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Climate Change

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Justin Bigelow

on 16 December 2016

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Transcript of Climate Change

Climate Change: The Causes and Effects
Intricate balance of many different components
Driven by solar radiation from sun
Heat absorbed or radiated is moderated by atmosphere
Atmospheric composition keeps climate mild
Climate System
It's a matter of time!
Weather- measured over short periods of time (NOT FORECAST!)
minutes, days, and weeks
daily/hourly temp, precip, sunshine, wind speed, cloud cover, blizzards, ice storms, and thunderstorms
Climate- weather "patterns" over a long period of time
years, decades, centuries
average of weather over
Climate variability- periodic changes related to atmospheric gases volcanic eruptions, or other changes in the Earth system.
Weather vs Climate
Major Gases
Do not vary much
Little effect on climate
Nitrogen (N ) 78%
Oxygen (O ) 21%
Argon (Ar) < 1%
Atmosphere Composition
Minor Gases
Vary greatly
Can affect climate
Carbon Dioxide (CO )
Water Vapor (H O)
Methane (CH )
Sulfur Dioxide (SO )
Ozone (O )
Minor Components are our "greenhouse" gases
Benefit Earth by warming atmosphere
33 Celsius/59 Fahrenheit cooler
Very small amounts have large effects
Small increases cause increased surface temps
Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse Gases Cause The Greenhouse Effect
Have ability to absorb heat energy
Allow certain wavelengths/freq. of light in
Visible and (some) Ultraviolet

Absorb the converted radiation by the surface
Warm atmosphere..."Greenhouse Effect"
Caused by vibrating greenhouse gas molecules
Volcanic Eruptions
Ocean Currents
Sea Land Ice
Earth Orbital Changes
Natural Climatic Forces
Throws large volumes of sulphur dioxide (SO2), water vapor, dust, and ash into the atmosphere
Increases planetary reflectivity
production of aerosols=cooling
production of CO2=insignificant
greater CO2 by humans
Oceanic Currents
Planet wide movement of water
Disperse heat around globe
Wind drives surface currents
Deep currents..
warm water to poles/cold water to equator
Balanced by salinity (salt content)
Imbalance in salinity=ice age
Orbital Changes
Earths tilt can effect seasonal strength and variations
more tilt means warmer summers and colder winters
less tilt means cooler summers and milder winters
Milankovitch Cycles/Theory
Earth wobbles between 22 and 25 degrees every 41,000 years
Changes angle of solar rays intensifying seasonal temp changes
Cool summers allow snow & ice to last in high latitudes,
Over thousands of years... build up causes growing ice sheets.
Greater amount of world's land mass in northern hemisphere
Positive feedback:
More snow & ice = increased reflecting of solar energy into space
Causes additional cooling = building ice age
Most of the sun’s energy reaches Earth in the form of visible light.
Water Vapor
Increased temperature increases evaporation

More water vapor = More absorbed energy
More absorbed energy = Increased temps

Greenhouse Gas G.W. Potential Concentration
Carbon Dioxide 1 384.8 ppm
Methane 25 1741-1865 ppb
Nitrous Oxide 298 332 ppb
CFC 4,750 - 10,900 242-538 ppt
Note: The “global warming potential” compares
the heat-trapping behavior of each gas to that of
carbon dioxide, which is assigned a value of 1
Carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere directly through photosynthesis occurring on land.
Carbon dioxide is released through fires and volcanism. as well as respiration and decomposition
Flows and Sinks
Sulfur condenses into finer particles (sulfate aerosols)
Reflect radiation from sun...
CO2 is released - greenhouse effect.
Ash falls quickly (days-weeks)
Carbon Dioxide
Largest %
Lowest GWP
Natural Fluctuations- Keeling Curve
Flows through carbon cycle
2nd largest %
21 times higher GWP than CO2

Fluorinated Gases
Largest GWP
Smallest % value of atmosphere
Banned CFC's
Created HFC's

Sea Ice
2 fold effect on oceans and atmosphere/climate:
Heat Absorption-
Increase in ice= heat absorbed
cooling of oceans
Decrease in ice= less absorbed
warming of oceans
Increase in ice= increased solar reflectivity
cooler oceans less absorbed IR
cooler atmosphere less absorbed IR
Decrease in ice= increased solar absorption
warmer oceans more absorbed IR
warmer atmosphere more absorbed IR
Factors Affecting Photons
& Temperatures
1. Outer Atmosphere Reflection...

2. Clouds...

3. Surface Reflection (albedo)...

4. Absorption/Conversion...
Most abundant greenhouse gas
Has a Positive Feedback Loop:
Warmer air holds more water vapor
Full transcript