midterm 2008 - Midterm October24,20089:3510:25...

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ENVR 200-01 The Global Environment Mid-term October 24, 2008 9:35-10:25 Note: Each of the 4 questions is worth 10. However, you only answered 3. Thus, your exam  was marked out of 30. HOWEVER, your webCT grade is out of 20 because the midterm is  worth 20% of your final mark. Model answers with points indicated.  1. Water vapor and carbon dioxide are two of the most important greenhouse gases in our  atmosphere:    a) Briefly discuss which of these gases is a larger contributor to greenhouse warming, making  sure to justify your answer. [L6] 5 points : Water Vapor is significantly more abundant than Carbon Dioxide ( 1.5 points ), and  effectively absorbs infrared radiation over a much wider range of wavelengths than Carbon  Dioxide ( 1.5 points ), making it a larger contributor to greenhouse warming ( 2 points ).   b) In order to accurately predict the future climate, the feedback mechanisms associated with  both of these gases must be correctly replicated by our Global Circulation Models (GCM’s).  Discuss what these feedback mechanisms are in relation to water vapor, and how this can  lead to uncertainties in our projections of future climate. [L12] 5 points:   As the earth warms, more evaporation results in more water vapor. This should  increase the absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere resulting in a positive feedback  ( 1 point ). However, more water vapor can result in more clouds. If the majority of the  increased cloud cover is in the form of low clouds, a temperature decrease will result due to  increased albedo ( 1.5 points ). However, if they are high clouds, a temperature increase will  result ( 1.5 points ). Therefore, future predictions of climate are dependent on the ability of our  GCMs to correctly replicate changes in cloud cover ( 1 point ). Marks were taken off if you did not specifically indicate which type of cloud went with which  effect on temperature ( -0.5  for each type that was wrong or not mentioned).
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