Chapter16b - Climate Change - II Mid-chapter summary

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Climate Change - II
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Mid-chapter summary The Earth’s climate is constantly undergoing change. Evidence suggests that throughout  much of the Earth’s history the Earth’s climate was much warmer than it is today. The most recent glacial period (or Ice Age) began about 2 million years ago. During this time,  glacial advances were interrupted by warmer periods ( interglacial periods ). In North America,  glaciers reached their maximum thickness and extent about 18,000 to 22,000 years ago and  disappeared completely from North America by about 6,000 years ago.  Over the last 100 years, the the Earth’s surface temperature has increased by about 0.6  o (about 1  o F). 
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Possible Causes of Climatic Change External : changes in the 1. incoming solar radiation 2. composition of the atmosphere 3. Earth’s surface Natural phenomena may contribute to all three ( 1-3 ) Human activity may contribute to  and  3 Internal : changes in the circulation patterns of the ocean and the  atmosphere, etc.
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Climate Change and Feedback Mechanisms The climatic elements are intertwined: feedback Negative feedback : counteracts changes, stabilizes climate Thermal (IR) radiation  of the planet: increased temperature leads to  increased IR emission from the planet -> the planet cools and the  temperature drops. Cloud negative feedback : higher temperature leads to more water vapor and  therefore more clouds. The clouds increase the planet’s albedo and less solar  light reaches the surface -> planet cools and the temperature drops. 
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2012 for the course MET 1010 taught by Professor Matchev during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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Chapter16b - Climate Change - II Mid-chapter summary

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