Edexcel Geography GCSE B1 Climate Change Notes

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Topic 1 : Climate Change
Past Climate changes (large-scale)
The Little Ice Age
Happened between the mid 15th century and the mid 19th century.
Described as a glacial (a period of time with extremely cold weather)
Villages in valleys were destroyed due to glaciers growing in them. (IMPACT)
Wheats and oats didn't ripen in colder climates so the harvests failed. Crop failure resulted in
food shortages, which meant higher food prices and famine. (IMPACT)
As normal crop (wheats and oats) couldn't be grown as they wouldn't ripen, new crops were
frown that would be more favourable to the new, colder climate e.g. potatoes. (IMPACT)
More people spent their time indoors due to the colder climate which meant they had more
contact with each other resulting in diseases like the bubonic plague spreading rapidly.
(IMPACT)
Due to deforestation and soil erosion (due to their livestock overgrazing their agricultural
land), less crops were surviving leading to famine so the Vikings had to migrate from
Greenland. (IMPACT)
Medieval warm period
Described as an inter-glacial period (a period of time where the weather is warm)
How do we know there were different climates in the past?
1. Landforms left by glaciers (e.g. glacial valleys)
2. Antarctic ice cores contain ice sheets which contain ancient air bubbles trapped in them that
climatologists use to measure what the Earths atmosphere was composed of at the time.
3. Analysing the fossilised remains of plants and animals to know what climate they lived in.
Orbital Theory Sunspot Theory Eruption Theory
Every 100,000 years Earths orbit Spots are black Large and very explosive
around the sun changes from circular areas on the volcanic eruptions so a
circular to elliptical and back suns surface. They are large amount of ash and gas
again. areas of intense (sulphur dioxide, carbon
This affects the amount of activity. dioxide) spread around the
sunlight the Earth receives. The more sunspots stratosphere due to trade
Therefore alters average global there are, the greater winds.
temperatures so is climate the activity of the sun, This blocks out some solar
change. the more radiation radiation from reaching the
the Earth receives Earths surface so the
therefore there's an average global
increase in average temperatures decrease
global temperature. hence the climate cools.
CASE STUDY: MOUNT
PINATUBO.
Happened in 1991.

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Earths temperature
reduced by 0.5°C.
Reduced global sunlight by
10%.…read more

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Climate Change in the UK
Summer in the South East will be hotter and drier (leading to drought) than the rest of
England.
UK will be hotter in summer and wetter in winter.
By the middle of the century rainfall in the South of England could decrease by 20%
South East will eventually be submerged due to melting ice caps causing a rise in sea level.
Methane:
Sources:
1. Arable food production e.g. rice paddys.
2. Cattle ranching.
Reasons for an increase in methane:
1.…read more

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Reasons for uncertainty regarding global warming
1. Future populations number is unknown, could increase or decrease dramatically.
2. Whether or not we are still using fossil fuels or are using renewable energy, e.g. will we have
made the switched coal for wind power?
3.…read more

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Stern Review: UK
Spend now or pay later.
Spend 2% of our GDP now to reduce global warming or spend 20% of our GDP later as a
result of global warming.
1997 Kyoto Protocol: International
An international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases to prevent climate change.
America is the only developed country to have not signed it, although it is the largest emitter
of greenhouse gases.
Egypt Enviromental Change case study: LEDC.…read more

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