AP Environmental Science Chapter 15: Air, Weather, and Climate

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Describe two things that California has done to combat global warming.

California passed a groundbreaking law that places a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases from utilities, refineries, and manufacturing plants.
California passed revolutionary legislation that required automakers to cut tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide from cars and trucks.

Name the layers of the atmosphere in order.

Troposphere, Tropopause; Stratosphere,stratopause; Mesosphere, Mesopause; Thermosphere

Which atmospheric layer contains ozone that absorbs UV radiation?

The stratosphere

What are three consequences of stratospheric ozone depletion?

1. increasing amounts of UV radiation that reaches the Earth's surface
2. higher rates of skin cancer and genetic mutations
3.crop failures and disruption of important biological communities

Describe the composition of the lower atmosphere.

78.08 % of the lower atmosphere is N2 20.94% is O2, and the other 2% is other gase like CO2, Ar, Ne, He, CH4 and others

How does the albedo (reflectivity) of snow ice and sand differ from the albedo of black soil, pavement, dark vegetation and open water?

The Albedo (Reflectivity) of Surfaces for snow and sand are about 80% and 20% respectivily whereas it is only about 5%, 10% and 3% for open water, forest and black soil respectivily

What type of energy is released from Earth's surface and trapped by atmospheric gases?

Infrared radiation

Define the greenhouse effect.

Gases in the atmosphere are transparent to visible light but absorbed infrared (heat) waves are reradiated from the Earth's surface

How is melting Artic sea ice an example of a positive feedback loop?

The ice that previously existed acted like a giant mirror reflecting solar radiation back into space. Now that the ice is melting, open water is exposed to sunlight. The lower albedo of water means that much more solar energy is absorbed by the ocean. This leads to warmer water.

Explain why ocean currents and wind are important to life on Earth.

Water stores energy, and winds redistribute it. Without oceans to aborb and store heat, and wind currents to redistribute that heat the Earth would undergo extreme temperature fluctuations.

What are Hadley cells? Why are Hadley cells important?

Hadley cells are simplified models of largest scale convection cells. They are important because the redistribute heat globally

Which layer of the atmosphere contains hurricane force winds that circle the Earth (jet streams)?

The top of the troposphere

Define the Gulf Stream. How could melt water from Greenland glaciers affect the Gulf Stream and Europe's climate?

The Gulf Stream is one of the best known currents, it carries warm Carribbean water north past Canada's maritime provinces to northern Europe. The meltwater is flooding the path of the Gulf stream, and evidence shows that the deep return flow has weakened the flow of the stream about 30%. Minor changes the the strength or path might give northern Europe a climate that is not a pleasant prospect for inhabitants of the area.

What information can be provided by the Antarctic Vostok ice core?

A record of both global temperatures and atmosphere CO2 over the past 420,000 years

Explain the difference between abrupt climatic change and gradual climatic change in terms of the effects on species.

If climate change is gradual, species may have time to adapt or migrate to more suitable locations. Where climate change is relatively abrupt, many organisms are unable to respond before conditions exceed their limits

What is a Milankovitch cycle?

Periodic variations in tilt, eccentricity, and wobble in the earth's orbit

What are natural causes of climatic changes?

1. changes in solar energy associated with 11 year sunspot cycles
2. 22 year solar magnetic cycles
3. 18.6 year cycle of shifts in the angle at which our moon orbits the earth alters tides and atmospheric circulation in a way that affects climate

El Nino, La Nina, and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

El Nino - A climatic change marked by shifting of a large warm water pool from the Western Pacific Ocean towards the east. Wind directions and precipitation patterns are changed overmuch of the Pacific and perhaps around the world. La Nina - The part of a large scale oscillation in the Pacific in which trade winds hold warm surface waters in the western part of the basin and cause upwelling of cold, nutrient rich, deep water in the eastern part of the ocean
ENSO - a periodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean roughly every five years. It is characterized by variations in the temperature of the surface of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean—warming or cooling known as El Niño and La Niña respectively—and air surface pressure in the tropical western Pacific—the Southern Oscillation.

Explain why CO2 levels drop in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer months.

There is an increase in plants which mean more carbon dioxide is absorbed and more oxygen is released.

What is IPCC and what has IPCC concluded about climate change?

IPCC brings together scientists and government representatives from 130 countries to review scientific evidence on the causes and likely effects of human-caused climate change. They concluded the global warming is mostly caused by humans.

How will global warming affect the growing season?

there can be extreme weather, including droughts, floods, heat waves, and hurricanes

What are two of the largest carbon sinks?

Oceans and terrestial plants

Methane absorbs more infrared radiation than CO2. What are sources of methane?

Methane is released by ruminant animals, wet-rice paddies, coal mines, landfills, wetlands, and pipeline leaks

What is the most abundant non anthropogenic greenhouse gas?

Water Vapor

Name four anthropogenic greenhouse gases in order of the amount of heat they absorb (lowest to highest).

Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and Sulfur Hexaflouride

What effect is the absorption of CO2 having on oceans?

The absorption of CO2 is causing the oceans to warm.

What two factors are causing sea level to rise?

one-quarter of this increase is ascribed to melting glaciers; and roughly have is due to thermal expansion

What is coral reef bleaching?

the loss of intracellular endosymbionts (zooxanthellae) through either expulsion or loss of algal pigmentation.
Zooxanthellae give coral its coloration

What are four key elements to fight climate change?

reduce greenhouse emissions
plant green
policy changes
carbon neutral

How might global warming affect infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are likely to increase as the insects and rodents that carry them spread to new areas coming from homes that have been lost due to global warming.
Coupled with the movement of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and greater crowding as people are forced out of areas made uninhabitable by rising seas and changing climates, the spread of epidemic diseases will also increase.

Explain how the melting of arctic permafrost and release of methane hydrate is a positive feedback loop.

The melting of artic permafrost is a positive feedback because melting permafrost releases methane in the atmosphere and methane contributes to the trapping of infrared rays which heat the planet

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Why does the United States refuse to accept the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol interfers with the economic needs of the United States. Many of the produced items of the United States depend on or emitt GHG, therefore the United States Economic prosperity is binded because the Kyoto Protocol binds the GHG the U.S. uses.

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