Environment 101- Chapter 14
Environment 101- Chapter 14 ENVIR 101 002
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Vagnoni on Tuesday March 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENVIR 101 002 at University of South Carolina taught by Daniel Taylor Brantley (P) in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 67 views. For similar materials see Intro to Environment in Art at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 03/29/16
March 19, 2016 Environment Chapter 14- Climate Change Central Case Study: Rising Seas May Flood the Maldives Tourists think the Maldives Islands are a paradise Rising seas due to global climate change could submerge them o Flood areas, erode beaches o Damage coral reegs Residents have evacuated the lowest-lying islands Small nations do not cause climate change o Yet they suffer Coastal areas around the world will face challenges from rising sea levels Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was a wake-up call o Affected New York, New Jersey and other states What is Climate Change? Climate change is the fastest-developing area of environmental science Climate An area’s long-term atmospheric conditions Temperate, precipitation, wind, humidity, etc Weather o Short-term conditions at localized sites Global climate change Describes modifications in Earth’s climate Changes in temperature, precipitation, storm Global warming and climate change are nearly the same Global Warming An increase in Earth’s average temperature Only one aspect of climate change Earth’s climate has varied naturally through times o Today’s climate change is happening at an extremely rapid rate o Due to human fossil fuel use and deforestation Understanding climate change requires understanding how our planet’s climate Three factors influence Earth’s climate The sun o Without it, earth would be dark and frozen o It supplies most of earth’s energy The atmosphere o Without it Earth’s temperature would be much colder o Clouds, land, ice, and water absorb 70% of incoming solar radiation o The remaining 30% is reflected back into space The oceans o Shape climate by storing and transporting heat and moisture Greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere As Earth’s surface absorbs solar radiation, the surface temperature increases and emits infrared radiation Greenhouse gases Atmospheric gases that absorb infrared radiation Water vapor, ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methan, halocarbons, Greenhouse gases re-emit infrared energy Some energy is lost to space Greenhouse effect o The energy that travels downward warms the atmosphere and the planet’s surface Greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere Greenhouse gases differ in their ability to warm the trophopshere and surface Global warming potential o The relative ability of one molecule of a greenhouse gas to contribute to warning Carbon dioxide contributes most to the greenhouse effect o It is less potent, but far more abundance, than other ases o The major type of human-causes emissions Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising fast Methane o Fossil fuels, livestock, landfills, crops o Levels have increased 2.6 times since 1750 Nitrous oxide o Feedlots, chemicals manufacturing plants, auto emissions, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers o Levels have risen 20% since 1750 Ozone o Levels have risen 36% because of photochemical smog o The Montreal Protocol has reduced halocartons Water vapor o The most abundant greenhouse gas o Contributes most to the natural greenhouse effect o But concentrations have not changed Other factors warm or cool the surface Aerosols o Microscopic droplets and particles o They have either a warming or cooling effect Soot (black carbon aerosols) causes warning by absorbing solar energy o But most tropospheric aerosols cool the atmosphere by reflecting the sun’s rays Sulfate aerosols from fossil fuel combustion making slow global warning, at least in the short term o Volcanic eruptions reduce sunlight reaching Earth’s surface and cool the Earth Climate varies naturally for several reasons Solar output o The sun varies in the radiation it emits o Variation in solar energy has not been great enough to change Earth’s temperature o Radiative forcing is 0.05 watts/m2- less than any human- made causes Ocean absorption o Ocean holds 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere o Slows global warming but does not prevent it o As oceans warm, they absorb less CO2, accelerating warming Direct measurements tell us about the present We document daily fluctuations in weather o Temperature, rainfall, wind, speed, air pressure Ocean and atmospheric chemistry were first measured in 1958 Hourly air samples from mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii show that