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Chapter 12- Climate Change

by: Elizabeth Rubio

Chapter 12- Climate Change GEOL 110

Elizabeth Rubio
Long Beach State

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Natural Disasters
Ewa Burchard
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth Rubio on Wednesday April 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOL 110 at California State University Long Beach taught by Ewa Burchard in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Natural Disasters in Geology at California State University Long Beach.

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Date Created: 04/27/16
(4­27)   Chapter 12: Climate Change  Tuvalu, South Pacific •One of the smallest nations on Earth –Located in South Pacific Ocean between Hawai’i and Australia –9 small islands, 6 are atolls –Polynesian settled the island about 2000 years ago •Highest elevation is about 4.5 m (~15 ft) above sea level –Average elevation is 1.8 m –Has experienced serious flooding in recent years during storms and high tide –Tuvalu may not be able to support its population in 50 to 100 years due to the rise in sea level 12.1 Global Change and Earth System Science: An Overview •Earth sciences –Two central goals 1.Understand how Earth works and how it has evolved from a landscape of barren rock to the  complex landscape dominated by the life we see today 2.Apply that understanding to better manage our environment –Now generally recognized that human activity effects are extensive and not just local or regional –Earth system science: study of how systems are linked to affect life on Earth •The atmosphere •The oceans •The land •The biosphere 12.2 Climate and Weather  •Climate refers to characteristic atmospheric conditions over a long period of time –Years or decades –Example: Pacific Northwest generally has mild temperatures, high humidity, and lots of rain •Weather refers to atmospheric conditions over short periods of time –Days or weeks –Example: Visiting Seattle for a week you may only experience bright, sunny, dry conditions Climate Zones •Temperature and precipitation simplest way to classify zones –However, it may be much more complex •Climate can be affected by processes and changes that maintain the climate system –Ocean currents –Mountain ranges –Plateaus Earth’s climate System and Natural Processes •Climate major influence on natural processes –Flooding dependent on rainfall amount and intensity –Landslides common in areas with rainy climates –Wildfires more likely in dry areas •Knowing the climate can indicate things about the hazards to expect •Climate classification supplies information about the relationship between climate and vegetation 12.3 The Atmosphere and the Cryosphere : Atmospheric Composition •Permanent gasses –Gasses whose proportions stay constant •Nitrogen and oxygen –Have little effect atmospherically •Variable gasses –Gasses whose proportions vary with time and space –Play important roles in atmospheric dynamics •Carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons. •Aerosols –Particles whose proportions vary with time and space Glaciations  •Cryosphere –The part of the hydrosphere where water stays frozen year­round –Permafrost, sea ice, ice caps, glaciers, and ice sheets •Glaciers flow from high areas to low areas under the weight of accumulated ice –Have budgets with inputs and outputs •New snow forms ice at high elevations •Ice melts, evaporates, and breaks off at lower elevations •Glaciers retreat and advance •Glacial intervals – Periods with major continental glaciations •Interglacial intervals –Warmer periods with less glaciations •Multiple advances and retreats of glaciers –Rare during Earth’s 4.6 billion year history –Several in the last 1 billion years –We are now living during one of those events that began 2.5 million years ago •Pleistocene Epoch –The last series of glacial and interglacial periods –Multiple ice ages –Glaciers covered 30 percent of Earth –Maximum extent 21,000 years ago –Global sea level >100 m (330 ft.) lower than today •Today –Glacial ice covers only about 10 percent of Earth –Nearly all the ice is contained in Antarctic ice sheet –In an interglacial interval •However, probably still living in a glacial event •Glacial Hazards –Glacier movement and melting have been responsible for property damage, injuries, and deaths –Hazards include: •People can fall into deep crevasses •Glacial Ice can fall from above •Can expand to overrun villages, etc •Produce an ice jam to cause flooding •Blocks of ice may fall off in avalanches •Calving produces icebergs in ocean


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