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AP Environmental: Atmosphere and Global Change
Terms in this set (71)
In which atmospheric layer is the ozone layer located?
Which atmospheric layer is the most dense and contains the most molecules?
Which atmospheric layer is responsible for the weather that is experienced on Earth's surface?
What is albedo?
The amount of light/radiation that is reflected by a surface of land, water, or the atmosphere.
How does melting of sea ice affect albedo
Where does an El Nino occur?
Tropical Eastern Pacific
Which greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming?
What is the most responsible for Earth's greenhouse effect?
Which anthropogenic greenhouse gas contributes the most to the overall heating of the Earth's atmosphere?
Which anthropogenic greenhouse gas ONLY comes from human sources?
Increased warming leading to cloud formation, which blocks incoming solar radiation, leading to cooling. What type of feedback?
A reaction that causes a decrease in function. It occurs in response to some kind of stimulus. Often it causes the output of a system to be lessened; so, the feedback tends to stabilize the system.
Increased warming leading to decreased snow and ice cover. What type of feedback?
Is the equivalent of a vicious or virtuous circle something that accelerates or decelerates a warming trend. A positive feedback accelerates a temperature rise, whereas a negative feedback decelerates it.
What are examples of sequestered carbon?
1. Carbon dioxide that has been pumped deep underground for storage to decrease the amount in the atmosphere
3. Soil carbon
Long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change. It had been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels.
Does particulate matter in the atmosphere (like dust from volcanic eruptions) cause global warming or cooling?
Major global wind currents are produced primarily by:
Unequal heating of the earth by the Sun
One of the effects of global climate change is sea level rise. One important cause of sea level rise is the melting of land based ice. The most important factor contributing to an increase in sea level is...
Thermal expansion of the oceans
Which greenhouse gas is the most efficient at absorbing thermal radiation (per molecule)?
Global climate change occurs primarily because of the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in which layer of the atmosphere?
Greenhouse gases absorb which type of radiation?
IR (infra-red) radiation
The Montreal Protocol had been successful in reducing...
An international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.
Over the past 800,000 years, concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere rarely exceeded 280 ppb. Levels have risen since the 1920s, however, reaching a new high of 328 ppb in 2015. This is due primarily due to agriculture. What is the approximate percent increase in methane concentration? (to the nearest whole percent)
What is the difference between weather and climate?
Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere at a place and time (daily), whereas climate refers to weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period of time, such that life evolves to the conditions.
If an area that is normally glaciers/snow starts to melt to expose Earth's continental surface what would happen to the albedo and the effect on solar energy?
The albedo would decrease and more solar energy would be absorbed.
What has the highest albedo?
What are two causes of unequal heating of the Earth?
a. Tilt of the Earth
As air rises higher in the atmosphere, what happens to pressure and temperature?
a. Pressure decreases
b. Temperature decreases
As air cools and reaches its saturation point, what happens to the water vapor?
Why are air convection currents, combined with the Coriolis effect, important to Earth's climate?
Both cause predominant wind directions on Earth. Air convection currents help determine the distribution of heat and precipitation around the globe.
The apparent curving of the path of an moving object moving through the air from an otherwise straight path due to the earth's rotation; objects are deflected clockwise in the Southern hemisphere.
The Coriolis Effect causes deflection of atmospheric currents. What direction do the trade winds come from?
Trade winds come from the east and move west.
What 2 things cause the prevailing wind patterns worldwide?
Prevailing wind patterns are produced by a combination of atmospheric convection currents and the Coriolis effect.
What causes oceanic circulation patterns?
Oceanic circulation patterns are the result of differential heating, gravity, prevailing winds, the Coriolis effect, and the locations of the continents.
Why is the thermohaline circulation crucial?
The thermohaline circulation drives the mixing of surface water and deep water, which moves heat and nutrients around the globe.
What concerns do scientists have regarding the effect of global warming on thermohaline circulation?
If increased air temperatures accelerate the melting of glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere, the waters of the North Atlantic could become less salty and thus less likely to sink. Such a change could potentially shut down thermoaline circulation.
How is El Nino year different than a "Normal" year?
In a normal year, trade winds push warm surface waters away from the coast of the South America and promote the upwelling of water from the ocean bottom. In an El Nino year, trade winds weaken or reserve direction, so warm waters build up along the west coast of Peru.
How is global climate change different from global warming?
Global climate changes refers to changes in the average weather that has occurred on Earth over a period of years and/or decades. Global warming refers to specific aspects of climate changes, such as: the warming of the oceans, land masses, and the atmosphere on Earth.
What is the greenhouse effect?
Primarily water vapor, and including much smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - acts as a thermal blanket for Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface to a life-supporting average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius)
Which major greenhouse gas exists in the atmosphere at the highest concentration?
Which major greenhouse gas has the greatest global warming potential and comes only from human sources?
Describe the four natural processes of greenhouse gas emissions...
a. Volcanic eruptions
b. Decomposition and digestion (cellular respiration)
d. Evaporation and Evapotranspiration
Describe the five anthropogenic processes of greenhouse gas emissions...
a. Combustion of fossil fuels
b. Agricultural practices
e. Industrial production of new greenhouse chemicals (i.e. CFCs)
What causes annual fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations?
Seasonal variations in photosynthesis
What factors correlate with the steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations?
The increase is correlated to increases human emissions of carbon from the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation (net destruction of vegetation)
What atmospheric processes are influencing natural carbon cycling?
Extraction and combustion of fossil fuels and plant matter
Where can carbon be sequestered?
In plant (forests), animals, wetlands, sedimentary rock (as fossil fuels).
Where do scientists collect the most accurate evidence of historic climate on Earth?
In cold areas, such as Antartica and at the top of the Himalayas, the snowfall each year eventually compresses to become ice.
How much have annual mean temperatures increased?
0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4F) or 1.1C (20F) according to NASA website
Explain the role of feedbacks on the impacts of climate change.
Feedbacks in the environment can be either positive or negative. Positive feedbacks, such, as global warming that causes higher rates of soil decomposition can amplify the effects of global warming. Negative feedbacks, such as plants responding to increased carbon dioxide concentrations can reduce the effects of global warming.
Identify four effects of global climate change that are already happening and discuss what is happening to them?
a. Polar ice caps are melting
b. Glaciers are melting
c. Permafrost is melting
d. Sea levels, melting ice caps and glaciers increases the volume of water in the ocean, and thermal expansion
Is melting and organic matter that had been trapped is starting to become exposed. Also, there may be bacteria and/or viruses present in the permafrost that humans may not otherwise be adapted to.
Why is the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers a problem?
Melting of polar ice caps and glaciers cause sea level to rise.
How do the four effects of global climate change contribute to positive feedback of global warming?
a. Polar ice caps and glacier melt reduces albedo, so less energy is reflected back into the atmosphere.
b. Organic matter in the permafrost will decompose releasing methane into the atmosphere.
Identify and describe and five predicted effects of global climate change on the environment?
a. Increased heat waves
b. Fewer cold days
c. Precipitations patterns will change, some areas will experience increased rainfall, but this could lead to increased flooding, landslides, and soil erosion
c. Heat waves can cause more death to the very young and very old
d. Economic consequences, for example decreased snowpack can impact vacations to areas with seasonal snow
What is the Kyoto Protocol?
An international agreement in which countries set goals to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.
A layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface of Earth, extending up to approximately 16 km (10 miles).
The layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere, extending roughly 16 to 50 km (10-31 miles) above the surface of Earth.
The percentage of incoming sunlight reflected from a surface.
El Nino-Southern Oscillation
A reversal of wind and water currents in the South Pacific.
Global climate change
Changes in the average weather that occurs in an area over a period of years or decades.
Change that occurs in the chemical, biological, and physical properties of the planet.
Gases in Earth's atmosphere that trap heat near the surface.
Global warming potential
A relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide.
A slowly moving mass or river of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.
An impermeable, permanently frozen layer of soil.
The level of the sea's surface, used in
reckoning the height of geographical features such as hills and as a barometric standard.
The pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere, which at sea level has a mean value of 101,325 pascals (roughly 14.6959 pounds per square inch).
Air pollution causes blockage of sunlight to hit the earth's surface and therefore causes global cooling. But global warming's effect is so overly strong that it surpasses that of global dimming.
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