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Chapter 3: Climate Change and the Energy Transition.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: Climate Change and the Energy Transition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3: Climate Change and the Energy Transition

2 “Ever since civilization began, each generation has left the next a planet similar to the one it inherited. Our generation may be the first to abandon that tradition.”

3 Evidence of Climate Change Earth’s average temperature has risen 0.6°C since 1970 Projected to rise by up to 6°C by the end of the century Sea level rose 7 inches in the 20 th century Projected to rise 3 to 6 feet by the the end of the century

4 Causes of Warming Greenhouse gases: CO2 = 63% Methane = 18% Nitrous oxide = 6% Other gases = 13%  Atmospheric Brown Clouds

5 Sources of Carbon Electricity generation, heating, transportation and industry Only about 5 million tons are absorbed by oceans, soil and vegatation, the rest remains in atmosphere In 2008: 7.9 billion tons emitted by burning of fossil fuels 1.5 billion tons emitted by deforestation Total of 9.4 billion tons

6 Sources of Methane Mostly human caused through agriculture Landfills Thawing of permafrost Arctic soil contains more carbon than currently resides in the atmosphere Problem: permafrost is melting

7 Sources of Atmospheric Brown Clouds Soot particles from burning coal, diesel fuel and wood Affect climate in 3 ways: 1)Intercept sunlight, heating upper atmosphere 2)Reflect sunlight, lowering earth’s surface temperature 3)When deposited, darken surfaces and accelerate melting  Particular concern over Tibetan Plateau, Himilayas, Sierra Nevadas

8 Effects of Climate Change Diminish crop yields  lower food production Melt mountain glaciers  feeding rivers Generate more destructive storms Increase severity of floods Intensify drought Cause more frequent/destructive wildfires Alter ecosystems worldwide  loss of species

9 Melting ice, Rising seas Rapid shrinking of the Earth’s 2 largest ice sheets Greenland, potential to raise sea level by 23 ft West Anarctica, potential to raise by 16 ft

10 The Arctic Region Arctic is warming 2x faster than the rest of the planet In surrounding regions (Alaska, western Canada, eastern Russia) winter temperatures have risen 3-4°C over last half century 1979-2006, summer sea ice shrinkage accelerated to 9.1%/decade 2007 (record melt year), sea ice shrank to an area some 20% smaller than the previous melt record in 2005 Multiyear sea ice is not recovering in winter

11 Albedo Effect Self – reinforcing trend, accelerating melt Typically, when sunlight strikes sea ice, 30% is absorbed and 70% is reflected back As ice melts, sunlight hits darker surface of water and 94% is absorbed and only 6% is reflected back

12 Greenland April 2004-April 2006, lost ice 2.5x faster than in preceding two years Ice melt seeps through cracks in glacier, lubricating surface between glacier and rock  accelerating glacial flow and calving Huge masses of ice falling into sea are causing minor earthquakes

13 NASA Satellite Data 2007 – ice shelves shrank by 24 square miles 2008 – ice shelves shrank by 71 square miles

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