Climate change101 esip_2011


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Climate Change 101, Margaret Mooney, at the ESIP Summer Meeting 2011, Santa Fe NM

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  • Figure SPM.1. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels). Measurements are shown from ice cores (symbols with different colours for different studies) and atmospheric samples (red lines). The corresponding radiative forcings are shown on the right hand axes of the large panels. {Figure 6.4}
  • In any physical or social system, complex interactions sometimes act to accelerate a process while other interactions will retard that process. A classic example of an accelerating process is a “run on the bank” in which economic panic sends a large volume of shareholders to the bank to withdraw their assets. The massive withdrawal accelerates panic and leads to more economic disruption! This is an example of a positive feedback loop – a cycle in which two agents act to reinforce the other’s action, leading to an acceleration or amplification of a situation. Negative feedbacks on the other hand tend to dampen or buffer processes; this tends to make systems more stable by bringing processes to a state of equilibrium. A common example is when people get hot and perspire and evaporative cooling along the surface of the skin results in a reduction in body temperature. Clearly, when we're talking about feedbacks, "negative" is usually a good thing and "positive" is anything but. These terms refer to the process, not the outcome. It is through positive feedback mechanisms that small changes can lead to large ones. Positive feedbacks in the climate system are contributing to increasing rates of climate change.
  • The map shows the percentage increases in the average number of days with very heavy precipitation (defined as the heaviest 1 percent of all events) from 1958 to 2007 for each region. There are clear trends toward more days with very heavy precipitation, especially in the NE.
  • Heat waves that are more frequent, more severe, and longer lasting are projected. The frequency of hot days and the length of the heat-wave season will both be more than twice as great under a higher emissions scenario than a lower one (see full report for information on emission scenarios). Insects such as ticks and mosquitoes that carry disease will survive winters more easily and produce larger populations in a warmer Midwest.
  • a. Climate information can be used to reduce vulnerabilities or enhance the resilience of communities and ecosystems affected by climate change. Continuing to improve scientific understanding of the climate system and the quality of reports to policy and decision-makers is crucial. b. Reducing human vulnerability to the impacts of climate change depends not only upon our ability to understand climate science, but also upon our ability to integrate that knowledge into human society. Decisions that involve Earth’s climate must be made with an understanding of the complex interconnections among the physical and biological components of the Earth system as well as the consequences of such decisions on social, economic, and cultural systems. c. The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees. d. Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessen its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. e. A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy. f. Humans can adapt to climate change by reducing their vulnerability to its impacts. Actions such as moving to higher ground to avoid rising sea levels, planting new crops that will thrive under new climate conditions, or using new building technologies represent adaptation strategies. Adaptation often requires financial investment in new or enhanced research, technology, and infrastructure. g. Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs use 60% to 80% less energy and save on average $60 per year in electricity bills. And while it won’t make a difference if only 1 household changes 3 lightbulbs – if all the storm spotters and cooperative weather observers in Wisconsin changed 3 bulbs it would start to make a difference. Rusty Kapela (MKX WCM) estimates that there are as many as 60,000 storm residing in the county warning areas adjacent to the Great Lakes. Imagine if 60,000 households all changed 3 lightbulbs, this would start the bend the CO2 emission curve closer to sustainable levels.
  • Climate change101 esip_2011

    1. 1. Climate Change 101 Margaret Mooney Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison
    2. 2. Weather is the condition of the atmosphere at a particular location and moment. Each day current weather conditions are given in local weather reports. Climate is the collective state of the atmosphere for a given place over a specified interval of time. There are three parts to this definition … “ Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get” Differences between Weather & Climate
    3. 3. <ul><li>Climate is the collective state of the atmosphere for a given place over a specified interval of time. There are three parts to this definition: </li></ul><ul><li>Location because climate can be defined for a globe, a continent, a region, or a city. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Time because climate must be defined over a specified interval. NOAA typically uses 30-year averages, whereas studying Earth’s history often involves averages of a century or longer. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Averages and extremes of variables such as temperature, precipitation, pressure & winds. </li></ul>
    4. 4. 1) What does the acronym IPCC stand for? A - International Program on Climate and Culture B - International Panel on Climate and Culture C – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change D - International Panel on Climate Change E – Intergovernmental Program on Climate Change First, a short test …
    5. 5. 2)  Which of the following best defines greenhouse gas? A – Gas molecules that trap solar energy B – Gas molecules that scatter green light C – Heat-trapping gas molecules D – Gases emitted by greenhouse plants E – Gases emitted by greenhouse gardeners
    6. 6. 3) What is the most abundant greenhouse gas? A – Water Vapor B - Methane C – Nitrous Oxide D – Carbon Dioxide E – Sulfur Dioxide
    7. 7. 4) Which greenhouse gas is of most concern to climate scientist studying warming? A – Water Vapor B - Methane C – Nitrous Oxide D – Carbon Dioxide E – Sulfur Dioxide
    8. 8. 5) What element constitutes the bulk of the mass in any single tree ? A - Chlorophyll B - Carbon C – Hydrogen D - Oxygen E – Carbon Dioxide
    9. 9. 6) What was the first creature added to the endangered species list because of human-induced global warming? A – Carrier Pigeon B – Polar Bear C – Grizzly Bear D – Red Wolf E – White Sturgeon
    10. 10. 7 ) TRUE or FALSE The Ozone Hole contributes to global warming. A - TRUE B - FALSE
    11. 11. A - TRUE B - FALSE 8 ) TRUE or FALSE Global Warming is accelerated by the melting of snow and ice cover surfaces.
    12. 12. 9 ) Melting of Arctic snow & ice will likely result in rising sea levels. A - TRUE B - FALSE
    13. 13. 10 ) Melting of Antarctic snow and ice will likely result in rising sea levels. A - TRUE B - FALSE
    14. 14. 11 ) How long does it take for atmospheric C02 to disperse & quit trapping out-going thermal energy? A – 5 years B – 20 years C – 50 years D – 75 years E – 100 years
    15. 15. 12 ) According to the 2007 IPCC report, how many inches could sea levels rise by 2100? A – 1 to 4 inches B – 4 to 7 inches C – 7 to 24 inches
    16. 16. Global Climate Change Global Temperature: Has increased by ~0.7°C over the last 100yr. The rate of increase is “accelerating”. Global data & graphs in this presentation are from 2007 IPCC report
    17. 17. Warming is Unequivocal Also, the Oceans are warming & becoming more acidic Rising atmospheric temperature Rising sea level Reductions in NH snow cover
    18. 19. Changes in sea ice don’t significantly affect sea level because this ice is already floating. Melting land ice (glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets) increases sea level. Significant decreases in Arctic sea ice extent. A different world in the Arctic: present and future
    19. 20. What drives the observed warming?
    20. 21. Figure SPM.1 10,000 5,000 0 Years before 2005
    21. 22. Industrial revolution and the atmosphere The current concentrations of key greenhouse gases, and their rates of change, are unprecedented. Carbon dioxide Methane Nitrous Oxide Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007
    22. 23. How do CO 2 (and other gases) cause global warming?
    23. 24. Global Climate Change
    24. 25. The climate system is more complex than just CO 2 and radiation What about the feedbacks?
    25. 26. In a warming climate, water vapor plays a major role in a positive feedback loop that amplifies global climate change. ( H 2 0 responds to changes in climate, but it doesn’t drive climate change) One way to think about Climate Change is an intensification of the water cycle As the temperature of the atmosphere rises, more water is evaporated from ground storage (rivers, oceans, reservoirs, soil). Because the air is warmer, the relative humidity can be higher, and the atmosphere can 'hold' more water vapor. As a greenhouse gas, the higher concentration of water vapor is then able to absorb more thermal IR energy radiated from the Earth, thus further warming the atmosphere. The warmer atmosphere can then hold more water vapor and so on and so on. This is referred to as a 'positive feedback loop'.
    26. 27. &quot;Extremes of precipitation are generally increasing because the planet is actually warming and more water is evaporating from the oceans, this extra water vapor in the atmosphere then enables rain and snow events to become more extensive and intense than they might otherwise be.“ Tom Karl, NOAA’s NCDC, June 2011. Extreme weather events have grown more frequent in the United States since 1980, partly due to climate change.
    27. 28. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: Advancing sea ice in cold ocean waters resulting in more ice-covered ocean water with a higher albedo that reflects more sunshine and cools the ocean further B – Negative Feedback Loop A – Positive Feedback Loop
    28. 29. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: A person who starts to perspire experiences evaportative cooling and a reduction in body temperature. B – Negative Feedback A – Positive Feedback
    29. 30. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: Economic panic sends a large volume of shareholders to the bank to withdraw their assets. Massive withdrawals accelerates panic and leads to more economic disruption. B – Negative Feedback A – Positive Feedback
    30. 31. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: Increased CO2 allows plants to grow faster & remove more CO2 from the atmosphere tending toward a state of equilibrium. B – Negative Feedback A – Positive Feedback
    31. 32. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: A warmer atmosphere that results in warmer soil in the arctic allows more CO2 and CH4 to be released from the tundra which traps more IR and warms the atmosphere further. B – Negative Feedback Loop A – Positive Feedback Loop
    32. 33. FEEDBACK SCENARIO: Melting sea ice amidst warm(er) ocean waters resulting in more ice-free ocean water with a lower albedo that reflects less sunshine and warms the ocean further. B – Negative Feedback Loop A – Positive Feedback Loop
    33. 34. Observed warming is consistent with observed changes: The duration of ice cover on lakes decreased by about 2 weeks over the 20th century in mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. There is a widespread retreat of nonpolar glaciers. Arctic sea-ice has thinned by 40% in recent decades (summer & autumn) And decreased in extent by 15% since the 1950s in spring and summer. Northern Hemisphere snow cover has decreased by 10% since the 1960s. The growing season has lengthened by about 1 to 4 days per decade during the last 40 years in the Northern Hemisphere, especially at higher latitudes. The global mean sea level has increased at an average annual rate of 1 to 2 mm during the 20th century .
    34. 35. Observations Are Humans Responsible? IPCC (1995): “ Balance of evidence suggests discernible human influence” IPCC (2001): “ Most of global warming of past 50 years likely (odds 2 out of 3) due to human activities” IPCC (2007): “ Most of global warming of past 50 years very likely (odds 9 out of 10) due to greenhouse gases” IPCC WG1 - 2007 (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Agung Chichon Pinatubo Natural forcings only Natural and human effects
    35. 36. Featuring information from the U.S. Global Change Research Program(USGCRP) 2009 report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States Regional Climate Change
    36. 37. Increases in the average number of days with very heavy precipitation 1958 to 2007 From 1950 to 2006, Wisconsin as a whole became wetter, with a 10 percent increase in annual precipitation (3.1 inches) 2008 Lake Delton Dam failure due to heavy rains FLOODING Observed
    37. 38. www. climatewisconsin .org STORIES & INTERACTIVES from CLIMATE WISCONSIN
    38. 39. Cities and agriculture face increasing risks from a changing climate. Water supplies will become increasingly scarce, calling for trade-offs among competing uses, and potentially leading to conflict. Increasing temperature, drought, wildfire, and invasive species will accelerate transformation of the landscape. Increased frequency and altered timing of flooding will increase risks to people, ecosystems, and infrastructure. Unique tourism and recreation opportunities are likely to suffer. Southwest Key Issues
    39. 41. Climate Knowledge for Action Slowing and/or minimizing impacts Mitigation: reduces amount of global warming Adaptation: reduces the impact Mitigation: Necessary to avoid dangerous climate change Adaptation: Climate change is happening; Adaptation needed to minimize impacts
    40. 42. Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts Guiding Principle: Many actions have co-benefits
    41. 43. Co-Benefits of Carbon Mitigation <ul><li>By using less energy, you can reduce carbon emissions and save money </li></ul><ul><li>By walking or riding a bike to work a few days a week you can improve your health and save money </li></ul>3) Did I mention saving money ???
    42. 44. Co-Benefits of Driving Less: Clean Air Along with saving money on gas …. Can you commit to car pooling, walking or riding to work one day a week? (or two or three?)
    43. 45. Co-Benefits of Driving Less: Health Along with saving money on gas ….
    44. 46. &quot; The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required & the less suffering there will be .&quot; John Holdren, White House Director of Science & Technology <ul><li>* Buy Local! Re-use stuff </li></ul><ul><li>The less distance food & other goods are transported the better. </li></ul><ul><li>* Identify personal options to save energy </li></ul><ul><li>Ceiling fans? </li></ul><ul><li>Rain garden? </li></ul><ul><li>* Use renewable energy </li></ul><ul><li>* VOTE! </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know elected officials views and actions </li></ul><ul><li>around reducing global warming </li></ul>
    45. 47. Takes a village, or a planet - National Geographic video
    46. 48. <ul><li>http: //cimss . ssec . wisc . edu/climatechange/ </li></ul>Learn More On-Line <ul><li>Developed collaboratively </li></ul><ul><li>by four UW departments </li></ul><ul><li>(CIMSS, AOS, Geology, CCR) </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent with Climate </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Clarifies IPCC report </li></ul><ul><li>Beta version debuted 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>NASA 2010 GCCE support </li></ul><ul><li>for updates, revisions & </li></ul><ul><li>stipends for G6-12 teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Credit OR Certificate </li></ul>
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