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Climate change 101 - Introduction to Climate Change Science (UNDP presentation)

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UNDP presentation by Matt Spannagle

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Climate change 101 - Introduction to Climate Change Science (UNDP presentation)

  1. 1. Introduction to Climate Change Matt Spannagle [email_address] Bratislava, 14 March 2011
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Climate change Science </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change policies (UNFCCC, KP etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change mitigation & adaptation response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate finance & carbon finance (Green Fund, CDM, EUETS, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change & UNDP </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Science of Climate Change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenhouse Effect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenhouse Gases and their energy absorption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global Warming Potentials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling and predicting future effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate Change Impacts </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Greenhouse Effect <ul><li>Natural process </li></ul><ul><li>Well-understood principle that greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere (Arhenius,1896) </li></ul><ul><li>Average temperature would be 33°C cooler without greenhouse effect </li></ul><ul><li>Greenhouse gases allow short wavelength ultraviolet (UV) and visible light from the sun to pass through the atmosphere, but absorb some of the heat re-emitted from the earth as longer wave length infrared radiation (IR) </li></ul>
  5. 6. Global Energy Budget Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997: Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget, Bull. Am. Met. Soc. 78, 197-208
  6. 7. Albedo 0 = perfect absorption 1 = perfect reflection 0.05 Equatorial oceans at noon Up to 0.60 Oceans with sea ice 0.14 – 0.18 Cities 0.40 – 0.60 Old Snow 0.75 – 0.95 Fresh Snow 0.05 – 0.10 Dense Forests 0.14 – 0.20 Forests 0.15 - 0.25 Green Crops 0.16 - 0.20 Grassland 0.18 – 0.28 Sand Albedo Material
  7. 8. Greenhouse Gases <ul><li>Carbon Dioxide CO 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Methane CH 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrous Oxide N 2 O </li></ul><ul><li>Synthetic Gases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) H n F m C o </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) C n F m </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sulphur Hexafluoride SF 6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethers & Halogenated Ethers (NMVOCs) H n C m OC o H p </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Water Vapour H 2 O* </li></ul>* Note that water vapour is largest contributor to greenhouse gases (~ 95%) but the majority of the sources are not anthropogenic in nature
  8. 9. Effect of GHGs on radiation <ul><li>atmosphere is fairly transparent to incoming solar radiation </li></ul><ul><li>Different gases absorb at different wavelengths </li></ul><ul><li>Natural mix of gases in the atmosphere absorbs some of the long-wave radiation emitted by the earth </li></ul><ul><li>All gases have peaks of absorption at certain wavelengths, dependant on molecular properties. Some absorb almost 100% of the energy radiated from the earth at a particular wavelength </li></ul><ul><li>Some earth radiation escapes the atmosphere because it is at a wavelength where the atmospheric concentration of gases is not sufficient to absorb outgoing radiation </li></ul><ul><li>Gases that absorb at these wavelengths are effective at increasing the temperature of the earth </li></ul>
  9. 10. The Sun’s and Earth’s Radiation
  10. 11. Absorption Spectrum
  11. 12. Solar Radiation (incoming) Solar irradiation curves, showing location of atmospheric absorption bands H 2 O CO 2 CH 4 N 2 O
  12. 13. Absorptivity of Earth’s Radiation Curves (outgoing)
  13. 14. Global Warming Potentials 6.5 21 56 12.0 ±3 CH 4 Methane 1 1 1 50-200 CO 2 Carbon Dioxide 9,800 11,700 9,100 264 CHF 3 Trifluoromethane (HFC-23) 170 310 280 120 N 2 O Nitrous Oxide 23,900 6,500 100 yrs 34,900 16,300 3,200 SF 6 Sulphur Hexafluoride 10,000 4,400 50,000 CF 4 Carbon Tetrafluoride 500 yrs 20 yrs Global Warming Potentials 1996 Lifetime (years) Chemical Formula Gas
  14. 15. Background Information Carbon Cycle Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere CO 2 Biosphere Producers Consumers Decomposers Carbonates in Solution Carbonate Rocks Fossil Fuels Photosynthesis Combustion and/or Respiration
  15. 16. Background Information - Carbon Cycle Ricklefs, Robert E., The Economy of Nature, 3rd Ed.. 1993, W.H. Freeman and Co., New York Pools (billion metric tons) Fluxes (billion metric tons/year)
  16. 17. Links with other atmospheric pollutant issues <ul><li>Clean air / Acid rain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most processes that produce GHGs also produce other air pollutants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reductions in related processes typically lead to the reduction in both but some reductions of one actually increase the other </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stratospheric ozone depletion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ozone depleting substances (ODS) are generally powerful GHGs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replacement of phased out ODSs with larger quantities of GHGs cancels beneficial effect of initial reduction on climate change (e.g. growth in HFCs due to phase out of CFCs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Montreal Protocol – 1987, landmark international agreement to protect the ozone layer </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Combined Annual Land-Surface Air and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (1861 to 2000, cf 1961 -1990). Two standard error bars shown on the annual number . Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – Technical Summary. Geneva, 2001.
  18. 19. Northern Hemisphere Temperature Reconstruction (1000 to 2000) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – Technical Summary. Geneva, 2001.
  19. 20. Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – Technical Summary. Geneva, 2001.
  20. 21. Variations of temperature, CH 4 & atmospheric CO 2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – Technical Summary. Geneva, 2001. CO 2 (2001) CH 4 (2001) (> 2X scale) Data derived from air trapped within ice cores from Antarctica
  21. 22. More recent - CO2 & Temperature Two standard error bars shown on the annual number . Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report - Climate Change 2007 2009: 387ppm
  22. 23. Current evidence
  23. 24. Current evidence - Extensive thinning on the margins of Greenland and Antarctica
  24. 25. The future? <ul><li>Up to this point - facts that are well understood, and not in dispute. </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean for the future? </li></ul>
  25. 26. Modeled Variations of mean Earth’s Surface Temperature - 1000 to 2100 <ul><li>1000 to 1861, N. Hemisphere, proxy data </li></ul><ul><li>1861 to 2000, Global, instrumental </li></ul><ul><li>2000 to 2100, SRES projections </li></ul>IPCC, TAR - Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – Technical Summary. Geneva, 2001.
  26. 27. Global variability in Projected Changes in Annual Temperatures for the 2050s
  27. 28. … but reality is not average… mean <5% > 5% 15 o C 25 o C 35 o C 11 o C 25 o C 39 o C Historic ‘ average’ increase of 3 o C Average (3) + variability of 4 o C 22 o C 12 o C 32 o C Average + variability ‘ average’ increase May 1 st Historic
  28. 29. What we’re seeing….. NASA data for Jan-Apr 2010, 0.75 o C above 1951-80 base period
  29. 30. Moscow, August 2010. Hottest summer for at least 130 years, probably for last 1000 years, sparking forest fires and underground peat fires What we’re seeing…..
  30. 31. Global variability in Projected Precipitation
  31. 32. Pakistan, August 2010 What we’re seeing…..
  32. 33. Flooding in Ostritz near Czech-Polish border, 2010 What we’re seeing…..
  33. 34. Rapid loss of Arctic sea ice Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report - 2007
  34. 35. Context <ul><li>The merchant vessel Fraternity passed Nowaja Zemlya, regarded by Russia as the official exit point of the Northern Sea Route, in September 2009. </li></ul>What we’re seeing…..
  35. 36. … but <ul><li>Models are not reality </li></ul><ul><li>The earth’s climate is extraordinarily complex </li></ul><ul><li>Some things that may have a large impact on the modeled projections are not well understood </li></ul><ul><li>* not all changes will be negative </li></ul>
  36. 37. Climate Change Amplifying Effects (Positive Feedback) <ul><li>Warming will reduce snow cover or melt part of the Arctic ice sheet. This reduces albedo increasing the temperature further. </li></ul><ul><li>Methane locked in earth's permafrost will be released when heated. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher temperature increases the amount of water vapour in the air. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased heat encourages the rate of respiration in plants and animals releasing CO 2 . </li></ul><ul><li>Heat increases the volume of water in the oceans and seas (thermal expansion) consequently increasing the magnitude of sea level rise. </li></ul><ul><li>Heat accelerates decomposition of organic matter in soils & peat, which releases additional CO 2 into the atmosphere. </li></ul>
  37. 38. Climate Change Decreasing Effects (Negative Feedback) <ul><li>More evaporation results in more cloud cover, increasing earth’s albedo and thereby reducing the temperature </li></ul><ul><li>More evaporation increases polar precipitation of snow, which increases earth's albedo </li></ul><ul><li>Increased concentrations of CO 2 in the atmosphere promotes photosynthesis globally (‘fertilisation effect’), which sequesters more carbon into the biosphere </li></ul>
  38. 39. Some Potential Climate Change Impacts <ul><li>Typically media focus on catastrophic and dramatic events (eg: sea level rise, tropical cyclones etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Greater impact from loss of predictability of climate in a location or region: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will frost trigger the flowering of fruit-crops? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will the winter be cold enough to kill off insect pests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will activities attracting tourists be possible (e.g. skiing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will the maximum daily temperature exceed a survival threshold for the local specialty crop? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which crop should be planted, given the amount of rainfall may be much less than previous years? </li></ul></ul>
  39. 40. End Matt Spannagle http://www.undp.org/ [email_address]

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