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ESC 110: Global Climate Change: Impact on Biological Systems

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Title: PowerPoint Presentation - ESC 110: Global Climate Change: Facts & Fiction Author: Tom Hinkley Last modified by: Nitrogen Created Date: 3/4/2002 4:09:31 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: ESC 110: Global Climate Change: Impact on Biological Systems


1
ESC 110 Global Climate Change Impact on
Biological Systems
Changes in glacial ice mass- Indication
of Climate change
Bob Edmonds Forest Resources Reading p. 195-209
2
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3
Lecture Topics 1. Is
global warming really happening? 2. Greenhouse
gases and increases in CO2 3. Climate in the
past, present and future 4. What effect will
climate change have? 5. What can we do about it?
4
1. Is global warming really happening?
5
GCC Fact or Fiction
From an environmental textbook One of the two
most immediate global environmental threats
humans face is climate change caused by
greenhouse gases. This is caused by the
introduction of large quantities of
human-produced gases into the atmosphere. Are
these statements true? Does everyone agree with
them?
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GCC Givens
  • Climate will change (because it has changed).
  • Carbon dioxide levels are increasing in the
    atmosphere
  • The greenhouse effect is real (and important).
  • How will the climate change and how much will the
    climate change?
  • Is the change natural or due to human activities?
  • If there is climate change, will it affect me?

GCC Questions
12
Human-Caused Global Climate Change
  • IPCC (2001) released report stating recent
    changes in the worlds climate have had
    discernable impacts on physical and biological
    systems.
  • Concluded human activities must be at least
    partially responsible.

13
2. Greenhouse gases and increases in CO2
14
GCC Greenhouse effect
  • The greenhouse effect is caused by trace gases in
    the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide,
    methane, others)

15
Greenhouse Gases
  • Carbon Dioxide - Fossil-fuel burning.
  • Atmospheric levels increasing steadily.
  • Methane - Ruminants, Coal-mines
  • Absorbs more infrared than CO2.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - Refrigerants
  • Declined in recent years
  • Nitrous Oxide - Burning organic material
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride - Electrical insulation

16
Table 9.3
17
GCC Changes in a greenhouse gas
Increasing Pattern Biological activity Human
activity
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3. Climate in the past, present and future
20
GCC Present Temperature Change to Historical
21
Fig. 9.9c
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Fig. 9.9d
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LARGE SCALE CLIMATE PERTURBATIONS-
EL NINO AND LA NINA
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El Nino Southern Oscillation
27
El Nino Southern Oscillation
  • Large pool of warm surface water in Pacific Ocean
    moves back and forth between Indonesia and South
    America.
  • Most years, the pool is held in western Pacific
    by steady equatorial trade winds.
  • Every three-five years the Indonesian low
    collapses and the mass of warm surface water
    surges back east.

28
El Nino Southern Oscillation
  • During an El Nino year, the northern jet stream
    pulls moist air from the Pacific over the U.S.
  • Intense storms and heavy rains.
  • During intervening La Nina years, hot, dry
    weather is often present.

29
GCC Climate Change Predictions
MODEL
  • Four responses
  • A disaster
  • The best news ever
  • Do not know enough
  • Natural cycles dominate

Know CO2 will continue to increase Greenhouse
effect should increase Therefore temperature
should increase
30
The Pacific Northwest is likely to have hotter,
drier summers and warmer, wetter winters.
31
4. What effect will climate change have?
32
EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
ON Agriculture - increase agricultural yields
in Canada could reduce in U.S. Forests -
change species distributions, more forest
fires Water stream flows could be less in some
areas big competition for water Fish - could
increase stream temperatures reduce salmon Coral
reefs - killing of reefs (bleaching) Wildlife
some species could go extinct reduce
biodiversity People - sea level rise will flood
coastal cities, water supplies could be reduced,
more fires, hotter in summer(more need for air
conditioning and energy), reduced snow for
skiing. Could result in rapid global cooling
(breaking the conveyor belt)
33
Modern Glacial Retreat in Switzerland
NOW
THEN
34
Consequences of Changes in Global Snow/Ice
Coverage
  • Northern latitudes have warmed more than the
    global average.
  • Spring is coming sooner to northern latitudes.
  • Examined 10 plus year record of almost 300
    different species Changes in phenology (when
    leaves appear, migration, nesting, hibernation)
    and distribution and abundance
  • Seasonal water shortages
  • Loss of glaciers (e.g., Glacier Natl Park)

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Consequence of this warming?
Feedback Less snow, means warmer winters,
earlier springs. Further Changes in species
distribution Changes in biological communities
37
GCC Implications on Plants
Species responses
Disturbance regimes
38
Rapid melting of polar ice in the North
Atlantic could break the heat conveyer belt in
the oceans and cause rapid cooling. Scarey!!
39
5. What can we do about it?
40
GCC Lets assume we need to do something, then
what?
  • Conservation reduce fossil fuel energy use
  • Alternative energy sources
  • Regulate carbon dioxide emissions ( 1997 Kyoto
    Protocol U.S. has not signed)
  • Carbon tax
  • Use plants (trees) to take up or sequester the
    carbon.

41
GCC Solutions with plants
  • Balance the net gain of global carbon by the
    atmosphere through planting young forests
    requires over 109 hectares of young forest, 14
    times the size of Washington State.
  • Balancing the CO2 input from the US alone would
    require an area 3 times Washington State ( 1.2
    times the size of California)
  • If you burn it then it goes back to the
    atmosphere. Could bury trees in the ocean.

42
GUILT
43
Global Climate Change Summary.
Climate has changed in the past and will in the
future Humans have contributed Climate change has
consequences We are involved in a massive
experiment You are the observers of this
experiment. You will need to address whether
when something should be done how.
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