Enquiry question 1: how has climate change influenced the formation of glaciated landscapes over time?

  • Created by: ivac2000
  • Created on: 24-01-18 15:35

Factors of climate change

  • glacial landscapes have low level of resilience - sensitive to climate change and physical threats
  • throughout earth's history, climate fluctuated between greenhouse and icehouse states
    • climatic stages last millions of years
    • within ice house stage glacial and interglacial periods occur that last for less than 1 million years
  • long term factors of climate change
    • milankovitch cycles - astronomical climate forcing states that global energy alters - forcing global changes due to variation in the earth's orbit
      • stretch/eccentricity: earth's orbit changes from circlular to eclipse - 96000 years - changes the distance between earth and sun
      • tilt: earth's tilt changes between 21.8 and 24.4 degrees - 41000 years - greater tilt = tropics receive more energy and thus become larger
      • wobble/axial precession: earth's seasons change - 22000 years
  • short term factors of climate change
    • variations in solar output
      • energy output of the sun is not constant
      • magnetic storms create sunspots - forms dark areas on the sun that increase solar output
      • during medieval warming period - high numbers of sunspots
      • maunder minimum - fewer sunspots
    • volcanic eruptions
      • can block sunlight
      • lower global temperature and trigger mini ice age
      • Mount Tambura - erupted 1815 - lowered global temperatures by 0.5 degrees
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The cryosphere and periglacial processes

  • the term given to frozen water on the earth's surface - ice, glaciers and ice caps - vital for stabalising the ocean temperature and climate
  • periglaciation - describes geomorphic processes - results in the thawing of snow in areas of permafrost (frozen solids) - runoff of melting snow refreezes into ice wedges amd other structures such as patterned ground, pingos and loess
  • periglacial processes
    • nivation: erosion of the ground around a slope due to freezing and thawing
    • frost heave: the uplift of soil due to the expansion of groundwater when freezing
    • freezethaw: water falls through cracks in rocks, freezes, expands and breaks the rock
    • weathering: wear away from the long exposure to the climate and atmosphere
    • solifluction: movement of wet soil/material down a slope
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