Climate Change Crisis

    Download file "Climate change.pdf"

    Climate change

    In any crisis, the following steps might help you survive, thrive, or perhaps impact change:

    1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
    2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
    3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
    4. What impact timeline can I expect?
    5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
    6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?

    Climate change process

    1. CO2 process: photosynthesis ca. 2 by, CO2 to "stored carbon" (hydrocarbons, carbon/coal)
    2. CO2 warming process: blocks IR, result: heat, acidification, +feedback
    3. Political-follow the money, who benefits from denial?
    4. US CO2 sources: transport, energy, industry
    5. Global CO2: energy, concrete, transport, energy
    1. sea level rise (salinization, displacement, storm surge/barrier loss
    2. storm intensity: stronger heat engines, hurricanes, storm surge
    3. ocean acidification: coral bleaching, fish populations
    4. permafrost melting: methane decomposition, + feedback
    5. ice melt: albedo decrease, + feedback
    6. CO2 and brains: impairment
    7. Himalayan ice pack: loss of rivers in Asia, drought, food shortages, relocation, war
    8. Some areas too hot to support crops, so drought, famine, population relocation

    “We are on the precipice of Hell”-Frontline video HEAT

    “Climate change is the biggest business opportunity in the history of Mankind”-Tito Jankoski, climate change activist, carbon sequestration pioneer, HPA ’05

    “Greenhouse”-why? how does a normal greenhouse work? what parts relate to which physical systems?

    Demo: car dashboard is dark, absorbs visible radiation passing through the car windshield, re-radiates at lower frequency/longer waves (heat), which is trapped by the glass windshield.

    glass=greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, water vapor)


    1. If you live in the northern hemisphere, what day will you have the shortest night?
    2. Why are the trade winds not purely north to south here?
    3. In the diagram from the big bang until present day, what is the connection between 2 billion years of plants and climate change?
    4. From your reading, what is a proxy indicator? Give an example.

    Recent CNN townhall of Presidential candidates: What common themes do you see, which are possible?

    Climate change: some interesting facts:

    For every degree CO2 warms the atmosphere, it means more water vapor evaporated in the atmosphere, giving us a 2° increase for every 1° increase from CO2. CO2 emitted now will be in the atmosphere for 100-1000 years.

    Cows fed grass don't produce as much methane as corn fed cattle, who emit methane out of both ends, as corn is not a natural feedstock for cows.

    In 1975, we passed clean air acts, which reduced the amount of soot (black dust) in the atmosphere. We got cleaner air to breathe, but it no longer reflected solar radiation, so the global temperature rose.

    Banks in Miami will no longer invest in land near the coast, knowing that they will be underwater before the loans are paid off.

    How thick is our atmosphere? Troposphere is about 6 miles thick:

    Is the greenhouse effect always bad? See diagram:

    Click for full-size image

    Earth would be 0°C without any greenhouse effect, so we'd be frozen, and little life would be present on the surface.

    These gases have different impact and lifespans:

    Click for full-size image

    Where have I seen these before? You might not, but your parents certainly did, about 30 years ago, when the ozone layer was being destroyed by refrigerants (gases we created called “Freons” we used in refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners)

    Without the ozone layer, everyone on the planet would suffer from UV radiation, causing skin cancers, plants would die, so would some life in the oceans. This was serious, causing an “ozone hole” over Antarctica:

    Here’s how we know we can act globally to avoid disaster:

    In 1997, most of the countries of the world met in Montreal Canada to create the Montreal Protocol, banning these CFC’s (chlorinated fluorocarbons) like Freon.

    Here’s how we know it worked:

    Click for full-size image
    Note the bottom graph. What do you see? When did things change?

    Here’s what the trend is for greenhouse gases: (2011 version on the link below)


    2017 version:

    Click for full-size image

    Click for full-size image

    NASA simulation:


    NASA Eyes simulation:


    Where is this stuff coming from?

    Ok, what gases are naturally sourced:

    Volcanic eruptions (complex, as the ash can actually block sunlight, temporarily cooling the planet-see Mt. Pinatubo)

    Decomposition/digestion (methane from termites and cow gas, or the truly horrific possibility of melting permafrost)

    Denitrification (wet soils, wetlands where NO3 turns into N2O)

    Evaporation/evapotranspiration (water vapor)

    Don't clouds reflect light? Yep, but higher clouds (cirrus) are made of ice crystals, which actually trap more heat. One geo-engineering proposal is to remove these crystals using soot or sulfur dioxide.

    Human (anthropogenic) causes:

    Fossil fuels use (coal, then oil then natural gas)


    Agriculture (nitrogen fertilizers)

    Landfills (methane again)

    Two graphs are important to you:

    Here is the pattern of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa since 1958, the famous “Keeling curve”

    Click for full-size image
    Here is the historical record, from ice cores and other data:

    Click for full-size image

    Note the date...
    Where is this coming from, by nation?

    Why? US burns fossil fuels like maniacs, China is opening two coal fired power plants EACH WEEK, India is making concrete by heating CaCO3, releasing CO2 to make CaO (“Portland cement”)

    So what?

    Global warming will change the global temperature, impacting weather, sea levels, severe storms, glaciers, water and food supplies

    High CO2 causes ocean acidification, killing corals, and impacting all life in the ocean, a major absorber of CO2 and source of food

    Finally, high CO2 levels make us stupid. Anything over 800 ppm has been demonstrated to impact learning, memory and complex thought. There is no escaping this, much like the ozone crisis of the 1980’s

    Here’s how warm it is getting:

    Click for full-size image
    How do we know CO2 and temp are related?

    Check this out:

    Click for full-size image

    What causes these cycles?

    Here’s what this will look like when you are having grandchildren:

    The first picture is 2020-2029, the right side is 2100, when you are in your 90’s:

    Click for full-size image
    These assume a constant rate, which is unlikely if the permafrost begins to melt, releasing more methane, and the polar ice caps melt, changing the albedo (remember Albus Dumbledore).

    This is an example of a positive feedback loop.

    n.b. most folks believe that ocean levels will rise from the melting ice caps and glaciers. This is only a small impact, the greatest impact is that water expands when it warms, so ALL of the water in the ocean is expanding at once, and the ocean is several miles deep around the world-think of that!


    What can we do?

    The IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) inspired the 1997 Kyoto Protocols, which the US has not followed.

    Here’s what they say:

    Click for full-size image
    Dr. Chip Fletcher, speaking in Waimea in 2017:

    quiz 9.11.19-------------

    quiz 9.11.19

    1. Explain how CO2 makes the ocean acidic
    2. Why would a warming global climate mean famine in Asia? (hint: two reasons are possible)
    3. The planet has faced another existential threat, which we averted. How is this different from the present climate crisis?
    4. Why would the Keeling curve be inverted in Brazil?

    How will this impact Hawaii?

    Ecosystem impact:

    Animals can migrate to cooler/wettter regions, plants cannot.

    If our clouds increase in elevation (1m/year on Mauna Kea now), they will precipitate less, which is where we get our rainfall (shallow clouds).

    Notice the Kona coast is most severely impacted.

    Coral Bleaching:

    Note relation to pH.

    CO2 + H2O <--> H2CO3 <--> H+ + HCO3-

    So, back to our questions:

    1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
    2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
    3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
    4. What impact timeline can I expect?
    5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
    6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?


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GCC AP questions FRQ: 2006.2 2005.3 2005.4 2007.3 ...Falseadmin2013-02-05T02:23:20+00:00adminadmin2012-03-07 05:53:55+00:002012-03-07 05:53:55updated14adminadmin2012-03-07 05:43:38+00:002012-03-07 05:43:38updated13adminadmin2012-03-07 05:41:35+00:002012-03-07 05:41:35updated12adminadmin2012-03-07 05:38:57+00:002012-03-07 05:38:57updated11Added tag - hotadminadmin2012-03-07 05:38:55+00:002012-03-07 05:38:55addTag10adminadmin2012-03-07 05:36:47+00:002012-03-07 05:36:47updated9adminadmin2012-03-07 05:22:26+00:002012-03-07 05:22:26updated8adminadmin2012-03-07 05:20:01+00:002012-03-07 05:20:01updated7adminadmin2012-03-07 05:18:58+00:002012-03-07 05:18:58updated6adminadmin2012-03-07 04:58:55+00:002012-03-07 04:58:55updated5adminadmin2012-03-07 04:57:33+00:002012-03-07 04:57:33updated4adminadmin2012-03-07 04:56:53+00:002012-03-07 04:56:53updated3adminadmin2012-03-07 04:54:20+00:002012-03-07 04:54:20updated2First createdadminadmin2012-03-07 04:53:33+00:002012-03-07 04:53:33created1weblog2012-03-07T05:53:55+00:00groups/apenvironmentalscience/weblog/de030FalseGreen Apple/groups/apenvironmentalscience/weblog/de030/Green_Apple.htmladmin14 updatesGreen Apple Team, Please watch this video about NYC: Trailer: http://www.pbs.org/e2/episodes/101_the_green_apple_trailer.html On the server: http://physics.hpa...Falseadmin2012-03-07T05:53:55+00:00adminadmin2011-09-13 19:08:24+00:002011-09-13 19:08:24updated4Added tag - hotadminadmin2011-09-13 19:08:22+00:002011-09-13 19:08:22addTag3adminadmin2011-09-13 19:08:10+00:002011-09-13 19:08:10updated2First createdadminadmin2011-09-13 19:04:30+00:002011-09-13 19:04:30created1weblog2011-09-13T19:08:24+00:00groups/apenvironmentalscience/weblog/4ecddFalseQuestions for Wednesday, wiki adds/groups/apenvironmentalscience/weblog/4ecdd/Questions_for_Wednesday_wiki_adds.htmladmin4 updatesQuestions for Wednesday, wiki adds Team, I'd like to try something for class tomorrow: each of you to create a question from chapter 3, and email it to me by this evening (Tuesday). 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