CIVE1145 Climate Change (Exam)
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What is climate?
- - an envelope of possibilities within which the weather bounces around
- - determined by the properties of the Earth system
- - has a stochastic character. The mean and variability of relevant quantities (eg, temperature, precipitation, wind, etc)
How is climate different from weather?
- - Climate is what we expect – weather is what you get!
- - Weather depends on evolution of the system from one moment to the next
What controls the climate?
- • Solar radiation and orbital geometry
- • The size, gravitational force and rotational rate of the planet
- • Atmospheric constituents, circulation, and the hydrologic cycle
- • Ocean properties and circulation
- • Land surface hydrology, biology and geo-chemistry
- • The geography of continents, glaciers, mountain ranges, and oceans
Does climate change?
Yes. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or due to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use
How long record is needed to define climate?
An extended period, typically decades or longer. Change identified by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties.
Can climate be predicted?
Yes. Historical and ongoing effects of the Greenhouse Effect.
List the global climate system, their processes and interactions and aspects that may change.
- System: atmosphere, hydrosphere ocean, hydrosphere rivers & lakes, cryosphere
- (sea ice etc), biosphere, land surface
- Processes & Interactions: atmosphere-ice, precipitation & evaporation,
- atmosphere-biosphere, soil-biosphere, land-atmosphere, terrestrial radiation
- Change: solar inputs, atmosphere composition, hydrological cycle, ocean, land
Discuss Earth’s annual and global mean energy balance.
- Incoming solar radiation, 49% absorbed by earth surface. Returned to the atmosphere as sensible heat, as evapotranspiration (latent heat) and as thermal
- infrared radiation. Most radiation absorbed by atmosphere which re-emits radiation up & down. Accumulation of heat in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect.
How hydrologic cycle and global energy balance are inter-related?
Latent heat transport is a major contributor to heat balance of the earth; constitutes a vital link between hydrologic cycle and global energy balance
Define climate change and climate change commitment.
- CC is a change in the state of the climate that can be identified
- Past change in atmospheric composition leads to a committed climate change, which continues for as long as a radiative imbalance persists and until all components of climate system have adjusted to a new state
- Climate change commitment includes other future changes, for example in hydrological cycle, in extreme weather and climate events, and in sea level change
Discuss UNFCCC, Montreal and Kyoto Protocols.
- UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change): ultimate objective is the ‘stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’
- Montreal: It controls the consumption and production of chlorine and bromine containing chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone
- Kyoto: contains legally binding commitments, in addition to those included in the UNFCCC
What are the greenhouse gases? Halocarbons?
- Water vapour (H2O), CO2, N2O, CH4 and O3 are the primary GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Halocarbons are human-made GHGs. A collective term for the group of partially halogenated organic species; CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs.
What is the greenhouse effect? Discuss.
- The GH effect is trapped heat as a result of GHGs within the surface-troposphere.
- GHGs absorb the thermal radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere due to the gases and by clouds.
Define: radiation, ozone and ozone layer, radiative forcing, global warming potential.
- Radiation: Thermal infrared radiation is emitted by the earth’s surface.
- Ozone: O3, unstable highly reactive oxygen compound.
- Ozone layer: a layer of scattered ozone in the upper
- Radiative forcing: the change in the net, downward minus upward, irradiance (in W/m2) at the tropopause due to a change in an external driver of climate change. The change relative to the year 1750.
- Global warming potential: An index, based upon radiative properties of well-mixed GHGs It measures the radiative forcing of a unit mass of a given well-mixed GHG in the present-day atmosphere integrated over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of CO2
What are the observed changes in climate occurred and their effects on natural system/ environment?
- Consecutive warmest years
- Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined
- Increase in global average sea level
- Increase in areas of drought risk
- Increase in intense tropical cyclone activity
- Effects: increased mountain ground instability, hydrological systems have increased runoff, changes in algal, plankton & fish abundance
Discuss the causes of climate change?
- Global GHG emissions due to human activities
- Increase in global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4,N2O
- Increase in global average temp
What and how the changes in climate projected and their effects on natural system/ environment?
- Global GHG emissions will continue to grow
- Continued GHG emissions at or above current
- rates will result in 21st century warming greater than 20th
- Changes in wind patterns, precipitation, weather extremes and sea ice
What is the effect of increased ocean acidification?
Negative impacts on marine shell-forming organisms
What is meant by adaptive capacity?
It is the ability to a change in conditions. Connected to social and economic development and influenced by the productive base.
Discuss the different adaptation and mitigation options available against climate change.
- Expanded rainwater harvesting
- Adjustment of planting dates and crop variety
- Relocation, seawalls and storm surge barriers
- Heat-health action plans
- Diversification of tourism attractions
- Realignment or relocation of roads and rail
- Strengthening of infrastructure, energy efficiency, distributed generation
Discuss how global warming would change the climate and discuss actions to mitigate (or slow down) impacts of climate change.
What is mitigation potential concept? Differentiate market and economic mitigation potentials.
economic mitigation (social costs and benefits and social discount rates), market mitigation (private costs and private discount rates)
What is economic potential for the global GHG emissions?
List what impacts are expected in the future due to global warming.
What are the key vulnerabilities under long-term perspective associated with climate-sensitive systems?
Key vulnerabilities may be associated with many climate-sensitive systems,including food supply, infrastructure, health, water resources, coastal systems, ecosystems, global biogeochemical cycles, ice sheets and modes of oceanic and atmospheric circulation
What are those five‘reasons for concern’ identified for a viable framework to consider key vulnerabilities?
- Risks to unique and threatened systems
- Risks of extreme weather events
- Distribution of impacts and vulnerabilities
- Aggregate impacts
- Risks of large-scale singularities
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