18- Global Climate Change

18- Global Climate Change - GlobalClimateChange Biol1305...

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Global Climate Change Environmental Problems  Biol 1305
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Our dynamic climate Climate influences everything around us The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made it clear that: Climate is changing, we are the cause, and this change is  already exerting impacts that will become increasingly severe Al Gore’s movie  An Inconvenient Truth  has been seen by  millions Climate change is the fastest-moving area of  environmental science today
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What is climate change? Climate  = an area’s long-term atmospheric conditions Temperature, moisture content, wind, precipitation,  etc.   Weather   = conditions at localized sites over hours or  days Global climate change  = describes trends and  variations in Earth’s climate Temperature, precipitation, storm frequency 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 
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Three factors exert more influence on climate than all  others  The Sun  = without it, the Earth would be dark and frozen Also supplies most of our planet’s energy The atmosphere  = without it, the Earth’s temperature  would be much colder Earth’s atmosphere, clouds, land, ice, and water  absorb 70% of incoming solar radiation The oceans  = shape climate by storing and transporting  heat and moisture
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The fate of solar radiation
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Greenhouse gases warm the lower  atmosphere As Earth’s surface absorbs solar radiation, the surface  increases in temperature and emits infrared radiation  Greenhouse gases  = atmospheric gases that absorb  infrared radiation Water vapor, ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane,  chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Greenhouse gases differ in their ability to warm the  troposphere and surface
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The greenhouse effect After absorbing radiation, greenhouse gases re-emit  infrared energy Some energy is lost to space  Greenhouse effect  = some energy travels back downward,  warming the atmosphere and planet’s surface Global potential  = the relative ability of one molecule  of a given greenhouse gas to contribute to warming Expressed in relation to carbon dioxide (potential = 1) Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are 12,000 times as potent as  carbon dioxide
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Carbon dioxide is of primary concern Not the most potent greenhouse  gas, but it is extremely abundant The major contributor to global  warming Human activities have boosted 
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18- Global Climate Change - GlobalClimateChange Biol1305...

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