38 terms

Earth's climate


Terms in this set (...)

An areas long term atmospheric conditions- temp, humidity, wind, precipitation
Conditions at localized sites over hours or days
Describes trends and variations in Earth's climate, -temp, precipitation, storm frequency
Global Climate Change
An increase in the Earths average temperature
Global Warming
What are three factors that influence the earhts climate?
The sun- earth would be dark and frozen
The atmosphere- Earth would be much colder
The Oceans- store and transport heat and moisture
Atmospheric gases that absorb infrared radiation-examples
Greenhouse Gases

ex: water vapor, ozone, CO2, nitrous oxide, methane, CFCs
Greenhouse Effect
Energy travels back downward, warming the atmosphere and the planets surface
The relative ability of one molecule of a given greenhouse gas to contribute to warming in relation to CO2(1)
Global warming potential
What transfers CO2 fromlithosphere to atmosphere and is the main reason for dramatic CO2 increase?
Using fossil fuels in homes, factories and cars
Deforestation-What does it do and how
Contributes to CO2 rise
Forests are sinks for CO2 and cutting them reduces their ability to absorb CO2
Fossil fuel deposits, livestock, landfills, and crops such as rice
Nitrous oxide-sources
Feedlots, chemical manufacturing plants auto emissions and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers
Water vapor is a greenhouse gas that is what and does not contribute to ?
Is most abundant greenhouse gas and contributes most to the greenhouse effect. The global concentration is unchanged and it is not viewed as driving industrial-age climate change
What are aerosols
micrscopic droplets and particles that have either a warming or cooling effect
How do aerosols cause warming?
Soot aerosols cause warming by absorbing solar energy
How do aerosols cool the atmosphere and will they slow global warming? How or how not?
By reflecting sun rays. Yes they may temporarily slow global warming because of sulfate aerosols or fossil fuel combustion and volcanic eruptions reducing sunlight that reaches the earth
What is the amount of change in energy a given factor causes?
radiative forcing
Compared with the pre-industrial earth, today the earth is experiencing radiative forcing of..
1.6 watts/m^2
Milankovitch cycles
Changes in earths rotation and orbit around the sun that alter solar radiation distribution and have cycles that trigger long term climate variations such as periodic glaciations
How often do M. cycles repeat?
every 100,000 years
What is Solar Output-what about it eh?
the radiation the sun admits---it v4aries mofo
the sun emits flares strong enough to disrupt satellite communications every___ but is not great enough to change what?
every 11 years--earths temp
Ocean absorbtion is accountable for witholding what?
holds 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere and absorbs it from the atmosphere
Ocean Circulation does what?
ocean water exchanges large amounts of heat within the atmosphere and moves it from place to place
Themohaline circulation
worldwide current system- warmer, fresher water moves along the surface and carries heat to europe
The deep portion of the Thermohaline Circulation, made up of denser, saltier, cool water that sinks and moves deep beneath the surface
North American Deep Water
El Nino-southern oscillation
Air pressure increases in western pacific and decreases in eastern pacific, weakening the equatorial winds--water flows eastward, suppressing upwellings, shutting down delivery of nutrients to aquatic life
What is the opposite of El Nino Events
Cold surface waters extend far westward in the equatorial Pacific and weather patterns are effected in opposite ways
How often do El Nino cycles happen and why are they happening more frequently?
every 2-8 years

because glabally warming air and sea temperatures may increase their frequency and strength
What is the current CO2 level in the atmosphere?
397.01 ppm
What is indirect evidence that serve as substitutes for direct measurements?
Proxy indicators
What are examples of Proxy indicators?
Ice caps, Ice Sheets, and glaciers
What can trapped bubbles in ice tell us?
atmospheric composition, greenhouse gas concentration, temperate trends, snowfall, solar activity, and frequency of fires in the past
How do sediment beds serve as proxy indicators?
they preserve pollen grains and other plant remains
How do tree rings serve as proxy indicators?
they tell us precipitation history and fire occurences
How do pack rat middens serve as proxy indicators?
preserve plant parts and other things for centuries
How do coral reeds serve as proxy indicators?
they reveal aspects of ocean chemistry
Climate models
computer programs to combine what is known and simulate climate processes