Climate Change Study Guide - K RISTIN C HEN B O PL2400 I...

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K C RISTIN HEN BI PL2400 O G W / B P —CLIMATECHANGE REEN ORLD LUE LANET Lecture 1 Important Questions Climate change vs. Global Warming Is the Earth getting Warmer? What is the Greenhouse Effect? Are changes caused by human activity? Can we prove climate change is happening? What can be done to reverse trends we are seeing? Climate Climate : the long term average of weather conditions at a particular location Weather : short term variations in atmospheric conditions at a particular location **the mean temperature has been increasing over the last 100 years How fast is the average temperature going up? 1 degree increase about 25 years since 1940 Earth is warming What is the cause of warming Does this increase in temperature prove that climate change is about to happen? Is this temperature change caused by man? The Greenhouse Effect A result of the atmosphere Heat that warms the earth comes from the sun Solar radiation passes through the surface warming the earth Some of that energy is reflected through the atmosphere However, because of the atmosphere green house gasses some of the radiation warms the earth Trapping of that heat by the atmosphere (infrared radiation) and reflects it back to the surface
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Temperatures has risen over the last 100 years Some of this is caused by human activity; some occurs naturally Most discussed causes include carbon dioxide and CO2 emissions - Released by burning fossil fuels: coal, oil - Correlated with destruction of plant life (removal of forests) - Burning plant material that has been sequestered and eliminating the means to remove CO2 from the atmosphere through deforestation Which greenhouse gases correlated with human activity? A: CO2 Carbon Dioxide levels have risen over the past 100 years Correlates with Human Activity and increases in temperatures Carbon Dioxide levels have correlated with earth’s temperature in the past Does this prove that Human activity is responsible for Global Warming?? Data doesn’t prove anything, just a correlation Temperature changes could cause variations in carbon dioxide concentrations Proving a direct cause and effect relationship would be difficult Scientific Method 1) Make observations, collect data and form a hypothesis 2) Form a hypothesis; form a testable prediction based on observations 3) Test your hypothesis with a controlled experiment 4) Collect data based on experimentation and modify hypothesis Drawbacks of Scientific Method Nothing is ever “proven” Collect more and more evidence to support hypothesis until it gains acceptance At what point do we say we have enough evidence and need to take action? Tends to de-emphasize the value of observations and discovery
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2009 for the course BIOPL 2400 taught by Professor Silva,t. during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Climate Change Study Guide - K RISTIN C HEN B O PL2400 I...

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