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A Brief History of Climate Change

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Historical Geography expert John Slifko, PhD, presents a brief overview of the History of Climate Change over the years including new research and discoveries up to the 2013 year

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A Brief History of Climate Change

  1. 1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE Presentation by John Slifko, PhD December 2015
  2. 2. CLIMATE Climate is usually defined as the "average weather" in a place.
  3. 3. IT INCLUDES PATTERNS OF TEMPERATURE, PRECIPITATION (RAIN OR SNOW), HUMIDITY,WIND AND SEASONS.
  4. 4. CLIMATE PATTERNS PLAY A FUNDAMENTAL ROLE IN SHAPING NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS,ANDTHE HUMAN ECONOMIES AND CULTURESTHAT DEPEND ON THEM.
  5. 5. BUTTHE CLIMATE WE’VE COMETO EXPECT IS NOT WHAT IT USEDTO BE, BECAUSETHE PAST IS NO LONGER A RELIABLE PREDICTOR OFTHE FUTURE.
  6. 6. RAPID CHANGES Our climate is rapidly changing with disruptive impacts, and that change is progressing faster than any seen in the last 2,000 years. Source: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/whatis.htm
  7. 7. IN SEPTEMBER 2014, BBC NEWS ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT RICHARD BLACKTRACED KEY MILESTONES, SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES, TECHNICAL INNOVATIONS AND POLITICAL ACTIONTO HELP UNDERSTANDTHE HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE. SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.BBC.COM/NEWS/SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT-15874560
  8. 8. A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
  9. 9. 1712:THOMAS NEWCOMEN INVENTS STEAM ENGINE British ironmonger,Thomas Newcomen invents the first widely used steam engine, paving the way for the Industrial Revolution and industrial scale use of coal.
  10. 10. 1800:WORLD POPULATION REACHES ONE BILLION.
  11. 11. 1824 - FRENCH PHYSICIST JOSEPH FOURIER DESCRIBES EARTH'S NATURAL "GREENHOUSE EFFECT" He writes: "The temperature [of the Earth] can be augmented by the interposition of the atmosphere, because heat in the state of light finds less resistance in penetrating the air, than in re- passing into the air when converted into non-luminous heat."
  12. 12. 1861 - IRISH PHYSICIST JOHNTYNDALL SHOWS THAT WATERVAPOR & OTHER GASES CREATE GREENHOUSE EFFECT "This aqueous vapor is a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man," he concludes. More than a century later, he is honored by having a prominent UK climate research organization - the Tyndall Centre - named after him.
  13. 13. 1886 - KARL BENZ UNVEILS MOTORWAGEN
  14. 14. 1896 - SWEDISH CHEMIST SVANTE ARRHENIUS CONCLUDESTHAT INDUSTRIAL-AGE COAL BURNING WILL ENHANCE NATURAL GREENHOUSE EFFECT He suggests this might be beneficial for future generations. His conclusions on the likely size of the "man-made greenhouse" are in the same ballpark - a few degrees Celsius for a doubling of CO2 - as modern-day climate models.
  15. 15. 1900: KNUT ANGSTROM DISCOVERSTHAT CO2 STRONGLY ABSORBS PARTS OF INFRARED SPECTRUM Although he does not realize the significance, Angstrom has shown that a trace gas can produce greenhouse warming.
  16. 16. 1927 - CARBON EMISSIONS FROM FOSSIL FUEL BURNING & INDUSTRY REACH ONE BILLION TONNES PER YEAR.
  17. 17. 1930 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHESTWO BILLION.
  18. 18. 1938 - BRITISH ENGINEER GUY CALLENDAR SHOWSTHATTEMPERATURES HAVE RISEN He also shows that CO2 concentrations had increased over the same period, and suggests this caused the warming. The "Callendar effect" is widely dismissed by meteorologists.
  19. 19. 1955 - US RESEARCHER GILBERT PLASS ANALYSES INFRARED ABSORPTION OFVARIOUS GASES He concludes that doubling CO2 concentrations would increase temperatures by 3-4C.
  20. 20. 1957 - US OCEANOGRAPHER ROGER REVELLE & CHEMIST HANS SUESS SHOWTHAT SEAWATER WILL NOT ABSORB CO2 ENTERING ATMOSPHERE As many had assumed, Revelle writes: "Human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment..."
  21. 21. 1958 - CHARLES DAVID KEELING BEGINS SYSTEMATIC MEASUREMENTS OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AT MAUNA LOA IN HAWAII & ANTARCTICA Within four years, the project - which continues today - provides the first unequivocal proof that CO2 concentrations are rising.
  22. 22. 1960 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHESTHREE BILLION.
  23. 23. 1965 - A US PRESIDENT'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE PANEL WARNSTHAT GREENHOUSE EFFECT IS A "REAL CONCERN".
  24. 24. 1972 - FIRST UN ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE IN STOCKHOLM Climate change hardly registers on the agenda, which centers on issues such as chemical pollution, atomic bomb testing and whaling. The United Nations Environment Program (Unep) is formed as a result.
  25. 25. 1975 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHES FOUR BILLION.
  26. 26. 1975 - US SCIENTIST WALLACE BROECKER PUTS TERM "GLOBAL WARMING" INTO PUBLIC DOMAIN IN THETITLE OF A SCIENTIFIC PAPER.
  27. 27. 1987 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHES FIVE BILLION.
  28. 28. 1987 - MONTREAL PROTOCOL AGREEDTO RESTRICT CHEMICALSTHAT DAMAGETHE OZONE LAYER Although not established with climate change in mind, it has had a greater impact on greenhouse gas emissions than the Kyoto Protocol.
  29. 29. 1988 - INTERGOVERNME NTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC) FORMED TO COLLATE AND ASSESS EVIDENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE.
  30. 30. 1989 - MARGARETTHATCHER WARNS IN SPEECHTO UN: “WE ARE SEEING A VAST INCREASE IN THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE REACHING THE ATMOSPHERE…" The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto." She calls for a global treaty on climate change.
  31. 31. 1989 - CARBON EMISSIONS FROM FOSSIL FUEL REACH SIX BILLION TONNES PER YEAR.
  32. 32. 1990 - IPCC FIRST ASSESSMENT REPORT It concludes that temperatures have risen by 0.3-0.6C over the last century, that humanity's emissions are adding to the atmosphere's natural complement of greenhouse gases, and that the addition would be expected to result in warming.
  33. 33. 1992 - GOVERNMENTS AGREETHE UNITED FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE @ EARTH SUMMIT IN RIO DE JANEIRO Its key objective is "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". Developed countries agree to return their emissions to 1990 levels.
  34. 34. 1995 - IPCC SECOND ASSESSMENT REPORT CONCLUDES "A DISCERNIBLE HUMAN INFLUENCE" ONTHE EARTH'S CLIMATE. This has been called the first definitive statement that humans are responsible for climate change.
  35. 35. 1997 - KYOTO PROTOCOL AGREED Developed nations pledge to reduce emissions by an average of 5% by the period 2008-12, with wide variations on targets for individual countries. US Senate immediately declares it will not ratify the treaty.
  36. 36. 1998 - EL NINO COMBINES WITH GLOBAL WARMINGTO PRODUCE WARMESTYEAR ON RECORD The average global temperature reached 0.52C above the mean for the period 1961-90 (a commonly used baseline).
  37. 37. 1998 - PUBLICATION OF CONTROVERSIAL "HOCKEY STICK" GRAPH INDICATING MODERN-DAY TEMPS HAVE RISEN IN NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OVER LAST 1,000YEARS.
  38. 38. 1999 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHES SIX BILLION.
  39. 39. 2001 - PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH REMOVES US FROM KYOTO PROCESS.
  40. 40. 2001 - IPCC THIRD ASSESSMENT REPORT FINDS "NEW & STRONGER EVIDENCE" THAT HUMANITY'S EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES ARE MAIN CAUSE OF WARMING SEEN IN SECOND HALF OF 20TH CENTURY.
  41. 41. 2005 -THE KYOTO PROTOCOL BECOMES INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR COUNTRIES STILL INSIDE IT.
  42. 42. 2005 - UK PRIME MINISTERTONY BLAIR SELECTS CLIMATE CHANGE AS A PRIORITY FOR HISTERMS AS CHAIR OFTHE G8 & PRESIDENT OF EU.
  43. 43. 2006 - STERN REVIEW CONCLUDES THAT CLIMATE CHANGE COULD DAMAGE GLOBAL GDP BY UPTO 20%.
  44. 44. 2006 - CARBON EMISSIONS FROM FOSSIL FUEL BURNING AND INDUSTRY REACH EIGHT BILLION TONNES PER YEAR.
  45. 45. 2007 - IPCC'S FOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT CONCLUDES ITS MORE THAN 90% LIKELYTHAT HUMANITY'S EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MODERN-DAY CLIMATE CHANGE.
  46. 46. 2007 - IPCC & FORMER USVICE-PRESIDENT AL GORE RECEIVETHE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".
  47. 47. 2007 - UN NEGOTIATIONS IN BALI LEADTOTHE TWO-YEAR "BALI ROADMAP" AIMED TO CREATE NEW GLOBALTREATY BY END OF 2009.
  48. 48. 2008 - HALF A CENTURY AFTER BEGINNING OBSERVATIONS AT MAUNA LOA,THE KEELING PROJECT SHOWSTHAT CO2 CONCENTRATIONS HAVE RISEN SIGNIFICANTLY FROM 1958 - 2008.
  49. 49. 2008 - PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA PLEDGESTO "ENGAGE VIGOROUSLY" WITHTHE REST OF THE WORLD ON CLIMATE CHANGE.
  50. 50. 2009 - CHINA OVERTAKES US AS WORLD'S BIGGEST GREENHOUSE GAS EMITTER.
  51. 51. 2009 - COMPUTER HACKERS DOWNLOAD EMAILS FROM A SERVER AT UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA'S CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT & RELEASE ONTHE INTERNET, LEADINGTO THE "CLIMATEGATE" AFFAIR.
  52. 52. 2010 - DEVELOPED COUNTRIES CONTRIBUTE TOTHREE-YEAR DEALTO HELP "GREEN" ECONOMIES & ADAPTTO CLIMATE IMPACTS 2010 - A series of reviews into "ClimateGate" and the IPCC ask for more openness, but clear scientists of malpractice. 2010 - The UN summit in Mexico does not collapse, as had been feared, but ends with agreements on a number of issues.
  53. 53. 2011 - HUMAN POPULATION REACHES SEVEN BILLION 2011 - A new analysis of the Earth's temperature record by scientists concerned over the "ClimateGate" allegations proves the planet's land surface really has warmed over the last century. 2011 - Data shows concentrations of greenhouse gases are rising faster than in previous years.
  54. 54. 2012 - ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES RECORD LOW SINCE SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS BEGAN IN 1979.
  55. 55. 2013 - FIRST PART OF IPCC'S FIFTH ASSESSMENT REPORT SAYS SCIENTISTS ARE 95% CERTAINTHAT HUMANS ARETHE "DOMINANT CAUSE" OF GLOBAL WARMING SINCETHE 1950’S.
  56. 56. FOR MORE GLOBAL NEWS & DISCUSSION, VISIT JOHN SLIFKO’S CIVIL SPHERE BLOG SITE: HTTP:// CIVILSPHERE.NET/ Follow John Slifko on Twitter @JohnSlifko

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