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.
“There are some ethical issues here,” Harrington said. “We are handing to our children and grandchildren a problem we crated and we can do something to slow now.”
There are two ways to deal with climate change — one: carbon dioxide removal; or two: solar radiation management, which would mean putting something into the atmosphere.
The majority of scientist advocate controlling the amount carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere.
With more and more people living on the planet, the warming curve continues to grow at a faster rate.
The earth naturally processes the carbon dioxide but at a very slow rate.
If you put 100 carbon dioxide molecules into the air, the trees, vegetation and oceans will only pull 50 molecules out in 20 years. In 100 years, there will still be 33 molecules in the atmosphere.
“This a problem that my kids’ grandkids will be left to deal with,” he said.
In 1,000 years, there would still be 19 molecules in the atmosphere.
“Some people wonder if there will be a point when the process will slow down, and they will become saturated. This is one giant planetary experiment,” he said.
About 85 to 90 percent of the earth’s extra energy ends up in the oceans. So how do you explain cold temperatures that have been ravaging the northeast?
Harrington described it like cold toes.
“Just because my wife has cold toes, I don’t judge her whole body temperature on her cold toes,” he said.
In Kansas, the warming trend could be as much as 9 percent by the mid-21st century.
This could mean more drought, fewer and heavier rain events and overall less soil moisture, which could have a tremendous effect on agriculture.
At one time, scientists’ data indicated climate change could be humans’ fault, but today we know it is, Harrington said.
Harrington ended with a quote from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most responsive to change.”
The Climate & Energy Central exhibit will be at the McPherson Museum until April 20. For more information on the exhibit, call 620-241-8464 or visit