Attribution of climate change to causes

The recent years saw a multitude of attempts to attribute observed climate parameter changes to either natural or anthropogenic forcing. One of the earliest attributions was Cooling of the lower stratosphere (around 20 km height) is due to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer by decay products of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and not so much due to the enhanced greenhouse effect, which also leads to cooling of the stratosphere. By the research group of one of the authors (H. Grassl)...

Carbon storage by solid waste deposition

Organic waste components, such as yard trimmings, food discards, and paper are not completely decomposed by the microbial processes, especially by anaerobic bacteria. Thus residues of organics which under normal natural conditions would be decomposed over time in the photosynthetic cycle remain in the landfill. Therefore the amount of carbon stored in the landfill body is considered to be an anthropogenic sink of carbon which reduces the burden of CO2 emissions. The amount of plastics which...

Climate System Components

All parts of the Earth system are important for the climate in a certain area. Therefore, no single place is independent of all others on our globe. The best example of the component interactions are the joint glacials and interglacials of both hemispheres, although the triggering comes from the northern hemisphere with its major landmasses. If the northern hemisphere is closest to the Sun in boreal winter, the declination of the Sun is high (it can vary from 21.8 to 24.5 ) and the eccentricity...

Climate Effects of Biomass Derived Fuels

Bad Effects Off Biomass

Fossil fuels can be substituted by biogenic fuels, which may be derived from agriculture and forestry as biomass directly, or via the waste route from wasted material of biogenic origin. For principal routes see figure 13.4. Figure 13.4 Principal pathways from biogenic material into the energy system (after ko-Institut, 2005) Figure 13.4 Principal pathways from biogenic material into the energy system (after ko-Institut, 2005) The combustion of biomass, biomass-derived fuels, or biogenic wastes...

Climate Protection Goals in Europe and Germany

The term climate protection is anthropocentric. We want to avoid rapid climate change to which nature, agriculture and industry cannot adapt, thereby endangering the well-being of humankind. Here climate protection is understood as the measures taken to dampen anthropogenic climate change. At present the European Union and some of its member countries are leading concerning climate protection goals but in parts also concerning emission reduction measures. It is difficult to assess whether even...

Costs of Adaptation

Climate change is ongoing and will be accelerated in the near future despite all measures taken by climate policy, as the reaction of the climate system is delayed by decades and centuries. Therefore, adaptation to climate change is a must and will be costly and is in addition to climate change mitigation measures. It is very difficult to estimate adaptation costs. Hence, it is even more difficult to find the minimum costs for a mix of mitigation and adaptation measures. At the same time such a...

Conseqences of Climate Change for Industry

By the emissions discussed industry actively influences the climate change. On the other hand, industry itself is influenced passively by climate effects. One main factor could be the situation of infrastructure which may be influenced or even destroyed by weather events such as snow, floods, or low water levels in rivers, which make shipping of goods untenable. Low water supply or higher water temperatures make process cooling and environmental activities more difficult. Moreover, industrial...

First Policies Measures and Instruments

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized technical agency of the United Nations, called all nations to the First World Climate Conference in 1979 to Geneva, Switzerland. At this conference a World Climate Programme has been initiated, whose research part, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) got the task to further the understanding of the climate system, in order to answer the question whether there is a human influence on global climate. The International Council of...

Model Basics and Structure

These models solve coupled, prognostic, non-linear, partial differential equations on a three-dimensional grid for both the atmosphere and the ocean. The coupled equations are the consequence of the following physical laws Newton's second law, mass conservation, first and second law of thermodynamics, equations of state for air and ocean water, budgets of air humidity, liquid water in the atmosphere, in soils and rivers as well as cloud ice and snow, radiation laws of Planck and Kirchhoff,...

Landfill gas recovery

A main factor in reducing methane emissions from the landfill body is to collect the landfill gas before it is released into the atmosphere. For this reason landfill gas recovery systems are applied LFG is extracted from the landfill body using a series of wells. A vacuum system directs the collected gas to a point where it is processed. Several types of processing are possible. In the case of a flare only the gas is burned so that its energy content is lost. Alternatively the gas can be used...

Methane emissions by oil and natural gas extraction

Production, processing, transmission, and distribution of oil and natural gas are the second largest anthropogenic methane source globally. About 88 billion m3 are released annually. In Russia and Ukraine, in 2000 an equivalent of 69.1 and 16.4 Mio t CO2, respectively, was set free. In the U.S. oil industry by petroleum systems in 2005 methane emissions were about 28 Mio t CO2-eq. (EPA, 2007b). In petroleum systems methane emissions are primarily associated with crude oil production,...

Nitric acid

Nitric acid (HNO3) is an anorganic compound. It is used primarily to make synthetic commercial fertilizer, but is also a major component in the production of adipic acid and explosives. The usage as a fertilizer will arise worldwide but will decline in Western Europe, due to the concerns about nitrates in groundwater supply. Nitric acid is produced by the catalytic oxidation of ammonia, where N2O is formed as a by-product and released from reactor vents into the atmosphere. Currently there is...

Shift of extratropical storm tracks

The climate in mid-latitudes as well as in higher latitudes is strongly depending on tracks and intensity of mid-latitude cyclones. The stimulus for their formation are meridional temperature gradients in the free troposphere. Their intensity depends in addition on the amount of humidity in the atmosphere. The statistics of cyclones on global scale has revealed that the North Atlantic region experiences winds as intense in winter as within the circumpolar Southern Ocean storm track, where...

Why is regional climate modelling needed

Regional climate modelling is needed firstly, because regional climate is determined by the interaction of large-scale processes, e.g. travelling cyclones, and regional scale processes. Large scale circulation determines the statistics of weather events that characterize the climate of a certain region. But also regional and local scale forcings and regional special circulations, like valley winds, modulate the regional climate change signal, which could even feed back into the large scale....

WARM a Tool for GHG Evaluation of Waste Management Strategies

WARM (WAste Reduction Model) was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support solid waste managers and organizations in planning waste management strategies under climate aspect. It is available in a web based calculator format and as a Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheet (EPA, 2005a). WARM calculates GHG emissions for waste management practices, including source reduction, recycling, combustion, composting and deposition. In every calculation case a baseline and an alternative...

Budgeting of climate consequences of biofuels

Ecological budgeting of bioethanol and biodiesel covers a wide range of GHG emissions according to the specific conditions on site. Figure 13.7 represents the results of a literature survey (Bauen, 2005). The difference between biofuels and fossil based petrol or diesel is displayed. Maximum and minimum values are given GHG emissions of actual cases would lie between the two extremes. In general the results elucidate that the GHG emissions range is between negative values and more than 100...

WARM calculation example

As a calculation example a waste is considered which consists of aluminum and steel cans, glass, plastics (HTPE, PET), corrugated cardboard, as well as three types of organic matter, such as yard trimmings, grass, and leaves. The composition of the waste is given in table 12.17 for six scenarios. The total mass processed is 800 t. The greenhouse gas effects were calculated under the following assumptions The waste is deposited in a landfill which is equipped with a landfill gas recovery system...

Emission Scenarios

The future behaviour of humankind with respect to its energy supply system transformation is largely unknown. Therefore, a broad range of emission scenarios has been developed under the assumption of no climate policy going beyond the first emission reduction step, the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC, 2000). These so-called SRES-Scenarios (Special Report on Emission Scenarios) have been used again for the Fourth Assessment Report (FAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has been...

Projections of Climate Change

Climate Model Snow

Since greenhouse gas emissions are uncertain we cannot get climate change forecasts or predictions. We can only project climate change for a given emission scenario as a plausible future. Many climate research centres have used the above and other emission scenarios and have projected future climate, typically until 2100 but some are also going beyond that date. All these projections have been assessed by IPCC. Here results from one of the contributing centres, the Max Planck Institute for...

Greenhouse Gases

The main constituents of the atmosphere are nitrogen (N2) with 78.09 percent, oxygen (O2) with 20.94 percent and Argon (A) with 0.93 percent, constituting already 99.96 percent of the dry atmosphere. The minor constituents absorbing strongly thermal infrared (heat) radiation are (if ranked according to importance in the undisturbed pre-industrial atmosphere) 1. Water vapour (H2O), responsible for nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse effect 2. Carbon dioxide (CO2), responsible for about 20...

Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate

Many chemical reactions in the atmosphere are climatically relevant because they change concentrations of radiatively active gases or particles as well as could properties. Two global phenomena of this kind are at least partly understood and one of these has led to the first successful global environmental protection policy. Both phenomena are part of the atmospheric budget of greenhouse gas No. 3, namely ozone. The first phenomenon is depletion of stratospheric ozone by chlorine and bromine...

Effects of landfill management

One-quarter of methane generated in the landfill cannot be captured by gas recovery systems due to low concentration of methane and resulting poor economy or is diffusely emitted during or after finishing the gas collection. A portion thereof can be oxidized in a landfill surface layer with a methane oxidizing substrate, such as compost or residues from mechanical-biological waste treatment. By this means the residual methane emissions can be reduced by about 60 percent in the case of the...

First detection of anthropogenic climate change

In March 1995 at a press conference in Hamburg, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology its director Klaus Hasselmann reported the detection of the anthropogenic climate change signal at the 95 percent significance level (Hegerl et al., 1996). The basis of this statement, which soon got support from other groups, was Forcing a coupled atmosphere ocean land model by reconstructed greenhouse gas concentration time series and comparing the simulated temperature change patterns with...

Observed Climate Variability and Change

One of the most obvious characteristics of climate is its variability, especially in areas with strong gradients of climate zones, e.g. in the semi-arid tropics and in higher mid-latitudes. The mean temperature of one of the coldest days in July and one of the warmest in December in Hamburg do not differ. The rain in parts of the Northern Sahel from one year to the next may differ by more than a factor 3. Therefore climate - as the synthesis of weather - is not only characterized by averages of...

Regional Climate Change Information

It is a well accepted rule not to interpret the results of a numerical model at space scales smaller than about four times the resolution of the numerical scheme. Therefore a global climate model with 200 km horizontal resolution can only give information at scales of about 1000 km. If climate change information at scales below 1000 km is sought regional models have to be nested into global models. As obvious from figure 3.9 even double nesting is used in recent years to project climate change...

Soot versus cloud condensation nuclei

If aerosol particles are more numerous and also soluble, for example consist of ammoniumsulfate ((NH4)2 SO4) formed from the air pollution gases sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3), clouds would contain more and smaller droplets per unit volume at the same circulation conditions (see also section 2.6). These clouds scatter more sun-light (see equation 2.1) and their albedo would increase, counteracting an enhanced greenhouse effect, if their height would not change. If polluted air - as is...

Semiconductor manufacture

Semiconductors are produced using different long-lived fluorinated gases during plasma etching (patterning) and plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). About one hundred process steps requiring fluorinated gases are used to produce the semiconductor products such as devices or chips from silicon wafers. Plasma etching is applied to provide pathways for conducting substances which connect the circuit components of the semiconductors. Plasmagenerated fluorine atoms are used. These...

GHG sources in composting

Composting may result in emissions from various sources, such as biogenic processes during composting, process gas cleaning and process control, collection and transportation of the raw material and the compost, the application of compost in agriculture. Main gas components to be considered are CO2, CH4, N2O, and NH3. A qualitative review of the emissions includes the following emission types Emissions from the process itself mainly consist of carbon dioxide which is the result of the aerobic...

What is an attribution of anthropogenic climate change

There are several pathways of mankind to change climate, e.g. depletion of stratospheric ozone, enhanced turbidity of air by emission of particles and or their precursor gases, emission of long-lived greenhouse gases, change of surface properties by land use change (construction of roads, changes in crops, deforestation and afforestation, etc.). If the processes leading to cli mate change are understood and forcing history is known as well, the influence of a distinct human activity can be...

Manure management

Manure from animal livestock generally contains residual carbon, nitrogen and other substances. During its storage in or outside the stall as well as its application methane and nitrous substances such as N2O, ammonia, and nitrogen gas are emitted. The extent depends on a range of factors which include animal category, feed composition, but also the manure management type such as liquid or solid handling. Methane is produced from manure in an amount which depends on the concentration of organic...

Impacts on sectors

Hence its change will have an impact on all natural and managed ecosystems as well as on all parts of human societies. Therefore the UNFCCC main goal speaks of the avoidance of a dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and specifies what sectors should keep adaptability to climate change natural ecosystems, agriculture (food security), economy (proceeding in a sustainable manner). The key point here is the ability of forests and other...

Sustainable Development Strategy of the EU

It is clear that the present structures of economies worldwide will not lead to a sustainable development. We deplete non-renewable resources at high rates without engaging to the extent necessary for their replacement by renewable resources. Because rapid climate change can destroy all efforts to reach sustainable development climate change mitigation is the most urgent measure to keep the corridor to sustainable development open. Climate change mitigation encompasses not only CO2 emission...

Solar and terrestrial radiation

Whenever the solar radiation reaching the surface increases, the warmer surface will emit more terrestrial (heat) radiation and counteract further warming. In a very simple radiation balance model this can be expressed by the energy balance of a sphere with radius R The average temperature TB of the planet treated as a blackbody radiator, emitting a flux density F according to Stefan-Boltzmann's law with F c T4, is only determined by solar flux density, So, reaching the Earth, often called...

Sustainable Development and Climate Change

Since 1987, when the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development entitled Our Common Future was submitted to the United Nations, in response to a request by the UN, the term sustainable development has been coined for the long-term development strategy of mankind. Its comprehensive and simple definition is Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Despite the many...

Clouds

Liquid cloud droplets and solid ice-crystals in ice clouds (cirrus) are minor constituents of the atmosphere with major impact. A water cloud with 500 m thickness, a typical stratus deck, reaches an optical depth 5 of about 25 in the solar spectral range, although the liquid water content is only 0.2 g m-3 or 100 g m-2 liquid water column content, which is equivalent to a 0.1 mm water layer. Finely dispersed liquid water in air together with very low absorption of liquid water in the visible...

Aircraft transportation

Air transport emissions cause 6 percent of the GHG emissions worldwide or 12 percent of the world's transport sector. Five percent growth in total aircraft transportation (in km) is estimated per year. Air transportation affects climate for several reasons Carbon dioxide emissions from kerosine depend on fuel consumption. As a positive result, specific emissions were reduced by about 20 percent in the last decade. However, total emissions have been increasing continually as a result of...

Climate effects of MBP waste gas treatment

Waste raw gas from the biological treatment process of a MBP facility contains a broad variety of climate relevant substances i) from constituents of the waste as well as ii) from substances which are caused by the biological process. The total emission potential of organic substances (TOC, total organic content) in the raw gas is about 1 kg per ton of waste, whereas nitrogen compounds amount about 0.1 kg t wet waste. To comply with the law emissions must be reduced by gas cleaning. There are...

Methane emissions from coal mines

Coal mining releases methane by underground and surface mining as well as by coal handling (post mining) activities. Since methane can create an explosive mixture with oxygen it must be removed for safety reasons by large-scale ventilation systems. They move massive quantities of air through the mines. Only the gas contains methane in very low concentration. Underground mining is the most important source of fugitive mine methane by far with about 70 percent of all coal mining related...

Climate effects of fuel use in power production

Power is produced from a variety of fuels using diverse technologies. The concrete situation in a country's energy sector depends on factors such as the available energy basis and established industrial facilities, but also public opinion or legislation. As an example of the energy basis the current fuel mix in the U.S., German, and South African power industry is displayed in figure 13.2. Coal dominates the electricity production in each of the countries however South Africa with a share of...

Consequences for biofuels application

A hundred percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will not be possible if biofuels of the first generation are applied. Better results would occur if, besides biofuel production, also power production during a combined process is envisaged. Thus instead of the simple replacement of fuels combined technological developments are to be supported. If a replacement is envisioned in a first approach, it will be best to focus on such feed-stocks which result in a more than 50 percent emission...

Literature

Albrecht, B.A. (1989) Aerosols, cloud microphysics, and fractional cloudiness. Science, 245, 1227-1230. Allianz (2003) Umweltschonend mobil. Bahn, Auto, Flugzeug, Schiff im Umweltvergleich. Allianz pro Schiene e.V., 2003. Amelung, D. (2007) Stahlmarkt in Bestform. ext.pdf BASF (2004) Eco-efficiency analysis. Bauen, A., et al. (2005) Feasibility study on certification for a renewable transport fuel obligation. 0329-03.hcsp P37_6185 Bengtsson, L., I. Hodges and E. Roeckner (2006) Storm tracks and...

Adipic acid

Adipic acid is a white, crystalline solid. Chemically it is also called hex-anedioic acid (hexane-1,6-dioxic acid), which is a C6 straight-chain dicarbox-ylic acid. It is only slightly soluble in water but very soluble in alcohol and acetone. The annual world production was about 3.8 Mio t in 2003 (EPA, 2005b). One-third is produced in the USA. It accounts for 90 percent of commercial nylon production which is further processed into fibers for applications in carpeting, automobile tire cord,...

Share of recycled input percent

Figure 12.1 Current mix of recycled and virgin inputs of selected products (EPA, 2006c) As figure 12.1 indicates, for corrugated cardboard, approximately two-thirds consist of recycled material. The portion of recycled paper in new paper products is in the wide range of between 10 and 50 percent. It strongly depends on the quality needs of the target product. Thus, the choice of the paper quality for a certain application also strongly influences GHG effects. In the case of aluminum or steel...

Use of composting CO2 as greenhouse fertilizer

If compost born CO2 could be applied in production processes instead of fossil derived carbon dioxide, a net reduction of the GHG balance would be possible. As was mentioned a total of about 150 kg CO2 is emitted per ton of compost raw material. Thus in a facility with a capacity of 100,000 t annually, about 15,000 t of carbon dioxide are produced. In Germany CO2 from composting totals about one Mio t of carbon dioxide, which could be used instead of fossil derived CO2 in industrial or related...

Current policies promoting biofuels

Most biofuels are still more costly than fossil fuels and thus production has to be encouraged e.g. by financial and organisational support. On the other hand measures are necessary to control negative environmental and social consequences such as shortage of nutritional crops, change in agricultural structures, or eradication of primeval forests. Some examples of measures implemented in several countries are as follows Most stimulating for biofuels was the Brazil Proalcool bioethanol...

Case study Agricultural biogas production in a sports and recreation center

The following case study deals with the establishment of an agricultural biogas plant in a regional sports and recreation centre in South Africa which is for around 5,000 people. The idea behind the establishment of a biogas plant was the intended shift from a fossil fuels based energy supply toward a renewable one operating on the basis of the potentials in respect to agricultural resources, efficiency improvement options, and skills and manpower. Currently the centre is run by electricity...

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Global Cycle Carbon Transport

Besides the water cycle also the carbon cycle is fundamental for the Earth's climate. All Earth system components contain carbon and exchange it rapidly or slowly causing major changes of climate. The most active part of the carbon cycle is the exchange between the atmosphere and the biosphere, both on land and in the sea. As figure 2.3 shows the reservoir atmosphere with about 760 GtC looses about 120 70 GtC per year because carbon dioxide (CO2) is Figure 2.3 Carbon fluxes between the...

Carbon sequestration by compost application

Compost is applied in agriculture to improve soil fertility by means of the supply of mineral fertilizers, such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Moreover, the input of compost strongly influences the soil carbon storage which is also an important factor of soil fertility. This is due to the fact that composting partly results in the increased formation of stable carbon compounds, i.e. humus-like substances and aggregates. These are made of complex compounds that render them resistant to...

Biofuels facts and definitions

As figure 13.4 displays energy from biogenic resources may be applied as direct heating material, as a transport fuel or as a source of electricity in power stations. The following chapter deals with biofuels in the transport sector. Types of biofuels are presented in table 13.5. Table 13.5 Biofuel types and market products Table 13.5 Biofuel types and market products Solid, liquid or gaseous fuel produced from plant or animal organic matter (biomass) Biodegradable fraction of products, waste...

Climate Impacts and Emission Mitigation of Selected Industrial Processes

World raw steel production was 1,200 Mio t in 2006 (USGS, 2007). Markets are growing very fast, especially in China, where annual production has reached about 420 Mio t in 2006. On a global scale steel production GHG emissions are estimated to be 1,500 to 1,600 Mio t CO2-eq., including emissions from coke manufacture and indirect emissions due to power consumption. This is equal to 6 to 7 percent of world's anthropogenic GHG emissions. Chinese steel production accounts for more than 10 percent...

Composting process characters

Composting is a technology for the treatment of organic residues using aerobic bioprocesses. Organic material, which consists of sugar, starch, cellulose, hemi-cellulose, and a lignin like fraction, is fully or partly decomposed by different kinds of micro-organisms which act in a complicated metabolic pathway. The result of the composting process is compost. It mainly consists of those organic waste components which are not or only partly used by the microbial metabolism, as well as of...

Climate impacts of biodiesel

With biodiesel the improvements relative to fossil fuel even in the worse case are in the range of more than 50 percent (see figure 13.7). The best result, with effects of more than 100 percent, would be reached if biodiesel was produced from wood as a feedstock, via the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, where byproducts of the process, such as electricity and heat, are considered. For rapeseed as a feedstock of biodiesel (as RME) the life cycle assessment comes down with benefits for the greenhouse...

Climate impacts of bioethanol

Typical Gasoline Co2

For bioethanol, in figure 13.7 five variants of feed-stocks are shown with results ranging from minus 30 to 110 percent. The worst case is corn. Grain and sugar beet follow. Sugar cane and wood are best suited. The positive results using wood as a feedstock are for the gasification of wood and the transformation of the resulting process gas into ethanol by a Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (2nd generation biofuels - see table 13.5). On average about 60 percent as compared with fossil-fuel generated...

Case study GHG effects of the German packaging material recycling system DSD

As a result of the European Packaging Directive manufacturers and distributors of packaging are obliged to take back and reuse, recover or recycle the packaging they have put onto the market. But it is not necessary to do it them selves. In Germany they may be exempted from their obligations by participating in a system which collects sales packaging from consumers on a nationwide scale. Participation in such a system must be indicated by marking the packaging in question, and evidence of...