background preloader

Causes of Climate Change

Causes of Climate Change
Key Points Both natural and human factors change Earth’s climate. Before humans, changes in climate resulted entirely from natural causes such as changes in Earth’s orbit, changes in solar activity, or volcanic eruptions. Since the Industrial Era began, humans have had an increasing effect on climate, particularly by adding billions of tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Most of the observed warming since the mid-20th century is due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Earth’s temperature is a balancing act Earth’s temperature depends on the balance between energy entering and leaving the planet’s system . View enlarged image Models that account only for the effects of natural processes are not able to explain the warming over the past century. Changes in the greenhouse effect, which affects the amount of heat retained by Earth’s atmosphere Variations in the sun’s energy reaching Earth Changes in the reflectivity of Earth’s atmosphere and surface Radiative Forcing

Related:  Climate ChangeGreenhouse Gases and Paleoclimatology - ProjectClimate/Energy Web Page Resources

Causes Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as "forcing" climate change.

Education - Multimedia Discovery Missions The Multimedia Discovery Mission Demos are a series of 14 interactive multimedia presentations and learning activities that address topics ranging from Chemosynthesis and Hydrothermal Vent Life and Deep-sea Benthos to Food, Water and Medicine from the Sea. Credits. Lesson 1 - Plate Tectonics Lesson 2 - Mid-Ocean Ridges Lesson 3 - Deep-Sea Corals Lesson 4 - Subduction Zones Lesson 5 - Chemosynthesis and Hydrothermal Vent Life Lesson 6 - Deep-Sea Benthos Lesson 7 - Water Cycle Lesson 8 - Ocean Currents Lesson 9 - Ocean Waves Lesson 10 - Tides Lesson 11 - Energy from the Oceans Lesson 12 - Food, Water, and Medicine from the Sea Lesson 13 - Hurricanes Lesson 14 - Seamounts An average of 2,000 strong earthquakes and large volcanic eruptions occur every year all around the world. Throughout history, people have been all too familiar with the deadly power and seemingly unpredictable nature of these events. Click here for HTML version

Greenhouse gas benchmark reached For the first time since we began tracking carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, the monthly global average concentration of this greenhouse gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015, according to NOAA’s latest results. “It was only a matter of time that we would average 400 parts per million globally,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “We first reported 400 ppm when all of our Arctic sites reached that value in the spring of 2012. In 2013 the record at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold. Global Warming: Overview and Causes Global Warming, the general increase in the earth's near-surface air and ocean temperatures, remains a pressing issue in a society that has expanded its industrial use since the mid-twentieth century. Greenhouse gases, atmospheric gases that exist to keep our planet warm and prevent warmer air from leaving our planet, are enhanced by industrial processes. As human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation increases, greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide are released into the air. Normally, when heat enters the atmosphere, it is through short-wave radiation; a type of radiation that passes smoothly through our atmosphere. As this radiation heats the earth's surface, it escapes the earth in the form of long-wave radiation; a type of radiation that is much more difficult to pass through the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere cause this long-wave radiation to increase.

Tipping Elements - the Achilles Heels of the Earth System — PIK Research Portal Tipping elements are components of the Earth System that are sub-continental in scale and could be tipped into qualitatively different states by small external perturbations. After the transgression of a tipping point, self-reinforcing mechanisms drive the process without further external influences, and a rapid and often irreversible transition to a new state takes place. The environmental impacts are profound and could endanger the livelihoods of millions of people.. Figure: Map of the most important tipping elements in the Earth System overlain on global population density. There are three groups of tipping elements: melting ice bodies, changing circulations of the ocean and atmosphere, and threatened large-scale ecosystems. Question marks indicate systems whose status as tipping elements is particularly uncertain.

Renewable Energy This Living Lab offers you a chance to evaluate the renewable energy sources in the U.S. Renewable energy comes from natural resources such as wind, plant material, water (rain or tides), geothermal, or sunlight and is naturally replenished. Both renewable and non-renewable energy sources are used to generate electricity, power vehicles, and provide heating, cooling, and light. Renewable sources of energy vary widely in their cost-effectiveness and in their availability across the United States. Although water, wind, and other renewables may seem free, the cost comes in collecting and transporting the energy to the places where energy is needed. For example, to utilize energy from water, a dam must be built along with electric generators and transmission lines.

Sea Temperature Rise As climate change has warmed the Earth, oceans have responded more slowly than land environments. But scientific research is finding that marine ecosystems can be far more sensitive to even the most modest temperature change. Global warming caused by human activities that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide has raised the average global temperature by about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past century. In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F (0.1°C). This warming has occurred from the surface to a depth of about 2,300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives. Perhaps the ocean organism most vulnerable to temperature change is coral.

What is the Carbon Cycle? What is the science behind it? What is the carbon cycle? What are the different pools and fluxes of carbon? Why are they important? This page provides a compilation of information and relevant links to help answer some of these questions. The World's First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected by Katie Valentine Posted on Share this: "The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected" Share:

Effects Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.

Part 4—Use ANDRILL Animation to Simulate Climate Conditions Step 1 – Locate the ANDRILL drill site in on the map of Antarctica Examine the map of research sites in Antarctica during the 2006-2007 season. Note the ANDRILL drill site in the lower portion of the map, near McMurdo Station.