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The Climate System and Global Warming. Weather and Climate Basics Weather: Day to day variations in the earth’s atmosphere. Ex: Climate: Generalized weather.

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Presentation on theme: "The Climate System and Global Warming. Weather and Climate Basics Weather: Day to day variations in the earth’s atmosphere. Ex: Climate: Generalized weather."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Climate System and Global Warming

2 Weather and Climate Basics Weather: Day to day variations in the earth’s atmosphere. Ex: Climate: Generalized weather conditions of an area over a ________________ period of time. Ex: Yearly Averages: Arizona versus Pa. or Canada versus Brazil The engine that drives weather and climate = __________! Ex: 1000 billion tons of sea water is evaporated at the equator/day. Ex: 50,000 Thunderstorms Daily = 1 Billion Tons of TNT!

3 How is temperature related to air movement? Warmer air _____________. (less ____________) Cooler air ______________. (more ___________) Both of these factors create convection currents. What causes weather? The distribution of ____________ and ______________ around the earth by moving air masses. How are temperature and moisture of the air related? Warmer air has more _______________ and can hold more _______________ vapor. Cooler air has less ____________________ and holds less _________________vapor.

4 What conditions on the earth create wind? 1.Unequal heating of the earth’s surface. A ____________ equator and ____________ poles creates North/South winds. 2. Rotation of the earth on its axis. Creates _________ winds. 3. Unequal distribution of land and water. Land has a low Specific Heat Value ____________ up and _____________ down at a __________ pace. Water has a high Specific Heat Value and _______ up and ___________ down ________________. This creates regional wind conditions. What causes precipitation? It is formed when ________, _________ air meets _________, ___________ air. The warmer air loses _________ energy and its moisture condenses into precipitation. Problem at the Beach?


6 The Goldilocks Effect. The Perfect Greenhouse! 1. Venus: Very thick atmosphere with a high CO 2. (over 90%). Average Temperature: __________ 0 F 2. Mars: Very thin atmosphere with a very low CO 2 content. Average Temperature: __________ 0 F 3. Earth: Atmosphere that creates a greenhouse effect that supports life! CO 2 levels = 0.03% Average Temperature = ______ 0 F 1% CO 2 = ? What causes the seasons? The tilt of the earth’s axis! When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun: The N.H. receives ____________ solar radiation. (winter) When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun: The N.H. receives ____________ solar radiation. (summer)


8 What is a balanced global radiation budget? The amount of ___________ solar radiation is equal to the amount of radiation and heat _______ from the atmosphere. Climate Change in the Earth’s Past! 1. Fossils: Alligators in Greenland, Palm Trees in Chicago to 60 million years ago: The Age of Reptiles/Dinosaurs! Average Temps were ________ 0 F 3. The past 1 million years were dominated by Ice Ages! Average Temps were ______ 0 F 4. The Last 10,000 years has been a warm Interglacial Period. Nova: Physics of Greenhouse Effect

9 Evidence of Climate Change: The Fossil Record. Ex: Sea shells in deserts! Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. Ocean floor sediment cores. Coral Reef Growth Records.




13 How have climate changes affected life on earth? 1. Species either adapt to climate change or go ____________. 2. According to the fossil record, _______% of all species that have existed on the earth are now extinct. 3. If the climate changes __________, living species have more time to adapt. Ex: change over a thousand years. 4. Ice cores in Greenland suggest that some of the earth’s past climate changes have occurred violently fast. Ex: F over 50 years or F over 100 years!

14 What causes Climate Change? Activity: Mt. Pinatubo 1. Changes in _________________ Activity. 2. Periodic _______________ in the Earth’s Orbit or axis tilt. Milankovich Cycles: 22,000 yrs./42, 000 yrs. And 100,000 years cycle. (Film: Only One Atmosphere) 3. Volcanic Activity. Short Term Effects: Cooler climate. Ex: Mt. Pinatubo, Long Term Effects: Warming Effect/Increased CO Changes in atmospheric gas concentration. (Carbon Cycle) Plant life, the oceans and the world’s CO 2 cycle. 5. Ocean circulation (1000 year cycle) Ex: The Gulf Stream and Europe 6. Meteor Impacts



17 How do clouds affect our climate? 1. Water vapor is the #1 Greenhouse gas. 2. A warmer climate creates 2 possible future scenarios due to increased evaporation: A. More high, thin clouds = B. More low, thick clouds = This is a wild card that makes climate predictions difficult to make!

18 How do the world’s oceans affect our climate? 1.The world’s oceans are the earth’s great temperature stabilizer! They can trap and store an incredible amount of heat energy. Ex: The top 3 meters of the ocean can store as much heat as the entire atmosphere! 2. Oceans warm up very _________ and could _______ global warming. 3. If they do warm up, oceans cool down _________ and could ___________ global cooling. 4. We have already passed two major Thresholds: a) 1976: Increase in Tropical Pacific Waters F-77 0 F b) 1998: La Nina/El Nino Shift This is another wild card!


20 How is Human Activity affecting the world’s climate? 1. Releasing large amounts of _______ into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. (+23 billion tons per year) CO 2 = 85% of Global Warming Human Produced CO 2 lasts 100 years on average! 2. Releasing other greenhouse gases such as CFCs, Methane (15% Global Warming), NO X, etc. 3. ______________: reducing the size of the world’s great CO 2 consumer.

21 All Fossil Fuels & Energy Sectors Contribute CO 2 Emissions Industry 29% Industry 29% Commercial 18% Commercial 18% Residential 21% Transportation 32% Transportation 32% Oil 44% Oil 44% Coal 36% Coal 36% Natural Gas 20% AEO2007 United States Carbon Dioxide Emissions (By Source & Sector)


23 Charles Keating Data

24 CO 2 Concentrations On The Rise (~280 ppm to 370 ppm over last 100 years) Temperature Change from Present ( o C) Time Before Present (kyr) CO 2 Concentration (ppmv)  T atm (Vostok) CO 2 (Vostok)

25 Predicting the future: A tough job! * Scientists at 14 different international climate research centers are using computer models to try to predict climate change over the next years. Accurate computer models are beginning to emerge. Opposing Viewpoints: Readings and Interesting Web Sites! Science Export Report: Scientific Controversy on Global Warming

26 Film: Global Warming

27 What are the possible consequences of a warmer climate? 1. Melting glaciers and polar ice caps causing __________sea levels and coastal __________________. Last Ice Age: 300 ft drop in sea levels. Greenland Ice Melt = 23 ft rise Antarctic Ice Melt = 200+ ft rise Release of more Methane? Film: Only One Atmosphere Philly and Sea Level Change?


29 5. The spread of _______________________ diseases such as malaria. 6. Loss of ______________ and Natural Ecosystems ______________. Ex: Coral Reef Failure by 2030 Vimeo Video: Coral Reefs Ex: Collapse of the Amazon Rain Forest 7. Oceans becoming warmer and more Acidic. 8. Could we actually cause Global Cooling? 2. Loss of farmland due to ____________ and __________________. 3. Loss of _________________________ water supplies. 4. An _____________________ in severe weather such as hurricanes.

30 A Look to the Future! 1. Atmospheric CO 2 Concentration Levels: Ice Age 20,000 Years Ago: 160 ppm Pre-Industrial 1800: 280 ppm Today: 380 ppm Projected 2050: 450 ppm Projected ppm 2. The natural forces of nature dominate climate change. 3. World Scientific Community Consensus: Human activity is affecting the earth’s climate! Could some parts of the world Benefit from global warming? Canada and Heating Bills, Russia and Farming?

31 4. We are currently in a warming trend! Evidence? A) 1 0 F increase over the past 100 years. (Europe, US West, Australia, Africa) contained the 10 warmest years on record. B) An average 8” rise in worldwide sea levels/past 100 years C) Worldwide retreat of sea-ice and glaciers. Arctic Ice Cover: –8% over 30 Years A loss of 380,000 square miles of ice cover. D) The oceans are getting warmer. Arctic and Antarctic are warming at a faster rate. E) Coral Reefs are dying from warmer temperatures. 80% loss in the Caribbean over 30 years 5. The Big Question? How much will the climate change and how fast will it happen? Latest Climate Computer Models suggest F /100 yrs. Activity: Carbon Footprint and Global Warming Solutions


33 Science Expert: International Global Warming Treaty

34 What are the prospects for International Cooperation? The 1997 Kyoto World Global Warming Treaty An international agreement for worldwide CO 2 emissions cuts. What were the conditions of the treaty? 1. MDC Emissions cuts by 35 countries by the year Ex: USA 7% below 1990 levels Ex: Europe 8% and Japan 6% below 1990 levels 2. LDC Emissions cuts are strictly voluntary. 3. Emissions Trading: Credits can be bought and sold between countries 4. Possible Rewards for preserving or planting forests and agriculture. 5. Penalties to be decided later.

35 Current Status of the treaty? 1. The former Bush Administration and the U.S. Senate have said no to the treaty. 2. Most of the countries of the world have ratified the treaty and are working to reach the treaties goals. Total # of Countries to ratify the treaty = 160 Nations, including 34 MDC’s. 3. Negotiations have begun to look at CO 2 emissions cuts after Reading:

36 Results of the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations December Reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases to limit global warming to 2 degrees C or 3.6 degrees F above preindustrial levels. 2.It is a non-binding agreement. MDC’s and LDC’s must list their individual emissions targets and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ex: USA 17% cut below 2005 emissions by 2020 China 45% “ “ “ “ “ “ India 25% “ “ “ “ “ “ Europe 20% cut below 1990 emissions by MDC’s have pledged $$Billions to help LDC’s adjust to climate Change total countries have signed the Copenhagen Accord. 5. Negotiations will continue in Mexico City in December, 2010.

37 How could U.S. ratification of a Global Warming Treaty affect our lives in the next 5-10 years? Risk/Benefit and Cost/Benefit Analysis 1. Could slow down the economy due to higher energy costs. 2. Could produce unfair economic competition from the LDCs. 3. It will be expensive to switch to cleaner, more energy efficient technologies. Ex: Autos with higher MPG or Building Wind Farms 4. 5.

38 How would U.S. ratification of the treaty affect us in the Long term (10-50 years)? 1.A decrease in tropospheric air pollution such as acid rain and smog. 2. A reduced potential of global warming. 3.The use of more sustainable, energy efficient technologies would save $ and help the economy in the long term. Ex: U.S Economic expansion with lower per capita energy consumption Ex: Britain 14% CO2 cut with 36% economic growth in last decade. 4.It could decrease US dependence on foreign oil supplies. 5.

39 Some Final Notes! 1. World Economic Summit of 1000 CEOs of 1000 of the Worlds largest Corporations. Unanimous decision: Global warming is the #1 threat to the environment and human society. Ex: US Firms already cutting emissions: Texaco, Exxon, GM, Ford, Compaq, Air Products, Dupont, 3M Corp., Xerox, Cinergy, GE, Alcoa, BP Website: US Climate Action Partnership 2. Many U.S. Businesses see Carbon Regulations as a reality. They want the government to provide clear guidelines to help them with future planning. What do U.S. Insurance Companies want? What does Exelon Energy want?

40 4. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are negotiating a U.S. Climate Bill. 5. California has passed it’s own Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Laws. Nine North Eastern States are planning to do the same. Also, Montgomery County, Pa?? Also, NJ plans to cut 80% by 2050! 6. U.S. Supreme Court Decision supports the U.S. EPA: CO 2 can be regulated as an air pollutant!




44 Cost/Benefit Analysis: Steps to Slow Global Warming

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