Climate Change

6 GEO 2

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  • Climate Change
    • Causes
      • Climate forcing
        • Milutin Milankovitch (1924)
          • The surface temperature of the earth changes over time due to orbit and tilt of axis
      • Solar output
        • Amount of energy emitted by the sun varies due to sun spots
      • Volcanic activity
        • Major eruptions eject materials into the stratosphere - high winds distribute it
      • Atmospheric forcing
        • Enhancement of the greenhouse effect due to human induced pollution
      • Global dimming
        • Pollutants reflect solar energy back into space, having a net cooling effect
    • Stratagies
      • Mitiation
        • Reducing output of greenhouses gases / increasing sinks
        • Setting targets to reduce CO2
        • Switching to renewable energy
        • Capturing carbon emissions and storing them
      • Adaption
        • Changing our lifestyles to cope with a new enviroment
        • Managed retreat of coastlines
        • Developing drought resistant crops
        • Enlarging conservation areas to allow for shifting habitat zones
      • The Kyoto Protocol
        • 1992 Earth Summit Rio - UNFCC
        • Signed by 190 countries
        • Aim - 'stabilization of greenhouse concentration and prevent dangerous anthropegic interference'
        • Reduction targets: USA - 6%, EU - 8%, Iceland 10%
        • Allow carbon sinks - planting forests - helps countries to offset emissions
    • Evidence
      • Long term
        • CO2 levels
          • Levels average between 180ppm and 280ppm - 2007 = 383ppm
        • Oxygen isotope levels
          • Sampled from ice and ocean sediment cores - show sea level rise of 130m
        • Pollen
          • Extracted from sediment cores, compared with records from the past - show ecosystems have changed
      • Medium term
        • Historical records
          • Indicate past events, showing past periods of climate change
        • Tree rings
          • Wider rings reflect good growing conditions, narrower rings show stress
        • Retreating glaciers
          • They grow and shrink in response to the climate - shows retreat since 1850
    • Anthropogenic arguement
      • Creation of CO2 is seen mainly has a human induced problem
      • Argued that anthropogenic activities are not all to blame - nature has a part to play
    • The future
      • Problems
        • Water shortages - 50% rise in demand
        • Food insecurity - stressed crops due to higher temperatures and rainfall
      • Solutions
        • Sustainable development
          • Green strategies - planting tress, renewable energy
        • Energy efficiency - redesigning houses, green transport
    • Case study
      • Artics
        • Vegetation shifts - destabilize food webs
        • Thawing of permafrost (40%) - releasing large amounts of methane
        • Ultraviolet impacts - effect freshwater systems, destroying pytoplankton
        • Loss of hunting culture
        • Will be more accessable
      • Africa
        • 14 countries suffering from water scarcity in 2007
        • 75% live in rural areas where the quality of land is poor
          • Untitled
        • Example - Mozambique suffered widespread crop failure in 1995, and flooding in 2000

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