Local Motions in the Atmosphere That Affect Weather and Climate

Local motions in the atmosphere also affect the weather and climate of an area. These patterns play a large role in determining what plants and animals can live in the region. The ecosystem of any area has grown up around its climate and, if that climate is altered, every species in the ecosystem must either adapt, migrate, or die. One of the major concerns about global warming is that it will affect ecosystems, upsetting delicate balances between climate, plants, and animals. If major food...

The IntertropiCAL CoNvergence ZoNE

The ITCZ is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth at the equator. It is formed by the upward flow of warm, humid air from just north and south of the equator. Air is brought into the ITCZ through the force of the Hadley cell and lifted high in the atmosphere by convection. This area is a prime area for thunderstorm activity. Areas in this region receive precipitation more than 200 days each year. The ITCZ changes position seasonally, shifting north and south of the equator more than 315...

Scientific Viewpoints And Scale

Although the human cause of global warming had been presented years before it was accepted as a scientific theory, it was not taken seriously at first due to its scale. At the beginning of the 20th century, many scientists did not think that humans could have a significant effect on the world's environment they believed any human contribution would be small. Many scientists were researching solar activity (sunspots), ocean circulation, and changes in the Earth's axis, orbit, and tilt. It was...

S

Salinity, of seawater 111, 113-115, 120, 121 San Andreas Fault (California) 44 satellites 131 Schmidt, Gavin A. 147 Scripps Institution of Oceanography 165, 176c sea breeze 96, 99-100 seafloor spreading 43, 46, 48, 51-53 sea ice 114-115. See also Arctic warming ice melt sea-land breeze 99-100 sea level rise 143, 144, 162, 170-171, 179c, 180c seasons 74-76, 81, 82, 95 sea surface temperature. See ocean surface temperature seawater 113-115 sequestration. See carbon sequestration severe weather....

Carbon sinks and sequestration

A carbon sink is a reservoir that accumulates and stores carbon. Natural carbon sinks include the oceans and the photosynthesis of plants. The process whereby these sinks remove carbon from the atmosphere is known as carbon sequestration. This is an important concept for global warming because it is becoming increasingly urgent that we find ways to store the extra CO2 that is being added to the environment because of human activities. Forests are carbons sinks. Trees take in CO2 as part of the...

Introduction

Hardly any other scientific issue has generated so much controversy as global warming has over the past few decades. Large groups of people strongly agree that global warming is real, it is happening right now, and action must be taken immediately before it is too late for the Earth to recover. Other groups disagree, saying that the present-day warming of the Earth's atmosphere is just part of a natural cycle and cannot be controlled. Still others do not know what to think about all the...

Radiation

Radiation is the direct transfer of heat energy. Energy travels by electromagnetic waves from the Sun to the Earth. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy associated with it, such as UV radiation. Con- Energy coming from the Sun can be scattered, absorbed, and reflected. versely, the longer the wavelength, the lower the energy associated with it, such as radio waves and microwaves. The majority of radiation from the Sun is in the visible and near-visible portion of the...

Acknowledgments

Global warming may very well be one of the most important issues you will have to make a decision on in your lifetime. The decisions you make on energy sources and daily conservation practices will determine not only the quality of your life, but also the lives of your descendants. I cannot stress enough how important it is to gain a good understanding of global warming what it is, why it is happening, how it can be slowed down, why everybody is contributing to the problem, and why everybody...

Rates of change

Causes of climate change often trigger additional changes (feedbacks) within the climate system that can amplify or subdue the climate's initial response to them. For instance, if changes in the Earth's orbit trigger an interglacial (warm) period, increasing CO2 may amplify the warming by enhancing the greenhouse effect. When temperatures get cooler, CO2 enters the oceans, and the atmosphere becomes cooler. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, during the...

The earth Is heating up

James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), analyzed the temperature data compiled for 2004 and determined that the Earth's surface temperature worldwide was 0.86 F (0.48 C) above the average temperature for the time period from 1951 to 1980. Dr. Hansen noted that, There has been a strong warming trend over the past 30 years, a trend that has shown to be due primarily to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Even though natural...

U

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation 57, 59 Union of Concerned Scientists 27 United Nations 177c United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 177c United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) 128, 153 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 162, 177c, 178c United States Global Change Research Program 178c United States Office of Naval Research 175c United States Weather Bureau 15 uplift weathering hypothesis 53-54, 54 upper atmosphere 109 upwelling 87-88, 114 UV. See...

The earths energy Balance

Climate scientists study the Earth's energy balance when they try to determine how much the Earth is warming up cooling down, where it is, when it is, and how different regions affect each other. In April 2005, the GISS completed a study of the Earth's energy balance using several different scientific tools. They used global climate models, satel lite observations, and measurements taken from ground observation at different sites. What they found was surprising. They were able to determine that...

G

General circulation models (GCMs) 50 general circulation of the atmosphere 80 geomorphology 53 Giese, Benjamin 116 GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) 167-170 glacial cycles 69, 73 glacial melt 162 glacial periods 69 glaciation 73 Glacier National Park, Montana 162 glaciers 56, 121 global cooling 47, 53, 54, 59, 60 global dimming 18 global energy balance 66-69 global system 5-6 global warming current state of scientific knowledge 157-159 defined 7-10 early studies 123-124 environmental...

The origin of el nios name

On January 10, 2005, a landslide hit the community of La Conchita in Ventura County, California, destroying or seriously damaging 36 homes and killing 10 people. Landslides and debris flows are one of the consequences of El Ni o. (RandyJibson, USGS) The drop in winds reduces the strength of both the surface and subsurface ocean currents and interferes with the cold-water upwell-ing at the equator that is responsible for supplying ocean ecosystems with valuable nutrients. This could seriously...

Preface

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children. This ancient Native American proverb and what it implies resonates today as it has become increasingly obvious that people's actions and interactions with the environment affect not only living conditions now, but also those of many generations to follow. Humans must address the effect they have on the Earth's climate and how their choices today will have an impact on future generations. Many years ago, Mark Twain...

Convection

Convection heats by transporting entire groups of molecules from one place to another with a substance. The substance is usually a fluid that can move freely, such as water or air. Think of a pot of thick soup on a stove. By conduction, the soup at the bottom of the pan heats first. Then it begins to rise (because heat rises) to the top of the column of soup. As it rises, cooler soup up above sinks to the bottom to take its place. That portion then heats and rises. Soon, a circular pattern of...

Eccentricity

Eccentricity is the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Its orbit is not perfectly circular, but rather slightly oval in shape and the degree of ovalness changes throughout time. Because it is oval in shape, its orbit changes the distance from the Earth to the Sun at different times of the year. Now, the Earth is the closest to the Sun in its orbit in January and farthest away in July (about 3 percent difference). Currently the Earth's orbit is only slightly oval which means the...

The Sun and Volcanoes Their Roles in Regional Climate

Scientists are also interested in global warming's impact on smaller regional and local levels. Because of readily available data, climatolo-gists often refer to data collected from 1600 through 1860 as a baseline to compare against current data. Human activity has drastically changed the composition of the atmosphere since 1600 and by comparing present data to the baseline data, scientists can determine how much it has changed. Before the Industrial Revolution, the biggest controller of...

Ocean Currents

In order to fully understand global warming, it is necessary to understand the world's ocean currents, where they are, how they work, how they interact with the atmosphere, how they influence climate on land, and how they interact with the Earth's heat budget. This chapter will examine the basic principles of ocean circulation and the roles of seawater density, temperature, and salinity. It will then discuss specific ocean phenomena such as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the Pacific...

R

Radiation (of heat) 62-63, 63, 64 radiative forcing 148, 150 radioactive decay 45 radiocarbon dating 28 rainfall aerosols 69 droughts 168-169 El Ni o 88-89 Hadley cell 80, 81 ITCZ 115 jet stream 98 lake effect 102 monsoons 100 orographic precipitation 101 trade winds 85 Rapley, Chris 14 rates of climate change 69-71 reflectivity. See albedo regional wind systems 95-99, 96-97 Rehm, Ernst 120 Revelle, Roger 15 Rio Summit 177c rotation of Earth 76-79, 77 of tropical cyclones 77

Change

Scientists at NASA have determined that ozone and climate affect each other. According to Bill Stockwell of NASA's Desert Research Institute, temperature, humidity, winds, and the presence of other chemicals in the atmosphere influence ozone formation and the presence of ozone, in turn, affects those atmospheric constituents. When humans first began to harm the ozone layer in the early 1970s through the use of CFCs and halons (halons are a compound of one or two carbon atoms combined with...

The Global Warming Issue

Global warming is one of the most controversial issues society has ever had to deal with. Because it affects every person on Earth and must be dealt with on a global scale, it has captured the attention of not only scientists, but politicians, academicians, economists, merchants, farmers, planners, medical specialists, engineers, and every other person who has an interest in the environment, food supply, water supply, health, and future of life on Earth. This chapter takes a look at an early...

Mountain Valley Breezes

Mountain-valley breezes are common in areas with significant topographic relief. During the day, as the Sun heats up the land and air at the valley bottom and sides, a valley breeze develops. When the air heats, it becomes less dense and more buoyant, allowing it to start flowing up the valley sides. The vertical rise of the air along the sides of the mountain is restricted by a temperature inversion layer, confining the airflow to the valley (not letting the rising air escape into the...

Atmospheric energy

There is a tremendous amount of energy flow in the atmosphere. Before any of the Sun's energy can reach the Earth, it must first pass through the atmosphere. Once it enters the atmosphere, several things can happen to it. Some of the energy is directly absorbed by water vapor and ozone. Depending on existing cloud cover, some of it may be reflected directly back to outer space because clouds have a high albedo. Energy is transferred throughout the atmosphere and to the Earth by three basic...

Conduction

Conduction is the process where heat energy is transmitted by being in contact with other molecules. In the process of conduction, an object heats by being in physical contact with another hot object. Each object on Earth is a conductor of some sort. Good conductors are those that responded quickly and heat up when heat is applied to them. Metals are an example of a good conductor. This is why metal cooking pans often have wooden or plastic handles. If the handle were metal, it would burn...

The pacific decadal oscillation

The PDO is another cyclic pattern in the oceans that causes climate variability. This pattern affects the Pacific Ocean on a cycle that lasts 20 to 30 years. The PDO is most visible in the North Pacific North American area (north of 20 N latitude). During a warm (positive) phase, the western Pacific becomes cool and the eastern part warms. During a cool (negative) phase, the western Pacific is warm and the eastern cool. One consequence of the PDO is major changes in northeast Pacific marine...

Transform

Most transform faults are found on the ocean floor, offsetting some of the active spreading ridges, producing zigzag plate margins. Shallow earthquakes are associated with them. The best-known example of a sliding plate is the San Andreas Fault in California. The San Andreas, which is 800 miles (1,300 km) long and in places up to 50-100 miles (80-160 km) wide, slices through two-thirds of the length of California. Here, the Pacific plate has been grinding...

The Concept Of A Global System

Both the circulation of the atmosphere and the oceans occur on a global scale. Major currents in the ocean carry huge amounts of heat from the equator to the poles. There are global ocean currents that circulate heat energy on the surface and at great depths, connecting the Earth's major oceans. One extremely important current moves in a winding, endless loop scientists refer to its conveyor belt-like properties as the thermohaline circulation (THC). This current is significant to major parts...

Biogeochemical cycles

The Earth is a living active planet, always changing, and functions through various energy and chemical cycles. There are continual interactions between the biosphere (life), lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), and atmosphere (air) during these cycles. Various substances on Earth move endlessly throughout these four spheres. Of the four spheres, the atmosphere transports elements the fastest. Water, for example, evaporates into the atmosphere from both the land and the ocean, where it...

Coping With Global Climate Change Adaptation

Enough research has been conducted that scientists have determined that, if CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice their pre-industrial levels (278 ppm), global climate will probably warm 3.5 to 8 F (2.1-4.8 C). Scientists also warn that there is a 10 percent chance warming could be even higher and doubling of CO2 concentrations could occur sometime around 2050 if immediate action is not taken to find renewable sources of energy. Climate change scientists also warn that even if CO2...

Public And Media Response

Public perception is critical to the future of global warming. Whether people understand that global warming is an important issue that must be dealt with will determine the future of the Earth. Many people's perceptions are shaped by the media. Information learned at school and conversations with adults are also important sources of information for students. It is important to become educated about the topic. Be aware of what scientists know, what they suspect, and of the controversy...

T

Taino people 104 Tambora volcano 60 tangential velocity 79 technology 151-152 tectonic plates 43, 48. See also plate tectonics temperate zone 156 temperature constants 100 temperature inversion layer 103, 104 thermocline 113 thermohaline circulation (THC) 6, 7, 113-114, 119. See also great ocean conveyor belt thermosphere 11, 12 Three Mile Island 133, 134 thunderstorm 87, 107, 115 Times Beach, Missouri 133-134 tornadoes 88, 89, 98 total solar irradiance (TSI) 60 toxic waste accidents 133-137...

Oceans and the atmosphere

In order for all of Earth's cycles to work together, they must exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium. This means that as substances move and change at different times and places, they must do it in a way that does not have a negative effect on the entire working system all the components must work together and complement each other. This dynamic equilibrium changes as the seasons change, because different needs must be met at different times. In the spring and summer when plants grow, they...

Precession

The third of the Milankovitch cycles is precession. Precession is the Earth's slow wobble as it spins on its axis. While the Earth rotates on its axis, it is not a perfect rotation. Like a spinning top winding down begins to wobble as it spins on its axis, the Earth does the same. The wobble slowly changes the direction toward where the Earth's axis is pointed. Today, for example, the Earth's north axis is pointed at Polaris, the North Star, but that has not always been the case, nor will it...

E

Energy from 60-62, 61 orbital variations 72-76 rotation and Coriolis force 76-79, 77 surface temperature changes 21 earthquakes 44, 46, 53 Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) 177c eccentricity 73-74, 76 economics 126, 152 ecosystem climate forcing and 149-150 El Nino upwelling and 88 hydrologic cycle and 34, 35 local atmospheric motions and 94 PDO and 115-116 trade winds and 86 EIA ( U.S. Energy Information Administration) 38 electricity generation 34 electromagnetic spectrum waves 16, 17,...

Antarctic Climate Change

Scientists at NASA ran a computer model in 2004 that indicated that the South Pole would enter a period of warming for the next 50 years. Because the use of ozone-depleting chemicals has been banned for several years, the hole in the ozone layer is repairing itself as ozone levels return to normal. This, in turn, will cause dominant airflow patterns in the atmosphere that weaken the westerly winds and warm the air temperature. The model was run several times comparing the oceans to the...

Monsoon

A monsoon is a regional-scale wind that changes directions on a seasonal basis. Similar to sea-land breezes, monsoons are also caused by temperature contrasts, though on a much larger scale. Their wind flow also corresponds with the seasons. During the summer season, the continents heat up much faster than the oceans, causing the warm, moist air from the ocean to blow in from the ocean over land, creating periods of heavy rainfall. As the warm, humid air blows on shore, the moisture is...

Orbital Variations

Varies because of the mass gravitational attractions among Earth, the Moon, the Sun, and other planets. These changing gravitational attractions cause variations in the Earth's angle, position, and path they even slightly alter the positions of the seasons. Slight variations in the Earth's orbit can lead to changes in the distribution and amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface. There are three aspects of the Earth's orbit that change periodically and have an influence on climate...

Global warming and atmospheric circulation

According to a study conducted in 2006 by Gabriel Vecchi of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the trade winds in the Pacific Ocean are weakening as a result of global warming. This conclusion is based on the findings of a study that showed the biology in the area may be changing, which could be harmful to marine life and have the long-term effect of disrupting the marine food chain. Researchers predict that it could also reduce the biological productivity of the Pacific...

The Carbon Cycle and Its Links to Other Major Cycles

Carbon (C) is a chemical element found in group 14 in the periodic table. It is abundant on Earth and exists in more than 1 million compounds including diamonds, gas, coal, rocks, shells, and many other things. In fact, all of the living matter on Earth is composed of carbon all plants, animals, and humans. Carbon is a critical building block of life. This is why archaeologists and paleontologists use carbon in dating techniques when they are trying to determine the age of a very old object a...

Solar energy

The Sun is the source of most of the energy that drives the climate systems on Earth. The nuclear reaction processes occurring within the Sun have caused it to expand over time and gradually become brighter. Models indicate that the earliest Sun shone 25 to 30 percent more faintly than today its luminosity has slowly increased to what it is today. This scenario has created an intriguing problem for climate scientists, however. A decrease of just a few percentage points of luminosity of the...

The IntergoVernmental pANEL oN Climate Change Ipcc

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of approximately 2,500 scientists working together to study the problem of global warming and focusing on a workable strategy to deal with the problem before it is too late. The IPCC was formed jointly in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) because of a growing worldwide concern over global warming. It is considered to be the most technical and authoritative group...

H

Hadley cell 79-81, 115 halocarbons 19 Halons 58 high low pressure systems 95, 96, 109, 116-117 Himalaya Mountains 44, 82 Hooker Chemical Company 135 horticulture xvi, 164-165 Hulme, Mike 171 human activity 23-27 and carbon cycle 30-34, 33 and climate forcing 149-150 and CO2 levels 12-13 and early climate change theories 176c and enhanced greenhouse effect 23-24 and EPA assessment of global warming 157-158 in IPCC reports 154-155, 178c and trade winds 84 Hurrell, Jim 118 hurricane(s) 77, 88,...

A

Abrupt climate change 70, 120-121 adaptation 171-172 aerosols 60, 69, 132 agriculture xvi, 164-165 albedo and Arctic ice melt 138-139, 143 of clouds 62 defined 17 and Faint Young Sun Paradox 56 and global energy balance 68 and infrared radiation 58 American Geophysical Union 14 Andes Mountains 44 ANL (Argonne National Laboratory) 120 Annan, James 127 Antarctic climate change 14, 170-171, 177c Antarctic ice sheet 176c, 178c, 179c anthropogenic climate change. See human activity Arctic warming...

Global Warming and Future Droughts

The scientists at GISS completed research in February 2007 linking future global warming with droughts in certain parts of the world, including the southwestern United States. They used records of the Sun's output in a model to illustrate how a climate dominated by greenhouse gases would ultimately change rainfall patterns. What they found was that the same areas that experienced droughts in ancient times would experience them again. One of the consequences of global warming is drought. This...

The Big Picture

This chapter focuses on looking at warming as a global issue and a global system. It will present what climate scientists refer to as climate forcing the positive and negative feedbacks of the climate system and what they mean to the issue as a whole. Next, it will introduce the concepts of scientific inquiry and the limits of technology, their common ground and the boundaries between them. The structure, goals, and purpose of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be...

Orographic precipitation

Another local motion in the atmosphere is caused by the presence of a mountain range and the resulting precipitation pattern that occurs when prevailing winds are consistently pushed over a specific side of the mountain barrier. In the midlatitudes, when low-pressure cells move eastward they interact with the topography. This is common in the western United States when air masses encounter the massive Rockies. Air flow eastward from over the Pacific Ocean carries huge amounts of water vapor....

Contents

Elements of the Climate System 1 Federal Agencies Studying Climate 5 The Concept of a Global System 5 Climate Variability and Cycles 6 What Exactly Is Global Warming 7 Global Warming Myths and Facts 8 The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming 14 The Carbon Cycle and Its Links to Other Major Cycles 28 Biogeochemical Cycles 29 The Carbon Cycle Natural v. Human The Hydrologic Cycle 34 The Relationships between the Land, the Oceans, Carbon Sinks and Sequestration 36 Plate Tectonics Climate and...

C

Callendar, Guy S. 176c Canadell, Pep 32 cancer 133 cap and trade programs 179c carbon 4, 23, 28, 68-69 carbon balance 30-31 carbon cycle and biochemical cycles 29 and carbon sinks 36-40 and deforestation 23 links to other cycles 28-40 natural v. human amplification 30-34, 31-33 need for greater understanding of 174 carbon dioxide (CO2) research 126, 128 agriculture and 164-165 Svante Arrhenius's research 123-124 atmospheric increases since Industrial Revolution 12-13, 15, 22-23, 31-34...

Advances In TechnoLoGy And EduCATioN

Even though the theory of global warming was first introduced in the late 1800s, it was not until the mid-1900s that the theory actually started to gain notice in the scientific community. This was largely due to advances in technology and education. The first major achievement was the development of infrared spectroscopy for measuring long-wave radiation in the 1940s. Through the ability to measure infrared radiation, scientists could determine that atmospheric CO2 was absorbing more infrared...

Plate Tectonics And Global Warming

Plate tectonics is one of the three major types of climate forcing in the natural world (the other two being changes in the Earth's orbit and changes in the strength of the Sun). Climate forcing is when a mechanism forces the climate to change. These are both natural and human-caused climate forcing mechanisms. Unlike some forces that have a direct effect on climate, such as the atmosphere, the land's surface, and vegetation, this one works very slowly, over millions of years. Because...

A storm with many names

Hurricane actually comes from the name Huracan, the god of evil to the Tainos tribe from Central America. Other parts of the world use different terms for these storms. In the western Pacific and China Sea, they are called typhoons. Typhoon comes from the Cantonese word tai-fung, which means great wind. In countries such as Pakistan, India, Australia, and Bangladesh, they are called cyclones. In the Philippine Islands they are called baguios. The true scientific term for the storm is tropical...

An overwhelming consensus

The majority of the scientific community is no longer debating the basic facts of climate change. They have been accepted by the IPCC and backed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Geophysical Union. According to Gabriele Hegerl, associate research professor at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, who was a coordinating lead author of the IPCC report's chapter on Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, the IPCC's 2007 assessment gives a very...

Scientific Inquiry And The Limits Of Technology

Scientists are always asking and answering questions. In order to get answers, they must follow steps through discovery and analysis. Formulating a hypothesis and designing an experiment to test the hypothesis are the first steps in all scientific inquiry. Once a test has been designed, data must be collected. When collecting data, it is important to maintain data integrity and obtain a representative sample of what is being measured. Then data needs to be interpreted or analyzed. The results...

Extreme weather

Global warming raises serious concerns over its potential to cause damage to people, property, and the environment as a result of extreme weather events, such as severe drought and storms. Today, scientists, such as Dr. Christopher Landsea at NOAA, are trying to understand just how much impact global warming may have on the occurrence and frequency of drought, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It still remains difficult to assess because global warming will have different impacts on different areas of...

Elements of the Climate System

Energy from the Sun drives the Earth's weather and climate. The atmospheric gases are nitrogen, oxygen, and the trace gases, including the noble gases and the greenhouse gases (water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, ozone, and nitrous oxide). These greenhouse gases trap some of the energy from the Sun, creating a natural greenhouse effect, without which normal temperatures would be much lower and the Earth would be too cold to live on. Thanks to the greenhouse effect, the Earth's average...

El Nino

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is a global mechanism that is caused by the large-scale interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere. The Southern Oscillation (a more recent discovery) refers to an oscillation in the surface pressure (atmospheric mass) between the southeastern tropical Pacific and the Australian-Indonesian regions. When the waters in the eastern Pacific are abnormally warm referred to as an El Ni o event sea level pressure drops in the eastern Pacific and...

THE Great oCEAN CoNVEYoR BELT

The ocean waters are constantly moving from winds that create waves and the pulling of gravity, which causes the tides. One of the most significant features in the ocean is the thermohaline circulation, commonly referred to as the great ocean conveyor belt. This massive, continuous loop of flow plays a critical role in determining the climate of the world. The two mechanisms that make this conveyor belt work are heat and salt. The great conveyor belt plays a major part in distributing the Sun's...

The Earths Energy

Chapter 3 illustrated how the Earth's energy drives plate tectonics, affecting CO2 levels and interactions with air masses in the atmosphere. Related to this, the energy of volcanoes can also affect climate because volcanoes emit both aerosols and CO2 into the atmosphere. When a volcano erupts, it can send ash and sulfate gases to great heights in the atmosphere. If the sulfate combines with water, it produces tiny droplets of sulfuric acid, called aerosols. Aerosols are very small solid...

Ocean Circulation

Global Ocean Conveyor Belt

At the surface, ocean currents are driven by the winds, which make the surface water move parallel to the predominant wind direction, except The surface ocean circulation transports heat globally, maintaining temperatures and supporting marine life. The principal warm and cool currents control climate locally, regionally, and globally. where continental landmasses exist and block its movement. Water also moves vertically in the ocean depths. There are two factors that make water more dense...

Warming

Interactive Forces of Global Warming Interactive Forces of Global Warming CLIMATE SYSTEMS Interactive Forces of Global Warming Copyright 2009 by Julie Kerr Casper, Ph.D. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information contact Facts On File, Inc. An imprint of...

Axial Tilt

Axial tilt, or the tilt of the Earth's axis, is the second of the Milanko-vitch cycles. This is the inclination of the Earth's axis in relation to its plane of orbit around the Sun. If the Earth were not tilted, there would be no seasons. The seasons are created by the change in length of daylight hours. As the seasons progress, the daylight hours get shorter (in winter) or longer (in summer) and the noon Sun changes its altitude in the sky (high altitude in the summer, low in the winter)....

Climate FoRCINGpoSitive And Negative Feedback

Die Alten Gypter Zeitleiste

The Earth's heat budget is controlled by the amount of energy it receives from the Sun and subsequently returns to space. The Earth's global energy balance is maintained when the incoming energy from the Sun is balanced with the outgoing heat from the Earth. There are mechanisms that cause the Earth's energy budget to get out of balance. Then it can result in climate change. There are several mechanisms that can change the Earth's energy balance in either a positive or negative way. Some of...

Climate And Weather

The distinguishing factors between weather and climate are (1) the time interval in which they are taking place (such as a day versus a season) and (2) the scale of the area they are taking place over (such as a village versus a country). Weather is what the atmosphere is currently doing-snowing, raining, or clear skies. Climate is how the atmosphere behaves over relatively long time intervals-such as hot summers, cool winters, or wet springs. Climate also refers to the average condition of a...

The Atmospheres Structure

The atmosphere can be thought of as a thin layer of gases that surround the Earth. The two major elements nitrogen and oxygen make up 99 percent of the volume of the atmosphere. The remaining 1 percent is composed of what are referred to as trace gases. The trace gases include water vapor, methane, argon, carbon dioxide, and ozone. Although they only make up a small portion of the atmosphere, the trace gases are very important. Water vapor in the atmosphere is variable Arid regions may have...

Lake Effect

Another local weather phenomenon is called the lake effect. Lake effect is an episode of heavy winter snowfall that can occur when a mass of cold Arctic air moves over a body of warmer water. This creates an unstable system. The storm pulls moisture from the body of water, which freezes The windward side of a slope in an orographic wind flow pattern receives the greater share of the moisture from an air mass being pushed up and over a mountain barrier. Vegetation on this side is lusher....

Control of Co2 by uplift and Weathering

This theory looks at natural uplift and weathering of the Earth's surface features as the determining factor of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and therefore potential global warming. When land is uplifted, geologic forces go to work on it to erode and wear the land down a process called weathering. The Earth's surface can be uplifted in several different ways. Earthquakes can fracture, fault, and uplift large sections of the Earth's crust. Plate tectonics can also create mountains and high...

Federal agencies studying climate

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) was established in the 1980s by the U.S. National Weather Service. It is the agency that forecasts the El Ni o and La Ni a events in the tropical Pacific. It provides forecasts of climate change as well as real-time monitoring of climatic events by monitoring the atmosphere, the land, and the ocean, supplying vital data for industries, such as transportation, energy, health, water resources, and agriculture. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration...

The Roles Of Variable Seawater Density Temperature And Salinity

In the world's oceans, the properties of density, temperature, and salinity (salt content) all work together and result in distinct characteristics that ultimately relate to climate change and global warming. Solar energy is absorbed by seawater and stored as heat in the oceans. Some of the energy that is absorbed may evaporate seawater, which increases its temperature and salinity. When a substance is heated, it expands and its density is lowered. Conversely, when a substance is cooled, its...

The Carbon Cyclenatural V Human Amplification

Carbon Cycle

Thus, the carbon cycle is extremely important. It also plays a critical role in global warming. Carbon dioxide enters the air during the carbon cycle. Because of its abundance, it enters from several sources. Vast amounts of carbon are stored in the Earth's soils, oceans, and sediments at the bottoms of oceans. Carbon is stored in the Earth's rocks and released when they erode. It exists in all living matter. Every time animals and plants breathe, they exhale CO2. When examining the Earth's...

Svante arrhenius 18591927 swedish chemist

Svante Arrhenius was the first scientist to predict that the climate was changing because of human activities. With the Industrial Revolution gaining momentum, in 1896 he discovered that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was increasing. He predicted that CO2 concentrations would increase along with the increase of fossil fuels being used by industry. At that time, coal was the principal fossil fuel used. It was considered a dirty fuel, adding substantial amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. He...

The Growth Of Environmental Awareness

1970s Environmental Disaster

Another factor that has helped focus attention on global warming in recent years is the growth of environmental awareness. Over the last few decades, there have been several notable anthropogenic environmental disasters. These have made the public more aware of environmental damage sometimes permanent. One of the worst anthropogenic disasters was the explosion at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, USSR, on April 26, 1986. A reactor exploded during a failed cooling system test and ignited a...

Facts about climate change

The Earth's climate has changed significantly over the last century. Scientists have found irrefutable evidence of global warming. As scientists study this evidence and use the information to build computer models, their goal is to be able to better understand how humans are not only affecting the Earth's climate today, but also how they will in the future. The many things they do know about climate change include Current CO2 levels are higher than anytime in the last 420,000 years. The Earth's...

Regional Wind Systems

Differences in atmospheric pressure are what cause the wind to blow. Pressure differences also called pressure gradients can happen at many scales. They can be global or local, but no matter what size, they develop because of differences in heating and cooling of the Earth's surface. It is the heating cooling cycles that happen on a daily basis that cause many of the local wind systems. Air flows from high pressure to low pressure. This pressure gradient is set up when an area of land receives...

The Hydrologic Cycle

Hydrosphere Lithosphere Atmosphere

The hydrologic (water) cycle, like other cycles, plays a direct role in the function of healthy ecosystems. The hydrologic cycle describes the movement of all the water on Earth. It has no starting point and involves the existence and movement of water on, in, and above the Earth. The Earth's water is always moving and changing states from liquid to vapor to ice and back again. This cycle has been in operation for billions of years, and all life depends on its existence. Many scientists are...

The mauna loa

Enhanced Greehouse Effect

Scientists first began to suspect that fossil fuels were contributing to global warming in the mid-1950s. Roger Revelle, a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, used the metaphor that humans were using the Earth's atmosphere to carry out a giant experiment one significant enough to potentially alter the Earth's climate. As scientists became interested in studying CO2 and the ways in which it interacts with the atmosphere, the biosphere, the lithosphere, and the oceans, a working...

What Scientists Know Speculate And Do Not Know About Global Warming

Because the Earth's climate is a huge, complicated system of many components (such as atmospheric temperature, humidity, wind systems, ocean currents, and the influence of topography) at many different scales (local, regional, and global), there are many things scientists do know about global warming, but there are also some things they still do not know. According to the EPA there are three things scientists do know about global warming. 1. They know for certain that human activities are...

Global energy balance

Interactions between energy from the Sun, the Earth, and the atmosphere all have an effect on the Earth. This is called the global energy balance, an energy balance that also plays a role in climate. Because this energy balance has changed and, as a result, the atmosphere is retaining more heat, the process of global warming is already in full swing. The global energy balance regulates the state of the Earth's climate. Modifications to it forcings can be by natural sources or human sources, and...

Nasas extratropical storm tracks atlas

Scientific Weather Diagram Hurricanes

Climate scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have developed a database available online that displays the extratropical storm tracks that occurred between 1961 and 1998, allowing visitors to find out what the weather was like on the day they were born or any other day in the featured time span. The original purpose for the creation of the climate atlas was to look back and try to assess the impact of global warming on storms. The online atlas plots the paths of...

The Earths Rotation And The Coriolis Force

When pressure differences alone are responsible for moving air, the air or wind will be pushed in a straight path. For example, if someone opens a door into an enclosed space containing a different air pressure, they will feel a rush of air when the door is opened and the air travels from higher pressure to lower pressure. It may seem odd when looking at satellite weather maps to see that large storm clouds move in circular patterns. Winds do follow curved paths across the Earth. Named after...

Control of Co2 by Seafloor Spreading

The seafloor spreading theory is one hypothesis introduced to suggest a mechanism of controlled CO2 levels in the atmosphere, causing the observed variations between warm CO2-rich greenhouse intervals and cold CO2-depleted global cooling intervals. This theory focuses the control of CO2 levels on plate tectonic processes. During plate tectonics, carbon is cycled endlessly between the Earth's interior and its surface. It is this cycling of carbon in different stages that defines whether global...

Articles

Climate Scientists Issue Dire Warning. Guardian, February 28, 2006. Presents new evidence concerning the ramifications of global warming. Alley, Richard B. Abrupt Climate Change. Scientific American 291, no. 5 November 2004 62-69. Discusses the great ocean conveyor belt and how global warming could shut it down and trigger another ice age. Appenzeller, Tim. The Big Thaw National Geographic June 2007 58-71. An overview of global melting and what that means for the future. Applebome,...