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Global Warming

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A brief look at the possible effects of climate change

A brief look at the possible effects of climate change

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

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  • 1. Global Warming: Global Hazards
  • 2. Global Warming and Hazards
    • Droughts and dunes and dust
    • Hurricanes
    • Permafrost degradation
    • Ground subsidence
    • Glacier retreat
    • Sea-level rise
    • Coast erosion
  • 3. Hot Spots
    • Ice bodies sensitive to wave attack as ice shelves retreat
    • Valley Glaciers
    • Permafrost- negative mean annual temperatures
    • Dunes at vegetation threshold
    • Coral reefs in hot water – 30C threshold
    • Hurricane prone coasts – 27C threshold
  • 4. Precipitation Change
    • Overall global increase some intensification of tropical circulation
    • Northward displacement of sinking Hadley cell air
    • More moisture available in cold regions
    • Change in rainfall intensity
  • 5. Stream Runoff
    • In arid regions, an increase of temperatures by 2C , and a reduction in precipitation of 10% can lead to a discharge reduction of 60 or more %
  • 6. Snowpack
    • Long term monitoring of mountain snowpacks in the W. USA and Europe have shown decreasing snowpack depth (50-75%) though this depends on such features as the North Atlantic Oscillation and degree of continentality.
    • Downwind of large lakes, however, there may be an increase in snowpack
  • 7. Dune Reactivation
    • Holocene history of instabilty
    • The lesson of the Dust Bowl
    • Stores of available surfaces as result of past climates
    • Critical nature of rainfall/ vegetation threshold for wind action
  • 8. Hurricanes
    • Sea water temperture threshold of 27C
    • Increase in geographical spread?
    • Increase in intensity?
    • Increase in frequency?
    • Warm water is not the only control of hurricane formation
  • 9. Hurricane Effects
    • Slope destabilization
    • Scouring of river channels
    • Inputs of sediment into the reefs and lagoons
    • Raised sea level - storm surges
    • Increased wave attack on atolls, etc
  • 10. Hurricanes and Warming
    • Walsh (2004) says no detectable changes in hurricane characteristics that can be ascribed to global warming
    • Goldenberg et al (2001) show Atlantic hurricanes have not shown trend like variability over the last century but multi-decadal cycles
    • Knutson & Tuleya’s (2001) simulations suggest 5-12% increase in wind speeds for 2.2 degree C rise in SST
    • Emanuel (2005) has found hurricanes have become increasingly destructive as SSTs have warmed over last the last 30 years.
  • 11. Altitudinal shift in vegetation
    • Lapse rates suggest that vegetation will sift 180m for every degree rise in temperature
    • This implies that vegetation belts (and snowlines, etc) will migrate by some hundreds of meters.
  • 12. Fire
    • Warmer temperatures and less snowpack appear to be increasing the duration and intensity of wild fires in the western US
    • Since 1986 there has been a 4 x increase of major wildfires and 6 x increase in the area burned, compared to the period from 1970-1986 (Westerling et al. 2006).
  • 13. Periglacial Areas
    • Retreat of Permafrost
    • Thermokarst
    • Removal of glue from slopes
    • Erosion of Shores and banks
    • Deeper active layer – debris flows, etc.
    • Change in runoff seasonality
    • Changes in groundwater recharge
  • 14. The Big Issue
    • Ice sheets will be subjected to increased ablation (melting), the buoyancy effects of rising sea levels, the effects of ice shelf disappearance on wave attack, and the wasting effects on warmer oceans
    • On the other hand, higher temperatures will lead to more snowfall and thus to higher rates of accumulation
  • 15. Glaciers
    • Since Little Ice Age general retreat 20-70m per year
    • Glaciers of European Alps have lost 50% of their volume since the LIA
    • Tidewater glaciers retreat especially quickly – The Columbia glacier in Alaska retreated 13km between 1982 and 2000
    • East African glaciers occupy one third to one sixth of former area
  • 16. Sea Level Change
    • The steric effect (0.28m out of the predicted 0.49m by 2100)
    • The melting of ice
    • Anthropogenic effects caused by changes in runoff, storage in reservoirs and exploitation of groundwater
  • 17. Sea Level Rise
    • During the 20 th century the rate of rise averaged 1.5-2.0 mm per year
    • During the 21 st century the rate of rise is likely to be 5mm per year
  • 18. Subsiding Areas
    • Deltas, atolls
    • Tectonic sinking
    • Isostatic compensation
    • Groundwater and hydrocarbon removal
    • Compaction of organic sediments
  • 19. Sensitive Coasts
    • Beaches
    • Salt marshes
    • Mangrove swamps
    • Deltas
    • Coral reefs
    • Lagoons
  • 20. Mississippi Birdsfoot
    • Subsidence
    • Accelerating sea level rise
    • Diversion of flow to other mouths
    • Reduction in nourishment due to embankments
    • Reduction of silt loads by cascades of dams
  • 21. Nile Delta
    • An area of ongoing subsidence
    • Sea-level rise
    • Sediment starvation by Aswan and other dams
    • Sensitivity of salt/fresh water interface
  • 22. Coral Reefs
    • Increase in sea surface temperatures will cause stress (bleaching) or stimulus
    • Increase in storm frequency and intensity will build up islands, erode reefs, change species composition
    • Increase in sea levels will stimulate reef growth ( if slow), but will cause inundation (if fast) or if corals are stressed by siltation
  • 23. Salt Marsh Vulnerability
    • Less sensitive – areas of high sediment input, areas of high tidal range (with high sediment transport potential), areas with effective organic accumulation
    • More sensitive – areas of subsidence, areas of low sediment input, slow growing mangroves, micro-tidal areas, reef settings (lack of allogenic sediment), constrained by sea walls
  • 24. Accelerating coastal erosion
    • Sea level rise and the Bruun Rule
    • Reduced beach nourishment because of dams
    • Reduced beach nourishment because of “defence” structures
    • Increasing storm activity?
  • 25. Synergies
    • Permafrost degradation
    • Coastal flooding
    • Coastal erosion
    • Coral reefs
    • Moisture deficits and drying of lakes

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