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Climate Change Science: What we know today and future impacts Tim Killeen Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research President, AGU.

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Presentation on theme: "Climate Change Science: What we know today and future impacts Tim Killeen Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research President, AGU."— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate Change Science: What we know today and future impacts Tim Killeen Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research President, AGU

2 Overview Why climate change science in the classroom? Climate versus Weather Climate Models Climate Change Observations IPCC 4 th Assessment Summary for Policy Makers Future Impacts Annual layers of ice, Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru Courtesy of Lonnie Thompson

3 It’s warmer on average across the globe than it was a half century ago. Globally averaged, the planet is about 0.75°C warmer than it was in 1860, based upon dozens of high-quality long records using thermometers worldwide, including land and ocean. Random chance of 11 of the last 12 years being among 12 warmest: less than 1:100,000

4 Why Focus on Climate Change? Societal Relevance National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) Interdisciplinary content spans broad spectrum of the geosciences Opportunities for authentic inquiry-based learning  A focus area providing opportunity for students to engage in research-driven learning with high motivation in an interdisciplinary context. Polar bears on melting ice berg in Beaufort Sea, 2004 Courtesy Environment Canada

5 Relevance of Climate Change to the NSES Unifying concepts and processes Science as Inquiry Physical Science Life Science Earth and Space Science Science and Technology Science in Personal and Social Perspectives History and Nature of Science

6 NSES Content Standards, Grades 5-8 Unifying Concepts and Processes Systems, order, and organization Evidence, models, and explanation Change, constancy, and measurement Evolution and equilibrium Science as Inquiry Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry Understandings about scientific inquiry Physical Science Properties and changes of properties in matter Motions and forces Transfer of energy Life Science Populations and ecosystems Diversity and adaptations of organisms Earth and Space Science Structure of the Earth system Earth’s history Earth in the solar system Science and Technology Understandings about science and technology Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Populations, resources, and environments Natural hazards Risks and benefits Science and technology in society History and Nature of Science Science as a human endeavor Nature of science History of science

7 NSES Content Standards, Grades 9-12 Unifying Concepts and Processes Systems, order, and organization Evidence, models, and explanation Change, constancy, and measurement Evolution and equilibrium Science as Inquiry Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry Understandings about scientific inquiry Physical Science Chemical reactions Motions and forces Conservation of energy and increase in disorder Interactions of energy and matter Life Science Biological evolution Interdependence of organisms Behavior of organisms Earth and Space Science Energy in the Earth system Geochemical cycles Origin and evolution of the Earth system Science and Technology Understandings about science and technology Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Population growth Natural resources Environmental quality Natural and human- induced hazards Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges History and Nature of Science Science as a human endeavor Nature of scientific knowledge Historical perspectives

8 Climate Global climate is driven by energy from the Sun and modulated by atmospheric composition

9 The average weather for a region over a long period of time – 30 years or more Determined by latitude, altitude, topography, proximity to oceans/position in land mass Characterized by temperature, winds, and rainfall

10 You buy clothes based on climate You wear clothes based on weather

11 The Challenge of Simulating the Global Earth System Atmosphere HydrosphereCryosphereBiosphere

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14 Timeline of Climate Model Development

15 R15T42 T85 T170 Model Resolutions

16 Climate System Models

17 ~ highest level of CO 2 over past 400 Kyrs Increase in temperature tracks carbon emissions and CO 2

18 CO 2, CH 4 and temperature records from Antarctic ice core data Source: Vimeu et al., 2002, 100’s of thousands of years:Ice Core Data today450,000 yrs agotime

19 Glaciers are Retreating Globally In Switzerland… In Alaska…

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21 Qori Kalis Glacier, Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru between 1978 and Courtesy of L. Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center

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25 Permafrost in the Arctic is melting, leading to infrastructure damage as well as disrupting subsistence life styles

26 Ice is breaking up earlier on rivers and lakes in the spring around the world

27 Rise in Global Mean Sea Level

28 250 Year Record of Leafing Out Date of English Oaks

29 Natural Variations do not explain observed climatic change Climate models with natural forcing (including volcanic and solar) do not reproduce warming When increase in greenhouse gases is included, models do reproduce warming Addition of increase in aerosols (cooling) improves agreement

30 IPCC 4 th Assessment Summary for Policy Makers, 2007

31 NCAR Simulations: A Door Ajar! Abrupt Transitions in the Summer Sea Ice Observations Simulated 5-year running mean Gradual forcing results in abrupt Sept ice decrease Extent decreases from 80 to 20% coverage in 10 years. “Abrupt” transition

32 20,000 years ago2200? ( + 5 meters) Past and Future Rise in Sea Level

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34 Zwally et al., (2002) Science Alley et al. (2005) Science Multiple new dynamic mechanisms for increased ice sheet sensitivity to surface warming have been discovered

35 Location and frequency of glacial earthquakes on Greenland. Seismic magnitudes are in range 4.6 to 5.1. Source: Ekstrom, Nettles and Tsai, Science, 311, 1756, Earthquake LocationsAnnual Number of Quakes* * 2005 bars capture only first 10 months of 2005 Glacial Earthquakes on Greenland

36 CLIMATE CHANGE Temperature Rise 1 Sea level Rise 2 Extreme Weather Events Heat Respiratory diseases Vector-borne Diseases Water-borne Diseases Changes in water availability, infrastructure & food supply Environmental Refugees Heat Stress Mortality Urban Heat islands Ozone Malaria Dengue West Nile Virus Encephalitis Hantavirus Rift Valley Fever Cholera Cyclospora Cryptosporidiosis Campylobacter Leptospirosis Waste System failure Runoff Diarrhea Toxic Red Tides Malnutrition Forced Migration Overcrowding Infectious diseases Health Effect of Climate Change Health Effect of Climate Change

37 Climate Myths Climate has always varied (yes, but a lot of that variability was forced and we know what is forcing current change). The upper atmosphere isn’t warming - it’s only the surface (bad data was confusing for a while….this is not true). The sun is causing the current changes (the sun hasn’t changed in recent decades - neither brightness nor cosmic rays nor length of the cycle…). Greenhouse gases are natural (sure, but look at how they’ve changed). Water vapor is the dominant GHG (sure, but it responds to changes in climate - it doesn’t force them…). Good things are happening - longer growing season at mid- latitudes, etc. (good things aren’t happening everywhere).

38 Some Great Websites on Climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)- US Global Change Research Program (lots of good stuff)- World Health Organization (WHO) - US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – National Snow and Ice Data Center (great cryosphere data)- National Center for Atmospheric Research Climate and Global Dynamics - Climate HotSpots Map (AMAZING!)- Vital Climate Graphics (Great ppt Graphics)- World View of Global Warming (photos)- Exploratorium Global Change Research Explorer - Global Environmental Change and Our Health - NCAR Education and Outreach Website –

39 We have a duty to all the world’s people… and especially to the children of the world, to whom the future belongs - UN Millennium Goals Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored Aldous Huxley


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