Geo Unit 1- Challenges for the planet.

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  1. Climate change since last ice age.
    • -Temperature since the last ice age raised to 6 DC
    • -After the last ice age the temperature rose rapidly for the following 2000
    • years
    • -Between 4,000-8,000 years ago there were two warm periods interrupted by a
    • colder spell
    • -Medieval warm period- Warm spell between AD800 and AD 1200.
    • -There then was a little ice age where temperatures were below long term average
    • for 600 years.
    • -In the past 100 years the temperature has begun to rise steadily with greater
    • increases since the 1960s.
    • -The temperature is projected to increase much more in the coming years, being 5
    • DC warmer in 2100 than it is now.
    • Solar Output – Energy that comes from the sun.
    • -Energy that comes from the sun changes overtime.
    • -Measurements 1980s- Total amount of solar energy reach Earth decreases by 0.1%.
    • -If continued for 100 years it could influence global climate.
    • -Predicted if solar output changes by 1% it could make temp. Rise or fall by
    • between 0.5-1.0 DC
    • -Activity of sunspots on Sun’s surface affects solar output.
    • -Period of drastically reduced sunspot activity between 1645 and 1715- might
    • have been a cause of the little ice age.
    • Orbital geometry- Orbital characteristics that are possible for past and future
    • climate changes include:
    • 1) Shape of Earth’s orbit around sun varies from circular to elliptical and
    • back to circular every 95,000 years.
    • Circular orbit- Cold glacial periods
    • Elliptical orbit- Warm periods
    • 2) Tilt of Earth’s axis varies over time from 21.5 D to 24.5 D – Occurs over
    • 41,000 year time span
    • Greater angel of tilt- Hotter summers colder winters and warmer periods.
    • Volcanic activity- Release large amounts of sulphur dioxide and ash into atmosphere- Acts as cloak and reduce amount of solar energy
    • reaching the Earth’s surface.
    • -1815- Mount Tambora erupted. Following year unusually cold over much of the
    • world and Europe having heavy snowfalls and frost throughout the summer; 1816-‘the
    • year without summer’
    • Surface reflection- Cooler periods when snow and frost on Earth, global temp. Will
    • drop due to snow and ice reflecting sunlight back to space. If planet warms up,
    • snow and ice will diminish and Earth will get warmer.
    • Change in atmospheric gas- Clear relationship between amount of CO2 in
    • atmosphere and temperature variations.
    • Greenhouse effect keeps heat within Earth’s atmosphere by absorbing long wave
    • radiation. Without this the average temp. will be -18 DC rather than present 5
    • DC
    • Tectonic activity- Movement of continents cause by plate tectonics affects
    • global pattern of atmospheric and ocean circulation; and the changing shape of
    • the Earth’s surface causes winds an ocean currents to change.
    • -Process is too slow to have much effect on climate over the relatively short
    • geological time span of 10,000 years.
  4. Causes of current climate changes on a local and global scale
    • - Climate change has a lot of different causes, burning fossil fuels and an increase of methane in the atmosphere
    • -Fossil fuels- Fuels produced for coal, oil or gas.
    • -They are used to produce energy in power stations  and fuel for vehicles.
    • - Two gases are Carbon dioxide and Methane.
    • - Methane makes 20% of greenhouse gases and 20 times more potent than carbon
    • dioxide.
    • -Comes from dead organisms and those alive today.
    • - It was formed underground many years ago and comes to the surface when fossil
    • fuels are mined.
  5. Modern methane comes from:
    • -Wetlands including marshes and swamps
    • - Growing of rice plants
    • - Burning vegetation
    • - Bowels of animals
  6. Methane rises by 1.5% a year for the past decade, Due to:
    • -An increase in the mining of fossil fuels
    • - Rising temperature, which causes an increase in bacteria emissions from
    • wetlands.
    • - Increase in ride production due to growing population.
    • - Increase in the number of cattle and sheep for meat reflecting an increase in
    • Western style diets.
  7. Negative effects of climate change (Global scale):

    • Changing pattern of crop yields- Countries closer to the
    • equator are like to suffer most as their crop yields decrease. In Africa,
    • countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique will have longer periods of drought
    • and short growing seasons. The could lose 1/3 of their maize crop. India there
    • will be a 50% decrease in the amount of land available to grow wheat This is
    • due to hotter and drier weather.
    • Rising sea levels- 2007- Hadley centre- Showed between 1993 and 2006 sea levels
    • rose 3.3mm a year. This will lead to an 88cm rise in sea levels by the end of
    • the century. This rise will threaten low lying coastal land including major
    • cities such as London, New York and Tokyo. 2 of the Kiribati islands are now
    • covered in water.
    • Retreating glaciers- Vast majority of the worlds glaciers are retreating due to
    • greenhouse effect. Research shown that 90% of the glaciers in Antarctica are
    • retreating. Melting of glaciers at the pole can also affect ocean water
    • movement. It will cause Gulf stream to be diverted further south, which will
    • lead to colder temperatures in western Europe, matching temperature across the
    • Atlantic. Temperatures are frequently below 0 DC in the winter with averages of
    • 8-10 DC in July, which is 10 DC cooler than the average UK summer temperature.
  8. Responses to climate change
    • -June 1992 Rio de Janeiro- Earth Summit, Number of decisions were made by most
    • powerful countries about their response to climate change
    • -Results- First international environmental treaty which aimed to stabilise
    • greenhouse gas emissions  which lead to
    • Kyoto protocol which was signed at the Kyoto conference in December 1997 and
    • into force in February 2005.
    • -Agreement was to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% compared with 1990
    • levels globally.
    • - Each country agreed to a national limit on emissions which ranged from 8% for
    • EU, 7% for USA, 6% for Japan and 0% for Russia. Allowed increases of 10% for
    • Iceland and 8% for Australia because they were not using all of their carbon
    • allowance.
    • -Countries could either cut their emissions or trade with other countries in
    • carbon. Means that a country could buy carbon credits from another country
    • -2008 181 countries signed Kyoto protocol
    • - December 2007 conference took place in Bali, Indonesia were representatives
    • of more than 180 countries were present
    • - Result- Bali roadmap- Initiatives were agreed to try to reach a secure future
    • climate.
  9. Actions of non-governmental organisations
    • -
    • Greenpeace- against climate change on use of fossil fuels.
    • - Trying to get governments  to change
    • their policies so that energy is produced in a more sustainable way.
    • -Solutions:
    • * A lot of energy is wasted when being produced in inefficient power stations; approx.
    • 2/3 is lost in waste heat in cooling towers. If captured amount of fuel needed
    • to produce energy will be reduced. One way to do this is to use combined heat
    • and power systems. – produce energy for a small area therefore less energy
    • wasted. If energy was based on renewable sources this will also reduce the use
    • of fossil fuels.
    • * Transport produces 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Low carbon cars need to
    • be produced and public transport more efficient. Air traffic also produces a
    • lot of carbon. If government did not allow anymore airports to be built and
    • raised taxes to make flights expensive this will reduce the amount of carbon
    • emissions.
    • * 2005- Industry has been required to reduce its emissions or buy carbon
    • credits from other companies if they exceed their limit.
  10. Local scale responses
    • By school- ‘Livesimply’-2007- Initiated by Catholic church to encourage students
    • to consider how they make choice in life. Provided a number of resources for
    • schools to make students aware about their impact on the world and
    • sustainability. Introduced energy efficient water and central heating systems
    • run from renewable sources such as wind turbines an solar panels. They have
    • walk to school and put up notices to switch of lights
    • Local councils- UK’s target is to cut down carbon emissions to 15% below 1990
    • levels by 2010 and 20% by 2020. Government believes that local councils are
    • important to reduce carbon emissions as they have an influence on local home
    • owners- 15% of UK’s carbon emissions are produced by houses. April 2008 local
    • councils success in cutting carbon emissions has been one of their targets. To
    • help them government has given them £4million. Idea is for those local councils
    • that have already introduced ideas to cut carbon emissions to help those that haven’t.
    • Ideas- Giving away free low energy light bulbs or working heat and power
    • scheme.
    • Local interest groups- ‘Manchester is my planet’ encourage individuals to
    • reduce their carbon footprint and become involved in a number of green energy
    • projects. Started in 2005 and works with local council. Now more than 20,000
    • individuals who have pledged to work towards a low carbon future. Green Badge
    • parking permit- People who own cards which have been recognised as having low
    • carbon emissions can apply for a green badge parking permit which allows car
    • owners to buy an annual parking permit for NCP car parks within Greater Manchester
    • at a 25% discount- Valid for 12 months.
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Geo Unit 1- Challenges for the planet.
2013-05-20 16:15:16

Challenges for the planet
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