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The Blue Planet - The Blue Planet Earth System Science...

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The Blue Planet January 22, 2008 Earth System Science – Studying the entire earth as a whole Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold Climate: Average weather patterns in a region Anthropogenic: Human-caused Jared Diamond – Collapse Ozone – three oxygen atoms. Blocks harmful UV radiation from reaching the earth’s surface -Chloroflourocarbons break down the ozone molecules -1987 Montreal protocol that banned use of ozone destroying CFC’s Deforestation creates loss of biodiversity (plant and animal species) 1. Global environmental change 2. Paleoclimate – ancient climate – how has the earth’s climate changed in the past 3. Systems ***Read chapter one January 24, 2008 Global Change on short time scales Global Warming -When people speak of g.w. they usually are referring to anthropogenic climate change -NOAA- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -Charles David Keeling – in the 50’s started to measure concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. The graph of concentration produced illustrated the ‘Keeling curve”, and showed co2 levels steadily rising each year (measured in parts per million (ppm)) -CO2 levels have increased by 70 ppm since 1958 – 1.4 ppm per year -Scientists drill into ice in Antarctica and use ‘ice cores’ to measure CO2 levels and other things in the past hundreds of years, back to 1000 AD. Results show a sharp spike in CO2 concentration starting in the early 19 th century, coinciding with the industrial revolution and the beginning of the use of fossil fuels. About a 30% rise in CO2 concentration. -People have been measuring surface temperature reliably for about 150 years. 20 th century has seen a surface temperature rise of 1.3 degrees farenheit
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-Around 1500-1850 climate was fairly cool – “The little ice age” Greenhouse effect -Suns energy travels through space, reaches us through transparent atmosphere. -Certain gases in atmosphere trap sun’s heat energy (infrared energy) -Nitrogen and oxygen good gases – transparent to visible light and heat energy -Carbon dioxide, methane, even water vapor, all greenhouse gases -No scientific controversy over the greenhouse effect -Life on earth depends on greenhouse effect – without greenhouse gases earth’s surface would be frozen January 29, 2008 Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Geosphere, Biosphere, cryosphere February 5 th 2008 Albedo: surface reflectivity snow: .08 dark surface: .1, .2 Reason why the earth gets heat is light energy from the sun Electromagnetic radiation: Self-propogating electric and magnetic wave that’s similar to pond waves. Light is an example of this. Frequency – the number of cycles per second (cycle: crest to crest) measured in hertz. (Hz or greek letter “nu”) Wave speed of light traveling in a vacuum is the speed of light (c). constant in a vacuum 3x10 to the 8 th meters per second. Other waves’ speed depends on wave size. Get speed by doing dimensional
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