Lecture 35

Lecture 35 - Lecture 35 What will happen if CO2 in the atmosphere doubles in concentration The geological record tells us that high concentrations

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Lecture 35: What will happen if CO 2 in the atmosphere doubles in concentration? The geological record tells us that high concentrations of atmospheric CO 2 normally are associated with warm(er) planetary temperatures. But, what really happens when CO 2 concentrations rise? Does this really cause temperatures to rise? When? How fast? How do we know?
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What Causes What? We have commented repeatedly about the relationship between higher greenhouse gas (GG) concentrations (especially CO 2 ) and warmer planetary temperatures. The question has always arisen - what causes what? It is hard to answer that question for pre-Holocene times. The reason is we want to know cause and effect. Did GG increase and then temperature or visa versa? We will never have good enough records of ancient climate changes (and their details) to answer that question. Records of climate changes in the Holocene, and especially in the last 1-2000 years, have the best chance of answering such questions because we have better detail in the climate/environment records and better age control.
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Two Ways to Estimate CO 2 Effects There are two general strategies (not completely separate) for estimating the relationship(s) between greenhouse gas variations and global temperature variations. First, we can get very good proxy or instrumental records of climate change that let us track the actual variations in GG and temperature to see which causes which. Ideally this methodology should also document how one causes the other. We will call this the records-based method.
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This note was uploaded on 05/08/2009 for the course GEOL 150Lxg taught by Professor Stott during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Lecture 35 - Lecture 35 What will happen if CO2 in the atmosphere doubles in concentration The geological record tells us that high concentrations

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