Long and Short Term Changes of Climate By: Nashmiya, Faizah, Shazia, Michelle and Zalmay
Small-Term changes in Climate Small changes that affect the whole climate system…. Things that cause the changes in the climate are: Volcanic eruptions Small changes in the sun’s radiation Air and Ocean currents
When volcanoes erupt, they eject sulfur dioxide, along with dust, rocks and gases.
The sulfur dioxide, that Volcanoes eject block the sun’s energy which means the sun’s energy bounces back to space.
Less energy on Earth means that the temperature cools down temporarily.
Recent studies show that the sulfur dioxide remains in the atmosphere.
Volcanic eruption Example:
On April 10th 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted ejected 150 cubic kilometer of dust (sulfur dioxide) into the atmosphere.
Because of the dust, the sunlight was blocked and places located near Indonesia, which means countries in the northern Hemisphere had a year without summer.
Volcanic eruption Mount Tambora
Small changes in the sun’s radiation
Recently scientists have discovered that the Sun's output radiation has changed over many years.
Measurements made during the early 1980s showed a decrease of 0.1 percent in the total amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth over 18 months.
If this continued, then over several decades, this will hold an impact on the global climate.
Many climatic models predict that change in the sun’s radiation output of only 1 percent per century could change the Earth's average temperature by 0.5 to 1.0° Celsius.
Air and Ocean currents
Changes in the ocean’s thermohaline circulation (global circulatory currents urged on by heat or wind) may cause sudden changes in the climate.
During the Ice Age , huge ice sheets covered the Earth’s surface, and when the ice melted, all the fresh water went into oceans
Since the fresh water was less dense the actual salty water, it stayed near the ocean’s surface.
Now the scientists believe that the fresh water from the ice age period have disturbed the thermohaline circulation and because of that Earth’s climate maybe becoming cold again.
Every three to seven years, Pacific Ocean faces huge changes.
The prevailing winds change directions, temporarily, causing changes in the ocean currents
The Prevailing winds, Instead of pushing the warm surface water towards west Pacific, they push the warm water to the east. This periodic shift in The Pacific winds and ocean is called El Nino.
A clear diagram of El Nino is shown in or science text pg: 352
Long-Term changes in Climate Changes in Climate are influenced by: Changes in Earth’s energy balance (If something goes different in energy absorption, Earth’s climate can change). If amount of energy received from the Sun changes, the climate will do the same.
Change in Temperature
The sun gives the Earth heat, light and energy. It is very crucial in our survival.
However, due to “global warming”, the long term effect could result in increased temperature, and that can have a great affect on everything (wildlife, ecozones, glaciers, etc...)
Earth has been going back and forth on the change of climate, from warmer to colder, going back and forth. Temperatures have drastically changed from before.
This is due to the large release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Orbital Variation and Solar Cycle
The Earth’s orbital path around the Sun is very important and plays a crucial role in the sunlight distribution for Earth.
This very path can be slightly changed due to the glacial activity on Earth, that can affect the axial tilt (controls seasons) of the Earth.
Also, there could be either increase or decrease in the Sun’s sunspots, and that can slightly alter the solar cycle.
Glaciers will soon start to melt into the oceans, and that can really affect the climate since temperature also depends on the bodies of water around it.
As the glaciers would melt into the ocean, it would push the ocean currents down and cause new climates in different areas, most likely by cooling the ocean down a bit. Land masses would then have different seasonal temperatures, due to the new ocean currents nearby.
Climate change can cause movement and shifts in plate tectonics.
The plates would rub against/slide/or go underneath each other, and make different continents to shift and relocate in different locations.
They can also tear down mountains, create a large carbon storage and production and increase glaciations. This is called “Continential Drift”, and one obvious example is of Pangea , the supercontinent that once existed 225 million years ago. Continential Drift can alter global circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere.
Different types of plate movement
More Volcanoes Due to the more active plate tectonic movement, more volcanism would exist around the world. The carbon dioxide is being lost by being slowly absorbed in the oceans. High overall temperature periods will probably cause a lot of greenhouse warming due to volcanic carbon dioxide!
Ice Ages/Interglacial Periods
Milutin Milankovitch studied long-term cycles of climate change and developed theory on why ice ages occur.
Ice ages are caused by 3 major things
Shape of Earth’s orbit (circular or elliptical)
Wobble of the earth as it spins (Determines which star is going to be our “North Star”
Tilt of earth on its axis ( As angle increases, season differences increase)
There are suspected causes that can result in ice ages approximately every 100 000 years.
In 1941, Milankovitch (engineer and amateur astronomer) came up with the theory.
Human Influences Increase in burning of fossil fuels and release of aerosols, excessive land use and deforestation can change the climate severely. All of these could result in loss and change of fossil fuels, glaciers, vegetations, permafrost regions, average sea levels, and wild life habitats.
Polar bear being left without a home.
The movement of tectonic plates reconfigures the land and oceans
Movement affects both global and local patterns of the climate and the circulation of oceans
Occurred over the course of millions of years
Created the Gulf Stream because of the changes in ocean dynamics
Volcanoes were most likely the cause of the movement of plate tectonics
Humans found plenty of game in the Middle East region; came across the Neanderthals
Humans went into Europe and drived the Neanderthals away into a less bountiful area of the continent
Game was not abundant in the area and it was very cold there
Neanderthals could not survive the combination of ice age and humans, even though they've survived freezing temperatures before
Humans had access to "advanced weaponry"; they formed a "social organization"
The Medieval Climate Optimum
Lasted from 500 to 1000 (BC).
Europe progressed because of warmer climate conditions.
It allowed the people to grow agriculture; growing seasons were longer.
Conditions were different elsewhere, however; China had little rainfall from 700 to 900 BC because of "weak summer monsoons that failed to develop over the Pacific ocean“.
Caused poverty and famine in China; led to the collapse of the Tang Dynasty.
The Little Ice Age
It is believed that it lasted from 1300 to 1850
Extremely cold temperatures
Important geological event occurred: Mount Tambora, located on an Indonesian island called Sumbawa, gave off an extremely massive amount of volcanic dust into the atmosphere which blocked the sun's rays, therefore lowering the temperature.
Because of volcanic eruptions and cold temperatures, the northern hemisphere had to go "a year without summer“.
Caused diseases, sickness, and riots amongst people - many crops and plants were lost; soil was wasted.
Ways to Prevent Climate Change
Stop using fossil fuels and replace them with reusable energy sources such as wind and solar power.Benefits: An exponential decrease in pollution and will also allow the water cycle to successfully clean our water supply
Less or a controlled way of deforestation allowing the trees to grow back as fast as they are cut creating a safe loop in which little or no harm will be done to the environmentBenefits: Allows the trees to continue cleansing our air and less likely to damage the environment
Ways to Prevent Climate Change
Natural refrigerantsBenefits: Allows us to keep both our food and our planet cold opposed to refrigerants that just keep our food cold and heat up our planet.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of regular onesBenefits: Saves 150 pounds of Carbon dioxide every year and uses a lot less energy.
Drive less. Benefits: By walking, biking, using the TTC, etc. you will help reduce gas consumption and a pound of CO2 for each mile you do not drive.
Ways to Prevent Climate Change
Turn of electronic devices when they are not in useBenefits: saves electricity and thousands of pounds of CO2 per household.
Use less water by taking shorter showers and installing low-flow showerheadsBenefits: Will lower your water and heating bills and save energy.
Possible changes/predictions for the future Canada
Forest Fires are expected to expand into the central and northern parts of the Prairies, north-eastern British Columbia, and south-central Yukon from the years 2050 to 2059.
Rising temperatures is expected to cause warming of the oceans and the partial melting of glaciers and ice-caps, resulting in a global rise in sea level.
Peat lands have the potential to become enormous sources of greenhouse gases and further contribute to global warming.
Possible changes/predictions for the future World
Loss of polar ice in Antarctica and the North Pole. The melting of polar ice can cause rising sea levels and loss of habitat for numerous animals
Massive flooding is caused by the loss of polar ice. This causes massive flooding and could possibly engulf small islands
Severe storm increase by human-induced greenhouse gases that lead to more frequent and severe storms. This is caused by unseasonably warm air colliding with cool air.
Possible changes/predictions for the future World
Coral reefs, Climate Change is causing coral bleaching, Coral Disease, and Ocean Acidification. When corals die, the amount of reef fish quickly decreases, mainly due to the lack of places for baby fish to settle as they leave the open water and settle on the reef where they will spend their adult lives. This is caused by rising ocean temperature, pollution, overfishing, unsustainable fishing practices, sedimentation, acidification
How it can Affect Animals
Loss of Habitat: Melting polar ice is endangering animals because some rely on glaciers and ice as their habitat.
Loss of Food: Melting polar ice is affecting the life of many animals and tiny organisms that larger creatures feed on for survival.
Effects on: Hibernation, Breeding, Migration.
Effects on animal behavior such as end their hibernation sooner than normal due to intense climatic changes. Due to rising temperatures, plants and trees are not growing properly.
How it can Affect Animals
Effects on plants: Carbon dioxide levels are high and is impacting plants and vegetation.
Fish species are moving northward in search of cooler waters.
Butterflies are moving northward in search of cooler temperatures.
Both plants and animals have become endangered including:
How scientists are dealing with it/monitoring it
Scientist make observations and extrapolating those observations.
They use core samples that are removed from an ice sheet
Observe the changing temperatures
Atmospheric chemists gather air samples
Scientist measure emissions
Scientist suggest ways for people to help contribute to stopping global warming
Scientist use Global climate model
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