FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE
CHANGE : LEARNING FROM GLOBAL
DISASTER LABORATORIES
FUNDAMENTALS OF
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
 WHAT DO WE NOT KNOW
FOR CERTAIN?
COULD human activities exacerbate
the “unnatural” Greenhouse effect by
increasing certain greenhouse gases
(e.g., CO2) abo...
THE ISSUE: HUMAN INFLUENCES
 Are humans exacer-
bating GLOBAL
WARMING by adding
too much carbon
dioxide to the normal
lev...
HUMAN INFLUENCES
 Aerosols, smoke and
sulfates reflect
sunlight away from the
Earth, which outweigh
the temporary,
locali...
HUMAN INFLUENCES ON LAND
SURFACES
 Once tropical forests
(a carbon sink) are
cleared for cattle
ranching or community
dev...
FUNDAMENTALS OF
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
 WHAT DO WE THINK WE
KNOW FOR CERTAIN?
THE EARTH’S GREENHOUSE EFFECT
OCCURS NATURALLY.
PLANET EARTH (THE BLUE PLANET)
AND THE SOLAR INPUT
PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR
ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES
• Propagation, reflection, and
refraction of light and EM
waves radia...
ABOUT 33 PERCENT OF THE
INCOMING SOLAR INPUT IS
REFLECTED BACK TO SPACE
BY CLOUDS, SNOW, ICE,
AND, TO A LESSER DEGREE,
BY ...
THE BALANCE (ABOUT 70
PERCENT) OF THE INCOMING
SOLAR INPUT IS ABSORBED
BY LAND, AIR, WATER, AND
ICE.
THE SOLAR SPECTRUM
INCLUDES: A) VISIBLE LIGHT
(ROYGBIV), ALONG WITH:
B) ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT
(SHORTER WAVE LENGTHS),
AND C) I...
PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR
ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES
• Absorption, storage, and re-
radiation of light and EM waves
causes...
THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
OCCURS WHEN AN EARTH
WARMED BY THE SOLAR
SPECTRUM RADIATES
INVISIBLE INFRARED LIGHT
BACK, BUT…
CONTINUED
…INSTEAD OF GOING BACK
TO SPACE, IT IS PARTLY
ABSORBED BY
GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE
ATMOSPHERE
 NOTE: ABSORPTION ...
GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE
ATMOSPHERE
 “Greenhouse"
gases include
water vapor,
carbon dioxide,
methane and
nitrous oxide.
WATER VAPOR
Water vapor is
the most potent
greenhouse gas
 Higher air
temperatures
increase the rate
of water
vaporizati...
VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS
Volcanic
eruptions
add water
vapor and
ash to the
atmosphere.
PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR
ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES
• Absorption of heat by
greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere causes the...
“UNNATURAL”GREENHOUSE
EFFECT
 Greenhouse gases
trap heat inside the
atmosphere.
 Too much trapped
heat increases
tempera...
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
• THE “NATURAL” GREENHOUSE
EFFECT KEEPS THE EARTH WARM AT
ABOUT 57.9 DEGREES F, AND
• THE “UNNATURA...
SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS
INDICATE THAT THE TROPO-
SPHERE IS WARMING FASTER
THAN THE EARTH’S SURFACE.
 NOTE: THIS INDICATES ...
2005 - HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD
• According to NASA and other
organizations, 2005 was the
hottest year on record for the
Nor...
A WARMING EARTH: SEPT 25, 2007
THE AVERAGE GLOBAL
TEMPERATURE HAS RISEN 1.7
DEGREES F IN PAST 150 YEARS
AVERAGE GLOBAL SEA
LEVEL HAS INCREASED BY
4.7 INCHES SINCE THE
LAST ICE AGE.
SEA LEVEL RISES FOR TWO
REASONS:
 WATER EXPANDS WHEN IT
IS WARMED, AND
 WATER VOLUME
INCREASES AS MELT
WATER IS ADDED.
• IF THE FLOATING ARCTIC ICE
CAPS MELT, GLOBAL SEA
LEVEL WILL NOT BE AFFECTED.
• IF ALL THE SNOW AND ICE IN
GREENLAND MELT...
CLOUDS CAUSE BOTH
COOLING AND WARMING
 Clouds cool Earth by
reflecting incoming
solar energy.
 Clouds cool Earth by
slow...
LAND SURFACES AFFECT
TEMPERATURES AND MOISTURE
Mountain ranges
can block clouds,
creating "dry"
shadows
downwind.
 Slopi...
ROLE OF ICE AND SNOW
Ice and snow
reflects heat
outward into space,
cooling Planet Earth
in the process.
When ice melts,...
THE OCEANS ARE A
NATURAL CARBON SINK
The oceans and
marine life
remove and/or
consume huge
amounts of
carbon dioxide.
THE OCEANS STORE HEAT
BETTER THAN LAND DOES
Oceans, the source
of moisture in the
air, store heat more
effectively over t...
THE ALBEDO (PERCENT OF
LIGHT REFLECTED) FOR
FRESH SNOW IS 80-90
PERCENT,
 BUT IT IS ONLY 50 – 60
PERCENT FOR MELTING ICE.
CARBON DIOXIDE ENTERS
THE ATMOSPHERE
NATURALLY, AND IT LEAVES
THE ATMOSPHERE
NATURALLY.
• AS THE GREENHOUSE
EFFECT INCREASES,
TEMPERATURES IN THE
ATMOSPHERE INCREASES
AND THE REMOVAL RATE OF
CARBON DIOXIDE
DECR...
SUMMARY
• WITHOUT THE “NATURAL”
GREENHOUSE EFFECT,
PLANET EARTH WOULD BE
MUCH COLDER; E.G., A
TEMPERATURE OF ABOUT
MINUS 2 DEGREES...
• IF THE “UNNATURAL”
GREENHOUSE EFFECT
WERE TO GET OUT OF
CONTROL, PLANET EARTH
WOULD BE WARMER THAN
THE CURRENT AVERAGE
T...
THE WORLD IS DEBATING THE
TIPPING SCENARIO ISSUE
• The “Tipping Scenario Issue”
is: “Within a few decades, will
humans be ...
FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE : LEARNING FROM GLOBAL DISASTER LABORATORIES
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FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE : LEARNING FROM GLOBAL DISASTER LABORATORIES

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The average global temperature has risen 1.7 degrees F in past 150 years. Average global sea level has increased by 4.7 inches since the last ice age. Sea level rises for two reasons: water expands when it is warmed, and water volume increases as melt water is added. What does it all mean? If the floating Arctic ice caps melt, global sea level will not be affected. If all the snow and ice in Greenland melted, global sea level will rise 24 feet. The “natural” greenhouse effect keeps the earth warm at about 57.9 degrees F, and the “unnatural”greenhouse effect causes the atmosphere’s temperature to rise, followed by a rise in land and ocean temperatures, causing climate change on a global scale. Satellite measurements indicate that the tropo-sphere is warming faster than the earth’s surface. Note: this indicates that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are absorbing too much heat. Without the “natural” greenhouse effect, Planet Earth would be much colder, for example, a temperature of about minus 2 degrees F. If the “unnatural” greenhouse effect were to get out of control, Planet Earth would be warmer than the current average temperature of 57.9 degrees F. Current scientific debate focuses on what is called the “tipping scenario issue” that “within a few decades, humans will be virtually helpless to slow the perceived risks associated with global climate change… Presentation courtesy of Dr. Walter Hays, Global Alliance For Disaster Reduction

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FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE : LEARNING FROM GLOBAL DISASTER LABORATORIES

  1. 1. FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE : LEARNING FROM GLOBAL DISASTER LABORATORIES
  2. 2. FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE  WHAT DO WE NOT KNOW FOR CERTAIN?
  3. 3. COULD human activities exacerbate the “unnatural” Greenhouse effect by increasing certain greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2) above normal (i.e., safe) levels; if so, can we do anything to slow or reverse the undesirable trend?
  4. 4. THE ISSUE: HUMAN INFLUENCES  Are humans exacer- bating GLOBAL WARMING by adding too much carbon dioxide to the normal levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through rapidly increasing global use of fossil fuels.
  5. 5. HUMAN INFLUENCES  Aerosols, smoke and sulfates reflect sunlight away from the Earth, which outweigh the temporary, localized cooling effects from aerosols and the smoke and sulfates from industry.
  6. 6. HUMAN INFLUENCES ON LAND SURFACES  Once tropical forests (a carbon sink) are cleared for cattle ranching or community development, the cleared land can becomes a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas.
  7. 7. FUNDAMENTALS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE  WHAT DO WE THINK WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN?
  8. 8. THE EARTH’S GREENHOUSE EFFECT OCCURS NATURALLY.
  9. 9. PLANET EARTH (THE BLUE PLANET) AND THE SOLAR INPUT
  10. 10. PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES • Propagation, reflection, and refraction of light and EM waves radiated from the sun (i.e., the solar input to Planet Earth)
  11. 11. ABOUT 33 PERCENT OF THE INCOMING SOLAR INPUT IS REFLECTED BACK TO SPACE BY CLOUDS, SNOW, ICE, AND, TO A LESSER DEGREE, BY LAND AND WATER SURFACES.
  12. 12. THE BALANCE (ABOUT 70 PERCENT) OF THE INCOMING SOLAR INPUT IS ABSORBED BY LAND, AIR, WATER, AND ICE.
  13. 13. THE SOLAR SPECTRUM INCLUDES: A) VISIBLE LIGHT (ROYGBIV), ALONG WITH: B) ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT (SHORTER WAVE LENGTHS), AND C) INFRARED LIGHT (LONGER WAVE LENGTHS).
  14. 14. PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES • Absorption, storage, and re- radiation of light and EM waves causes the “natural” greenhouse effect).
  15. 15. THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT OCCURS WHEN AN EARTH WARMED BY THE SOLAR SPECTRUM RADIATES INVISIBLE INFRARED LIGHT BACK, BUT…
  16. 16. CONTINUED …INSTEAD OF GOING BACK TO SPACE, IT IS PARTLY ABSORBED BY GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE ATMOSPHERE  NOTE: ABSORPTION MAKES THE ATMOSPHERE WARMER.
  17. 17. GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE ATMOSPHERE  “Greenhouse" gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
  18. 18. WATER VAPOR Water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas  Higher air temperatures increase the rate of water vaporization.
  19. 19. VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS Volcanic eruptions add water vapor and ash to the atmosphere.
  20. 20. PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS OCCUR ON MANY DIFFERENT SCALES • Absorption of heat by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causes the “unnatural” greenhouse effect).
  21. 21. “UNNATURAL”GREENHOUSE EFFECT  Greenhouse gases trap heat inside the atmosphere.  Too much trapped heat increases temperatures in the atmosphere and on the land and ocean surfaces, which causes climate change.
  22. 22. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? • THE “NATURAL” GREENHOUSE EFFECT KEEPS THE EARTH WARM AT ABOUT 57.9 DEGREES F, AND • THE “UNNATURAL”GREENHOUSE EFFECT CAUSES THE ATMOSPHERE’S TEMPERATURE TO RISE, FOLLOWED BY A RISE IN LAND AND OCEAN TEMPERATURES, CAUSING CLIMATE CHANGE ON A GLOBAL SCALE
  23. 23. SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS INDICATE THAT THE TROPO- SPHERE IS WARMING FASTER THAN THE EARTH’S SURFACE.  NOTE: THIS INDICATES THAT GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE ATMOSPHERE ARE ABSORBING TOO MUCH HEAT.
  24. 24. 2005 - HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD • According to NASA and other organizations, 2005 was the hottest year on record for the Northern Hemisphere. • Temperatures were about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average.
  25. 25. A WARMING EARTH: SEPT 25, 2007
  26. 26. THE AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE HAS RISEN 1.7 DEGREES F IN PAST 150 YEARS
  27. 27. AVERAGE GLOBAL SEA LEVEL HAS INCREASED BY 4.7 INCHES SINCE THE LAST ICE AGE.
  28. 28. SEA LEVEL RISES FOR TWO REASONS:  WATER EXPANDS WHEN IT IS WARMED, AND  WATER VOLUME INCREASES AS MELT WATER IS ADDED.
  29. 29. • IF THE FLOATING ARCTIC ICE CAPS MELT, GLOBAL SEA LEVEL WILL NOT BE AFFECTED. • IF ALL THE SNOW AND ICE IN GREENLAND MELTED, GLOBAL SEA LEVEL WILL RISE 24 FEET.
  30. 30. CLOUDS CAUSE BOTH COOLING AND WARMING  Clouds cool Earth by reflecting incoming solar energy.  Clouds cool Earth by slowing evaporation.  Clouds warm Earth by trapping heat being re- radiated upward from the Earth’s surface.
  31. 31. LAND SURFACES AFFECT TEMPERATURES AND MOISTURE Mountain ranges can block clouds, creating "dry" shadows downwind.  Sloping land facilitates water runoff, leaving the land and air drier.
  32. 32. ROLE OF ICE AND SNOW Ice and snow reflects heat outward into space, cooling Planet Earth in the process. When ice melts, ocean water looses some of its stored heat.
  33. 33. THE OCEANS ARE A NATURAL CARBON SINK The oceans and marine life remove and/or consume huge amounts of carbon dioxide.
  34. 34. THE OCEANS STORE HEAT BETTER THAN LAND DOES Oceans, the source of moisture in the air, store heat more effectively over the long term than land and transports it efficiently over distances of thousands of miles.
  35. 35. THE ALBEDO (PERCENT OF LIGHT REFLECTED) FOR FRESH SNOW IS 80-90 PERCENT,  BUT IT IS ONLY 50 – 60 PERCENT FOR MELTING ICE.
  36. 36. CARBON DIOXIDE ENTERS THE ATMOSPHERE NATURALLY, AND IT LEAVES THE ATMOSPHERE NATURALLY.
  37. 37. • AS THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT INCREASES, TEMPERATURES IN THE ATMOSPHERE INCREASES AND THE REMOVAL RATE OF CARBON DIOXIDE DECREASES.
  38. 38. SUMMARY
  39. 39. • WITHOUT THE “NATURAL” GREENHOUSE EFFECT, PLANET EARTH WOULD BE MUCH COLDER; E.G., A TEMPERATURE OF ABOUT MINUS 2 DEGREES F.
  40. 40. • IF THE “UNNATURAL” GREENHOUSE EFFECT WERE TO GET OUT OF CONTROL, PLANET EARTH WOULD BE WARMER THAN THE CURRENT AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 57.9 DEGREES F.
  41. 41. THE WORLD IS DEBATING THE TIPPING SCENARIO ISSUE • The “Tipping Scenario Issue” is: “Within a few decades, will humans be virtually helpless to slow the perceived risks associated with global climate change?

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