Climate Change Earth during the last glacial period

Climate Change Earth during the last glacial period

Climate Change Earth during the last glacial period Climate has changed throughout Earths history. Fairly small temperature changes can have major effects on global climate. Temp. during glacial periods was

only about 10F less than current average temperatures. Temp. during interglacial periods was Since the last ice age, global temperatures have risen about 4F. Glaciers are retreating and sea level is rising. The graph is a compilation of 5 reconstructions (the green line is the mean of the five records) of mean temperature changes. This illustrates the high temperatures of the Medieval Warm

Period, the lows of the Little Ice Age, and the very high (and climbing) temperature of this decade. Short Term Climate Changes The largest and most important of these is the oscillation between El Nio and La Nia conditions. El Nio El

Nio cycles every 2-7 years and last 1-2 years. Normal year- Trade Winds blow East to West across the Pacific. In an El Nio year- Trade Winds weaken and reverse direction, blowing East. Warm water moves eastward across the Pacific Ocean and collects along South America. With warm low-density water at the surface, upwelling stops.

El Nio changes global climate patterns by altering: Atmospheric circulation Oceanic circulation Some regions receive more than average rainfall West coast of North and South America, the southern United States, and Western Europe

Drought occurs in other regions Parts of South America, the western Pacific, southern and northern Africa, and southern Europe. An El Nio cycle lasts 1-2 years. Normal circulation patterns usually resume. If circulation patterns bounce

back quickly and extremely, a La Nia Develops. La Nia Trade Winds moves from east to west and warm water piles up in the western Pacific Ocean. Circulation patterns are the same as a normal year, but more extreme. Cold water reaches farther into the western Pacific than normal. her/el-nino-la-nina-shift/vc8kD/ Long Term Climate Change Caused by changes: in the amount of energy the Sun produces over years. in the positions of the continents over millions of years.

in the tilt of Earth's axis and orbit over thousands of years. that are sudden and dramatic because of random catastrophic events, such as a large asteroid impact. in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused naturally or by human activities. Solar Variation The amount of energy the Sun radiates is variable. Sunspots are magnetic storms on the

Suns surface that increase and decrease over an 11 year cycle. There is no known 11 year cycle in climate variability. Variation is tiny compared to total amount of solar radiation. The Little Ice Age (14-19th centuries) does correspond to a time when there were no sunspots. Plate Tectonics Over millions of years as seas

open and close, ocean currents may distribute heat differently. When continents separate heat is more evenly distributed. When continents are located near the poles, ice can accumulate, leading to a global ice age. Volcanic eruptions send small particles and ash into the atmosphere, which can block sunlight. Milankovitch Cycles Are

a variation in Earths position relative to the Sun. Due to Earths orbit, tilt, and wobble Earths Orbit: The shape of the orbit appears to change in cycles of 100,000 years it becomes less elliptical and more circular. If it is more elliptical, there is a greater difference in solar radiation between winter and summer. When the orbit is more circular, the

difference between seasons is more moderate. Earths Tilt: The tilt varies about 1 degree every 41,000 years. Ranges from 22.1 to 24.5 The current tilt is about 23.5 When the tilt angle is smaller, summers and winters differ less in temperature. An increase in tilt will be the opposite.

Earth Wobbles: Over a period of 27,000 years, the Earths axis might tilt in the other direction or wobble Northern Hemisphere points toward the Sun when the Earth is closest to the Sun.

Summers are much warmer and winters are much colder. Opposite extreme: Northern Hemisphere pints toward the Sun when farthest from the Sun. Chilly summers and warmer winters

When these three variations are charted out, a climate pattern of about 100,000 years emerges. Ice ages correspond closely with Milankovitch cycles. Since glaciers can form only over land, ice ages only occur when landmasses cover the polar regions. Therefore, Milankovitch cycles are also connected to plate tectonics. Greenhouse Gas Levels

Greenhouse gas levels have varied throughout Earths history. Natural processes add & remove CO2 from the atmosphere Processes that remove CO2 Absorption by plant and animal tissue Processes that add CO2 Volcanic eruptions Decay or burning organic matter slash-and-burn

agricultureclearing and burning of rainforests for agriculture Increases atmospheric CO2: Fewer trees to remove CO2 from the atmosphere Burning the trees releases the stored The Keeling Curve CO back into the atmosphere shows the 2 increase in atmospheric CO2 on Mauna Loa volcano since

measurements began in 1958. The blue line shows yearly averaged CO2. Greenhouse Gases CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas that human activities affect because it is so abundant. Methane: released from raising

livestock, rice production, and the incomplete burning of rainforest plants. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): human-made chemicals that were invented and used widely in the 20th century. Tropospheric ozone: from vehicle exhaust, it has more than doubled since 1976. Global Warming Temperatures

are increasing (have since the last ice age) Rate of increase has been more rapid in the past century Has risen even faster since 1990 Average global temperature has increased 1.5F between 1880 and 2010. Industrial Revolution around 1850

Recent temperature increases show how much temperature has risen since the Industrial Revolution began. Future Warming The amount CO2 levels will rise in the next decades is unknown. Depends on: Technological advances Lifestyle changes (developed

nations) Lifestyle improvement (developing nations) Computer model predictions: If nothing is done to decrease emissions, and they continue at the current rate. 2050 = temps increase by 0.9-

3.6F 2100 = temps increase by 3.58F Temperature increase will not be uniform. A rise of 5F would result in 1-2F increase at the equator, and a 12F increase at the poles. Consequences of Global Warming Melting Glaciers

Vegetation zones moving to higher elevations Ocean acidification Change in timing of mating and migrations Loss of Biodiversity Rise in sea level More extreme weather (heat waves, droughts, hurricanes) Spread of tropical diseases Natural? Combined effects of:

The Suns variance El Nio and La Nia cycles Natural changes in Greenhouse gas No These cannot account for the increase in temperature that has already happened. Environmental Efforts Since global warming can be linked

to human pollution or widespread deforestation, it is up to US to work to reduce our impact on our environment. We can conserve energy, which reduces our use of fossil fuels. Easy Ways: Turn off appliances and lights Turn down thermostats Recycle!!

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