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Climate Change and Global Warming Education for All


Climate Change and Global Warming Education for All Dr. Edward E. Geary Acting Director, GLOBE IPST Special Public Lecture Bangkok, Thailand August 7, 2006 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Climate Change and Global Warming Education for All

Climate Change and Global Warming Education for
  • Dr. Edward E. Geary
  • Acting Director, GLOBE
  • IPST Special Public Lecture
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • August 7, 2006

  • Climate Change What the data tell us
  • Data from the IPCC 2001 Report
  • Possible consequences of Climate Change
  • Adaptation and mitigation
  • Teaching about Climate Change as part of an Earth
    Systems Science course
  • Where does Climate Change science fit into the
  • Interactive Learning Experiences
  • Concept mapping activity
  • Global Warming activity
  • Climate Change Resources
  • Digital Resources
  • Other Resources

Special Acknowledgements
  • Dr. Peggy LeMone Globe Chief Scientist and
    Senior Scientist at the National Center for
    Atmospheric Research
  • Dr. Roberta Johnson Director of UCAR Education
    and Outreach Programs
  • Authors of the International Panel on Climate
    Change Report (IPCC-2001)

What do you currently know?.,.. And What
Questions do you have about Climate Change and
Global Warming?

Concept Mapping Activity
Concept Maps
See Handouts for Details
Flow Chart Concept Map
Spider Concept Map
Whats the difference between Weather and
  • Weather refers to the current atmospheric
    conditions (including temperature, precipitation,
    wind, humidity, barometric pressure) at a
    particular time and place.
  • Climate refers to the general weather patterns
    expected in a given area (sometimes based on the
    30 year average weather). Climate may also be
    applied more generally to large-scale weather
    patterns in time or space (e.g., an Ice Age
    climate or a tropical climate).

Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
Or, in the words of a middle school student.
  • ."climate tells you what clothes to buy, but
    weather tells you what clothes to wear."

Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
Why Focus on Climate and Global Change?
  • Societal Relevance
  • National Science Education Standards (USA---NRC,
  • Interdisciplinary content spans broad spectrum of
    the geosciences
  • Opportunities for authentic inquiry-based
  • A focus area providing opportunity for students
    to engage in research-driven learning with high
    motivation in an interdisciplinary context.
  • (e.g. The GLOBE Program)

Slide Credit R. Johnson, UCAR EO
So What are some of the Factors that influence
  • Solar Radiation
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Aerosols
  • Clouds
  • Carbon Sinks
  • Rates of different Earth processes
  • .. And more recently Humans

Ultimately, climate and weather are determined by
energy exchange between Earth and Space
Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
Some of the Scientific Concepts Underlying
Climate Change(they support learning about
Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science,
Mathematics, and Technology)
  • Solar Radiation and Energy Transfer
  • Conduction and Convection
  • Water Cycle
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Natural vs. Human-induced Changes
  • Rates of Change
  • Biodiversity
  • Prediction and Probability
  • The Earth System

A closer look at the physics Radiation
Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect
Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
A closer look at the chemistryGreenhouse Gases
  • Rule of thumb Gases with three or more atoms!
  • Water Vapor
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Methane
  • CFCs
  • Ozone

What do greenhouse gases do? Absorb solar
radiation and emit the energy as infrared
Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
Carbon Dioxide
Concentration of CO2 at Mauna Loa, Hawaii(the
Keeling curve)
Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
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Human activities have changed the composition of
the atmosphere since the pre- industrial era
Humans are perturbing the carbon cycle
The KP seeks to reduce total emissions by about
This is the greenhouse problem
Estimated Fossil Deposits
About 16,000
Driven by fossil fuel emissions
and land clearing
UnitsGt C for stores Gt C y-1 for fluxes
The oceans and land vegetation are currently
taking up 4.6 Gt C per year
The Land and Oceans have warmed
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Global mean surface temperatures have increased
Most of the observed warming in the past 50 years
is attributable to human activities
Climate Forcings
Water vapor, the most Important greenhouse gas,
is internal to the system (think calories
consumed and exercise vs metabolism) Other
internal quantities Clouds Precipitation Soil
Moisture (sometimes Land Cover is internal)
Slide Credit P. LeMone, NCAR
Global Warming Activity

Is there evidence of Global Warming in your
Impacts of Global Warming and Climate Change

Why All Students Should Study and Understand
these Issues
Sea Levels have risen
Climate-induced increases in sea level are caused
by thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of
land ice and ice sheets
Precipitation patterns have changed
The frequency, persistence and magnitude of
El-Nino events have increased in the last 20 years
The El-Nino phenomena leads to floods and
droughts throughout the tropics and subtropics
Observed regional changes in temperature have
been associated with observed changes in physical
and biological systems
  • Examples include
  • non-polar glacier retreat
  • reduction in Arctic sea ice extent and thickness
    in summer
  • earlier flowering and longer growing and breeding
    season for plants and animals in the N.H.
  • poleward and upward (altitudinal) migration of
    plants, birds, fish and insects earlier spring
    migration and later departure of birds in the
  • increased incidence of coral bleaching

Land areas are projected to warm more than the
oceans with the greatest warming at high latitudes
Annual mean temperature change, 2071 to 2100
relative to 1990 Global Average in 2085 3.1oC
Some areas are projected to become wetter, others
drier with an overall increase projected
Annual mean precipitation change 2071 to 2100
Relative to 1990
Mean sea level is projected to rise by 0.09 to
0.88m by 2100, but with significant regional
Extreme Weather Events are Projected to Increase
Projected changes during the 21st century
Examples of impacts
  • Higher maximum temperatures more hot days and
    heatwaves over nearly all land areas (very
  • Higher minimum temperatures fewer cold days
    frost days and cold spells over nearly all land
    areas (very likely)
  • more intense precipitation events over many areas
    (very likely)
  • increased summer drying over most mid-latitude
    continental interiors and associated risk of
    drought (likely)
  • increase in tropical cyclone peak wind intensity,
    mean and peak precipitation intensities (likely)
  • Increased mortality in old people in urban areas
  • Damage to crops
  • Heat stress on livestock
  • Extended range of pests and diseases
  • Loss of some crop/fruit
  • Land slides, mudslides, damage to property and
    increased insurance costs
  • Reduced rangeland productivity, increased
    wildfires, decreased hydropower
  • Damage to various ecological and socioeconomic

More adverse than beneficial impacts on
biological and socioeconomic systems are projected
Increased water availability in some water-scarce
regions, and decreased water availability in many
water scarce regions
Significant disruptions of ecosystems from
disturbances such as fire, drought, pest
infestation and invasion of speciesChanges in
the productivity and composition of ecological
systems, with coral reefs and boreal forests
being most vulnerable
coral bleaching events are expected to increase
Branching coral
Brain coral
Ecological systems have many interacting
non-linear processes and are thus subject to
abrupt changes and threshold effects arising from
relatively small changes in driving variables,
such as climate. For example Temperature
increase beyond a threshold, which varies by crop
and variety, can affect key development stages of
some crops and result in severe losses in crop
Increased risk of floods, potentially displacing
tens of millions of people, due to sea level rise
and heavy rainfall events, especially in Small
Island States and low-lying deltaic areas.
Bangladesh is projected to lose about 17 of its
land area with a sea level rise of one meter -
very difficult to adapt due to lack of adaptive
Effect on human healthReduced winter
mortality in mid- and high-latitudes Increased
incidence of heat stress mortality, and the
number of people exposed to vector-borne
diseases, such as malaria and dengue and
water-borne diseases such as cholera, especially
in the tropics and sub-tropics
Developing countries are the most vulnerable to
climate change
  • Impacts are worse - already more flood and
    drought prone and a large share of the economy is
    in climate sensitive sectors
  • Lower capacity to adapt because of a lack of
    financial, institutional and technological
    capacity and access to knowledge
  • Climate change is likely to impact
    disproportionately upon the poorest countries and
    the poorest persons within countries,
    exacerbating inequities in health status and
    access to adequate food, clean water and other
  • Net market sector effects are expected to be
    negative in most developing countries

Inertia is a widespread characteristic of
climate, ecological and socio-economic systems
  • Time scale is the time taken for a perturbation
    in a process to show at least half of its final
  • Inertia means a delay, slowness, or resistance in
    the response of climate, biological, or human
    systems to factors that alter their rate of
    change, including continuation of change in the
    system after the cause of that change has been

There is a wide range of time scales associated
with the climate, ecological and socio-economic
There are fast and slow processes in the carbon
CO2 concentrations, temperature and sea level
continue to rise long after emissions are reduced
Greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations,
temperature and sea level are projected to change
Stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of
CO2 will require emissions reductions globally
Stabilization Level (ppm) Date for Global emissions to peak Date for global emissions to fall below current levels
450 2005-2015 2000-2040
550 2020-2030 2030-2100
650 2030-2045 2055-2145
750 2050-2060 2080-2180
1000 2065-2090 2135-2270
These dates are associated with CO2 stabilization
alone stabilization of CO2 equivalent
concentrations need to occur even earlier because
of the contribution of the non- CO2 greenhouse
Some climate, ecological and socio-economic
system changes are effectively irreversible over
many human lifetimes, and others are
intrinsically irreversible
  • The thermohaline circulation
  • Ice sheets
  • Migration of plant species

The themohaline circulation could be disrupted by
climate change
Adaptation is a necessary strategy to complement
climate change mitigation efforts
  • Adaptation and mitigation can contribute to
    sustainable development objectives
  • Mitigation actions to reduce greenhouse gas
    emissions would lessen the pressure on natural
    and human systems
  • The lower the level of stabilization of
    greenhouse gas concentrations the greater the
    benefits in terms of avoided damage
  • Comprehensive, quantitative estimates of the
    benefits of stabilization at various levels do
    not yet exist
  • The lower the magnitude and rate of change, the
    less chance there is of crossing thresholds

Long-term stabilization (2100) of greenhouse
gas concentrations
  • Known technological options could achieve
    stabilization of carbon dioxide at levels of
    450-550 ppm over the next 100 years
  • Technology development and diffusion are
    important components of cost-effective
  • The pathway to stabilization and the
    stabilization level itself are key determinants
    of mitigation costs

The cost of compliance increases with lower
stabilization levels
Trillions of US
Projected mitigation costs are sensitive to the
assumed emissions baseline
Stabilization will require emissions reductions
  • The lower the stabilization level or the higher
    the baseline scenario, the earlier and the deeper
    the reductions
  • Approaches to mitigate climate change will be
    both affected by, and have impacts on, broader
    socio-economic policies and trends, those
    relating to development, sustainability and

World Population 6,056,528,577
The Challenge Sustainable Management of an
Ever-Changing Planet
The Challenge Sustainable Energy
The Challenge Food Security
  • Food production needs to double to meet the needs
    of an additional 3 billion people in the next 30

Climate change is projected to decrease
agricultural productivity in the tropics and
sub-tropics for almost any amount of warming
The Challenge Sustainable Forestry
  • Wood fuel is the only source of fuel for one
    third of the worlds population

Wood demand will double in next 50 years
Climate change is projected to increase forest
productivity, but forest management will become
more difficult, due to an increase in pests and
The Challenge Water Security
Water Services
Climate change is projected to decrease water
availability in many arid- and semi-arid regions
Population facing water scarcity will more than
double over the next 30 years
  • One third of the worlds population is now
    subject to water scarcity

The Challenge Sustainable Fisheries
The Challenge Sustainable use conservation of
Estimated 10-15 of the worlds species could
become extinct over the next 30 years
  • Biodiversity underlies all ecological goods and

Climate change will exacerbate the loss of
The Challenge Sustainable Management of an
Ever-Changing Planet
Key Findings
  • Climate change is not just an environmental
    issue, but a development issue
  • Global and regional changes have been observed in
    the chemical composition of the atmosphere,
    earth's surface temperature, precipitation,
    extreme climatic events, sea level
  • These have caused changes in biological, physical
    and socio-economic systems
  • Most of the observed warming of the past 50 years
    is attributable to human activities
  • Questions 1 2

Key Findings
  • Future changes in atmospheric composition and
    climate are inevitable with increases in
    temperature and some extreme events, and regional
    increases and decreases in precipitation, leading
    to an increased risks of floods and droughts
  • There are both beneficial and adverse effects of
    climate change, but the larger the changes and
    rate of change in climate, the more the adverse
    effects predominate with developing countries
    being the most vulnerable
  • Question 3

Key Findings
  • Adaptation has the potential to reduce adverse
    effects of climate change, but will not prevent
    all damages
  • Inertia is a widespread characteristic of the
    interacting climate, ecological and
    socio-economic systems which means that the
    impacts may not be observed for decades to
    centuries and mal-adaptations may be implemented
  • Questions 3 5

Key Findings
  • Greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century can
    set in motion large-scale, high-impact,
    non-linear, and potentially abrupt changes in
    physical and biological systems over the coming
    decades to millennia
  • Sustained warming of a few oC over millennia is
    projected to lead to an increase in sea level of
    several meters due to loss of Greenland and
    Antarctic Ice
  • Question 4

Key Findings
  • Stabilization of the atmospheric concentration of
    CO2 will require global emissions to decline to
    only a small fraction of current emissions --
    even after stabilization of CO2 concentrations,
    sea level will continue to rise for millennia
  • Stabilization of carbon dioxide at 450ppm and
    1000ppm would result in an equilibrium
    temperature rise of 0.9 to 2.5oC and 2.9 to 7.5oC
    above 1990 levels, respectively. Increases in
    non-CO2 concentrations would increase these
  • The lower the level of stabilization of
    greenhouse gas concentrations the greater the
    benefits in terms of avoided damages
  • Question 6

Key Findings
  • There are many opportunities, including
    technological options, to reduce near-term
    emissions, but barriers to their deployment
    exist, and cost estimates vary greatly
  • There are substantial opportunities for lowering
    mitigation costs, e.g. by using all greenhouse
    gases, the Kyoto trading mechanisms and sinks
  • On the other hand, costs are under-estimated
    because models assume emissions trading without
    transaction costs and that economies have already
    begun to adjust to meet Kyoto targets
  • Question 7

Key Findings
  • Local, regional and global environmental issues
    are inextricably linked and affect sustainable
    development climate change, loss of
    biodiversity, stratospheric ozone depletion,
    desertification, freshwater availability and air
    quality are all inter-linked
  • The primary factors underlying most environmental
    and socio-economic issues are similar, i.e.,
    economic growth, broad technological changes,
    life-style patterns and demographic shifts
  • Question 8

Climate Change Resources
  • The Digital Library for Earth System Education
  • Non-Digital Resources
  • The GLOBE Program
  • Curricula

What is DLESE?
Using DLESE to Improve Earth System Education
  • A place to find quality teaching and learning
    resources about the Earth system
  • Support and services for educators and students
  • Tips for using resources, workshops on teaching
    with data and how to use digital resources in the
  • A community-led effort, funded by the National
    Science Foundation (NSF)
  • The geoscience member library of the National
    Science Digital Library (NSDL)

What does DLESE offer?
Using DLESE to Improve Earth System Education
  • Web-based learning resources about the Earth
  • Lesson plans, computer and lab activities, data,
    visualizations, virtual field trips, instructor
  • Themed collections and reviewed collections
  • Resources are contributed and described by
    educatorsand scientists

Using DLESE to Improve Earth System Education
Why a digital library?
  • Provides efficient discovery of quality materials
  • Provides safe environment and boundaries onthe
  • Mitigates changeability of websites
  • Acknowledges the current reliance on the larger
  • About 75 percent of students said they used the
    Internet first, then went to a professor or
    librarian for assistance, and consulted print
    sources last.

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DLESEs Benefits for You
  • No need to search through huge lists

DLESEs Benefits for You
  • No need to search through huge lists
  • High quality resources from a trusted source

DLESEs Benefits for You
  • No need to search through huge lists
  • High quality resources from a trusted source
  • Searches do not yield inappropriate materials

Thank You