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Chapter 19: Climate Disruption and Ozone Depletion

Preentation by: Carley Braunsein

19-1 How Might the Earth’s Temperature and Climate Change in the Future?

19-1 How Might the Earth’s Temperature and Climate Change in the Future? Considerable scientific evidence indicates

Considerable scientific evidence indicates that the earth’s atmosphere is warming, because of a combination of natural effects and human activities, and that this warming is likely to lead to significant climate disruption during this century.

Weather and Climate Are Not the Same:

  • Weather is short term changes.

  • Can be described by temperature, air pressure, precipitation, and wind on any given day.

  • Climate is average conditions in a particular area over a long period of time.

  • Can be described by temperature and precipitation.

Climate Change Is Not New:

Climate Change Is Not New: Climate change over time has resulted from: • Change in the

Climate change over time has resulted from:

Change in the sun's output of energy Impacts by large meteorites Slight changes in the Earth's orbit Global air circulation patterns Global ice cover Varying concentrations of gases that make up the atmosphere And now climate change results from human activities

The Climate and Our Lives, and Economies Depend on the Natural Greenhouse Effect:

  • Greenhouse gases absorb heat radiated by the earth. The gases then emit infrared radiation that warms the atmosphere.

  • Without the natural greenhouse effect the earth would be cold and uninhabitable.

  • The natural greenhouse effect warms the lower atmosphere and surface.

Human Activities Emit Large Quantities of Greenhouses Gases:

Human Activities Emit Large Quantities of Greenhouses Gases: Since the Industrial Revolution ... • The presence

Since the Industrial Revolution ...

The presence of greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4 has increased in the lower atmosphere.

Rising CO2 and CH4 correlates with rising global temperatures

Main sources: agriculture, deforestation, and burning of fossil fuels

N2O levels have also risen as a result of increased use of nitrous fertilizers.

Human Activities Play a Key Role in Recent Atmospheric warming:

  • The earths lower atmosphere is warming, especially since 1960, due primarily to increased concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

  • Most of the increase in concentrations of these gases since 1960 is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation.

  • These human induced changes in the chemical composition and the temperature of the atmosphere are beginning to change earths climate

  • If greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, the earth will likely experience atmospheric warming and climate disruption.

  • Rapid and significant climate disruption will likely cause ecological, economic and social disruption by degrading food and water supplies and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, flooding low-lying costal communities and cities and eliminating many of earths species.

Melting of an Alaskan Glacier over 50 years.

Melting of an Alaskan Glacier over 50 years.

CO2 Emissions Play an Important Role:

  • CO2 plays an important role in determining average temperature of the atmosphere.

  • Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation alter the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  • An increase in CO2 causes an increase in temperature.

Waste Heat Also Plays a Role in Climate Disruption:

  • Use of carbon containing fossil fuels and biofuels produces the greenhouse gas CO2 and also adds waste heat directly to the atmosphere.

  • When heat is added to the environment we can not recycle any of this heat into high quality energy due to the second law of thermodynamics.

  • Improving energy efficiency will reduce the amount of waste heat and helps reduce the threat of climate disruption.

What Role Does the Sun Play?

What Role Does the Sun Play? Most of the rise in average global temperatures can not

Most of the rise in average global temperatures can not be the result of increased solar input. Instead the solar output of the sun has declined for servers like decades.

What Role Do Oceans Play in Projected Climate Disruption?

  • Oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as a part of the carbon cycle.

  • However, oceans are warming which inhibits their ability to absorb CO2.

  • Increasing levels of CO2 increase the acidity of the ocean. This acidity threatens oceanic ecosystems.

There is Uncertainty about the Effects of Cloud Cover on Atmospheric Warming:

  • Warmer temperatures will increase evaporation and essentially create clouds which can warm or cool the atmosphere.

  • Thick clouds at low altitudes could decrease surface warming while thin clouds at high altitudes could increase surface warming.

  • Climate modelers are working hard to understand more about the role of clouds in their climate models.

Outdoor Air Pollution Can Temporarily Slow Atmospheric Warming:

  • Human activities play a role in atmospheric warming. However there is evidence that aerosol air pollution from human activities has slowed the rate of atmospheric warming.

  • We could probably slow down projected climate disruption by increasing outdoor air pollution.

19-2 What Are Some Possible Effects of a Warmer Atmosphere?

19-2 What Are Some Possible Effects of a Warmer Atmosphere? The projected rapid change in the

The projected rapid change in the atmosphere's temperature could have severe and long-lasting consequences, including increased drought and flooding, rising sea levels, and shifts in the locations of crop lands and wildlife habitats.

Enhanced Atmospheric Warming Could Have Serious Consequences:

  • Climate scientists are concerned not only about how much the temperature might change, but also about how rapidly the change occurs.

  • Climate change will determine where we can grow food and how much of it we can grow, which areas will suffer from drought and flooding, in what areas people and many forms of wildlife can live.

  • Ecosystems may collapse flooding, drought, wildfires, dustbowls, the drying of rivers and the melting of glaciers.

  • Climate change must be viewed as a serious threat to global security.

Severe Drought Is Likely to Increase:

  • Prolonged drought now affects at least 30% of the earths land.

  • In 50 years up to 45% of the worlds area could be experiencing extreme drought.

  • As droughts increase and spread the growth of plants declines which reduces the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • As land dries out wildfires are also projected to increase.

More Ice and Snow Are Likely to Melt:

  • Climate models project that climate change will be the most severe in the worlds polar regions.

  • As melting occurs the surface becomes less reflective and absorbs more solar energy which causes the poles to warm faster. This will cause atmospheric warming.

  • Arctic temperatures have risen twice as fast as the rest of the world.

  • Mountain glaciers are also melting and about 99% of Alaskan glaciers are shrinking.

  • Glaciers play a vital role in the water cycle. Water shortages threaten billions of people.

Permafrost Is Likely to Melt:

Another Dangerous Scenario

  • The amount of carbon locked up as CH4 (methane) in permafrost soils is 50-60 times the amount emitted as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels each year. If permafrost melts large amounts of CH4 and CO2 will be released into the atmosphere, it will accelerate projected climate disruption.

  • Layers of permafrost have been referred to as "methane time bombs".

  • The melting of permafrost would result in rapid, catastrophic climate change.

Sea Levels Are Rising:

  • The worlds average sea level is predicted to rise 3-7 feet by the end of this century.

  • This rise is due to the expansion of seawater as it warms and due to the melting of land based ice.

  • Severe reductions in greenhouse gas emissions might prevent such such a rapid, catastrophic rise in sea level.

  • Possible effects include: degradation/ destruction of costal estuaries, wetlands and coral reefs; disruption of worlds costal fisheries; flooding and erosion of islands and coastlines; flooding of agricultural lowlands and deltas; contamination of freshwater resources; submersion of islands; flooding of large costal cities.

If the average sea level rises by 1 meter the areas shown here in red will

If the average sea level rises by 1 meter the areas shown here in red will be flooded.

Extreme Weather Is Likely to Increase in Some Areas:

  • Atmospheric warming will cause severe drought and heat waves in some areas. This could result in the deaths of a large number of people, reduced crop production and expand deserts.

  • Other areas will experience increased flooding from heavy and prolonged snow or rainfall.

  • Atmospheric warming could increase the strength of storms and hurricanes.

Climate Disruption Is A Threat to Biodiversity:

  • Projected climate disruption is likely to upset ecosystems, decrease biodiversity, and degrade ecosystem services.

  • Approximately 30% of the land-based plant and animal species could disappear if the average global temperature change exceeds 2.7-4.5 F. This percentage could grow to 70% if temperature change exceeds 6.3
    F.

  • Especially vulnerable ecosystems are coral reefs, the arctic, polar seas, costal wetlands, high elevation mountain tops and alpine and arctic tundra.

  • Slowing the rate of projected climate change would help to sustain the earths biodiversity, which in turn supports us and our economies.

Agriculture Could Face an Overall Decline:

  • Modern agriculture accounts for 1/3 of the atmospheric warming that has taken place since 1960.

  • Farmers will face dramatic changes due to shifting climates and a faster hydrologic cycle.

  • By 2050, some 200-600 million of the worlds poorest and most vulnerable people could face starvation and malnutrition due to the effects of projected climate disruption.

A Warmer World Is Likely to Threaten the Health of Many People:

  • More frequent and prolonged heat waves in some areas will increase numbers of deaths and illnesses, especially people in poor health and the urban poor who can not afford air conditioning.

  • Hunger and malnutrition will increase in areas where agricultural production drops.

  • A warmer world creates ideal conditions for insects, microbes, toxic molds and fungi.

  • There will likely be more pollution related deaths from heart ailments and respiratory problems.

19-3 What Can We Do to Slow Projected Climate Disruption?

19-3 What Can We Do to Slow Projected Climate Disruption? To slow the projected rate of

To slow the projected rate of atmospheric warming and climate disruption, we can increase energy efficiency, sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rely more on renewable energy resources, and slow population growth.

Dealing With Climate Disruption Is Difficult:

  • Many scientists argue that our most urgent priority is to do all we can to avoid any and all climate tipping points – thresholds beyond which natural systems can change irreversibly. Once we reach such a point, there is no going back.

  • Many believe that climate change is one of the most urgent scientific, political, economic, and ethical issues that humanity faces.

  • The following characteristics of this complex problem make it difficult to tackle: the problem is global, the problem is a long term political issue, the projected harmful and beneficial impacts of climate disruption are not spread evenly, many propose solutions, such as sharply reducing or phasing out the use of fossil fuels, are controversial, and finally a growing number of social scientists contend that humans are not hardwired to respond to long-term threats.

Possible Climate Change Tipping Points:

  • Atmospheric carbon level of 450 ppm

  • Melting of all arctic summer sea ice

  • Collapse and melting of the Greenland ice sheet

  • Severe ocean acidification, collapse of phytoplankton populations, and a sharp drop in the ability of the oceans to absorb CO2

  • Massive release of methane from thawing arctic permafrost

  • Collapse and melting of most of the western Antartic ice sheet

  • Severe shrinkage or collapse of Amazon rain forest

What Are Our Options?

What Are Our Options? There are three basic approaches to dealing with the projected harmful effects

There are three basic approaches to dealing with the projected harmful effects of global climate disruption: act to slow it, try to reduce some of its harmful effects, or suffer.

Prevent and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

Prevent and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Four major prevention strategies that, by 2050, could reduce greenhouse

Four major prevention strategies that, by 2050, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the 57-83% called for in a 2010 study by the US National Academy of Sciences:

  • 1. Improve energy efficiency to reduce fossil fuel use, especially the use of coal. According to climate scientist James Hansen, phasing out coal use is 80% of the solution to the global warming crisis.

  • 2. Shift from non-renewable carbon-based fossil fuels to a mix of low carbon renewable energy resources based on local and regional availability.

  • 3. Stop cutting down tropical forest and plant trees to help remove more CO2 from the atmosphere.

Collect Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Stash Them Somewhere:

Collect Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Stash Them Somewhere: Potential clean up strategies: Implement, on an emergency

Potential clean up strategies:

  • 1. Implement, on an emergency basis, a massive, global tree-planting program, especially on degraded land in the tropics.

  • 2. Restore wetlands where they have been drained for farming. Wetlands are very efficient at taking up CO2.

  • 3. Plant large areas of degraded land with fast growing plants such as switchgrass, which remove CO2 from the air and store in the soil.

  • 4. Help the natural uptake and storage of carbon by preserving and restoring natural forest.

  • 5. Seeding the oceans with iron to promote the growth of more marine algae and other phytoplankton, which absorb huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow.

Some Promote Geoengineering Schemes to Deal with Climate Change:

  • Geoengineering- trying to manipulate certain natural conditions to help counter an enhanced greenhouse effect.

  • Scientists of suggested using balloons, large jet planes, or giant cannons to inject sulfate particles into the stratosphere to essentially cool the troposphere.

  • Another idea is to anchor huge vertical pipes in the oceans as part of a system that would allow wave motion to pump nutrient rich water from the deep ocean layer to fertilize algae on the ocean surface. The resulting algae blooms would remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • Many argue such strategies are similar to gambling on a large scale, are costly changes to the global environment, and have unknown and potentially long-lasting harmful effects.

Governments Can Help to Reduce the Threat of Climate Disruption:

Governments Can Help to Reduce the Threat of Climate Disruption: Governments can use six major solutions:

Governments can use six major solutions:

  • 1. Strictly regulate carbon dioxide and methane as air pollutants

  • 2. Implementing carbon taxes and energy taxes- tax pollution, not payrolls and profits

  • 3. Place a cap on total human generated CO2 and CH4 emissions

  • 4. Level the economic playing field

  • 5. Technology transfer

  • 6. Programs that will help to curb population growth

Individual Choices Make a Difference:

Individual Choices Make a Difference:

Individual Choices Make a Difference:

Individual Choices Make a Difference:

We Can Prepare for Climate Disruption:

  • The world needs to make a 50-85% cut in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 to stabilize concentration of these gases in the atmosphere.

  • While we work to slash emissions we should also begin to prepare for the projected harmful effects of projected climate disruption.

19-4 How Have We Depleted Ozone in the Stratosphere and What Can We Do about It?

  • Our widespread use of certain chemicals has reduced ozone levels in the stratosphere, which has allowed more harmful ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth's surface.

  • To reverse ozone depletion, we must stop producing ozone-depleting chemicals and adhere to the international treaties that band such chemicals.

Our Use of Certain Chemicals Threatens the Ozone Layer:

  • A layer of ozone in the lower stratosphere keeps about 95% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earths surface. However, measurements taken by meteorologist show a considerable seasonal depletion of ozone concentrations in the stratosphere.

  • CFCs, for example, are persistent chemicals that destroy protective ozone in the stratosphere.

  • Other ozone-depleting chemicals and include halons and hydrobromoflurocarbons, methyl bromide, hydrogen chloride, carbon tetra chloride, methyl chloroform, propyl bromide and hexachlorobutadiene.

Why Should We Worry about Ozone Depletion?

Why Should We Worry about Ozone Depletion?

We Can Reverse Stratospheric Ozone Depletion:

  • We should immediately stop producing all ozone depleting chemicals.

  • We should also stop the use of chemicals such as CFCs and HFCs

Three Big Ideas:

  • Considerable scientific evidence indicates that the earths atmosphere is warming, mostly because of human activities, and that this is likely to lead to significant climate disruption during this century that could have severe and long-lasting harmful consequences.

  • Reducing projected harmful effects of rapid climate disruption during the century requires emergency action to increase energy efficiency, sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rely more on renewable energy resources, and slow population growth.

  • We need to continue phasing out the use of chemicals that have reduced ozone levels in the stratosphere and allowed more harmful ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth surface.