CHAPTER 14 notes - Our dynamic climate o CHAPTER 14...

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CHAPTER 14 Our dynamic climate o Climate= an area’s long term atmospheric conditions Temperature, moisture content, wind, precipitation, etc Influences everything around us o Weather= conditions at localized sites over hours or days o Global climate change= describes trends and variations in Earth’s climate Temperature, precipitation, storm frequency o Global warming= an increase in Earth’s average temperature Earth’s climate has varied naturally through time The rapid climatic changes taking place now are due to human activity: fossil fuels, combustion, and deforestation The sun and atmosphere warm the Earth o 3 factors exert more influence on climate than all others: The sun- without it, the Earth would be dark and frozen The atmosphere- without it, the Earth’s temperature would be much colder The oceans- store and transport heat and moisture Greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere o As Earth’s surface absorbs solar radiation, the surface increases in temperature and emits infrared radiation o Greenhouse gases= atmospheric gases that absorb infrared radiation Water vapor, ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) Greenhouse gases differ in their ability to warm the troposphere and surface The greenhouse effect o After absorbing radiation, greenhouse gases re-emit infrared energy
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Some energy is lost to space Greenhouse effect= some energy travels back downward, warming the atmosphere and planet’s surface o Global warming potential= the relative ability of one molecule of a given greenhouse gas to contribute to warming Expressed in relation to carbon dioxide (potential=1) Hydrochloroflourocarbons are 12,000 times as potent as carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide is of primary concern o Not the most potent greenhouse gas, but it is extremely abundant The major contributor to global warming o Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities consist mostly of carbon dioxide o **the atmosphere’s concentrations of CO2 are now at their highest level in over 800,000 years Greenhouse gases are increasing o Using fossil fuels I homes, factories, and automobiles Transfers large amounts of carbon dioxide from lithospheric reservoirs into the atmosphere The main reason atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased so dramatically o Deforestation has contributed to rising atmospheric CO2 Forests serve as sinks for recently active carbon Their removal reduces the biosphere’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere Other greenhouse gases add to warming o Methane= fossil fuel deposits, livestock, landfills, and crops such as rice o Nitrous oxide= feedlots, chemical manufacturing plants, auto emissions, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers
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o Water vapor= the most abundant greenhouse gas and contributes most to the greenhouse effect But its global concentration has not changed It’s not viewed as driving industrial age climate change
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This note was uploaded on 03/28/2011 for the course ISB 202 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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CHAPTER 14 notes - Our dynamic climate o CHAPTER 14...

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