Charles Miller12/14/17Atm 220Final1. Natural Climate Change (15%): Below is a 420,000 year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide and ice volume changes from an Antarctic ice core (Petit et al, 1999). Name the proxy used for ice volume and carefully explain how/why it represents global ice volume. What other important climate parameter can the proxy represent? Illustrate your explanations with a hand drawn diagram.
What is the leading hypothesis for why carbon dioxide and ice volume covary? Carefully explain where the carbon dioxide went during glaciations and how it got there. The proxy for ice voume is the ratio of oxygen 16 and 18. We use this ratio to determine the volume of ice by seeing the amount of oxygen 16 and 18. If there is more 16 then 18 then we know that there was more ice. This ratio is useful since the oxygen 18 is heavier compared to oxygen 16 thus the oxygen 18 will fall out of the sky as rain at lower latitudes then oxygen 16 which means that at high latiudes which is where we have ice the ice will have very little oxygen 18. This means that ice will have low o16 and the melted ice will also have low oxygen 16. Then the further we find water with more o16 we have an idea about how far the polar ice caps exteneded too telling us about the volume of ice.The oxygen 16 and 18 ratio proxy also repersents tempature.
It repersent tempature as the more oxygen 18 there is warmer the climate was. Insert drawingCarbon dioxide levels and ice volume are related becaue the more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere the less ice there is on the earth due to changes in tempature. During periods of glaciationn we think that there was a increase in biological pump.
The biological pump works by having organisms through photosynthesis and having these orgnaisms as they die sink to the ocean bottom keeping the carbon dioxide from going back to the atomsphere. SInce this process loweres green hosue gases we think that it lowered the termpature causing an increase glaciers since we had more carbon dioxide go to the bottom of the ocean. 2. Oceans and Climate Change (15%): Anthropogenic climate change is raising the level of the oceans worldwide. Explain two physical processes that are increasing sea level. Why is the increase not the same everywhere? By how much has global sea level risen since the late 1800s? And, according to the latest IPCC Report, by how much is it predicted to rise by 2100? Predictions of future sea level rise are highly uncertain, give three reasons why this is the case.
Research and explain three ways in which sea level rise is a serious threat to Miami. The first process that is raising the sea level is thermal expansion. Thermal expansion is the effect of heating somting.
Thus when the ocean increases in tempature the water expands to a larger size thus raising the sea level. The second process is the melting of land ice. As glaciers on land continue to melt the wate that was traped in these glaciers ends up in the ocean which inreases the total ocean volume. The ocean is not rising everywhere for a variety of reasons they are the ocean tempature, winds, and currents. Tempature has an effect on sea level rise because of thermal expansion. Thus in areas with a higher tempature such as the tropics there will be a higher level of sea level rise since the ocean will be warmer which would then expand at a higher level then a place in the higher latitudes. Another similar cause of different levels of sea level rise in different places is currents.
Since currents transports large levels of water if you have a warm current moving water the areas around this warm current will have higher levels of sea level rise due to thermal expansion. Conversly if you have a cold current going to a place in a lower latitude the sea level rise might be lower then a place at a higher latitude with a warm current. Lastly wind causes changes in sea levels due to the same reasons as currents it moves warm and cold water around leading to hcanges in levels of thermal expansion.
The sea level has risen between 5-8 inches since 1900. According to the ipcc the global sea level will rise between .2 to 1 meter by 2100 https://www.
ipcc.ch/pdf/unfccc/cop19/3_gregory13sbsta.pdf.Projecting sea level rise is hard to do due to two reasons.
They are time, and changes in the ice sheets. Time effects how we project changes in sea level rise due to all the things that could change over a long range of time. For example we are good at proejcting how high the tides will be tommowow because there are less vairables that could change however with time there are many vairabels that could change.
First off we could lower the amount of signifcantly change the level of emissons we put into the atomspehre which will have change the earths tempature and if we change the tempature the sea level will change. Anthother thing that could change over time is sdklfjdslkjf. The other reason why we have a hard time projecting sea level rise is how long the ice sheets will remain. Since there is no accurate way to project how long the ice shetts we have a hard determining how much the sea level will rise. If the ice sheets melt at a fast rate then the sea level will rise much quickly due to the increase in water and the changing of the earths albedo due to the decrease in ice. Conversly if the ice sheets do not shrink very fast we will have to lower the projected sea level rise. Three reasons why sea level rise is a serisou threat to miami are the city is low lying, it has a pourus bedrock, and the design of the city.
The most immediate threat to Miaim is that the city is low lying. On adverage Miami is about 4 feet above sea level thus any sort of increase in Sea level will put large swaths of Miami under water. According to the IPCC report if we have the maximum range of a increase in sea level of 1 meter then almost all of Miami and the rest of south Florida will be a very expsenive sand bar.
The next reason why Miami is very vunerable to rising sea levels is the pourus bed rock that the city lies on. Miami was built on limestone which is pourus and has a lot of water moving thorugh it. Thereford any amount of saltwater that gets on land can seap throgu the ground getting into the water source for south florida causing it to become undrinkable. Additonally as the ocean rise and the water seeps through the limstone it can corrode any sort metal that is anchoring buildings down below the surface The last reason why miami is so vunerable to sea level rise is the design of the city.
Since Miami before being developed was a swamp in order to make it habitable there was the building of canals around the city drain the water and allow for development. However these canals were built for the sea level at that time which is lower then what we have now. Thus these canals are no longer able to provide the same levels of drainage as they were built to. ANother way the design of the city makes it vunerabe to climate change is its use of septic systems in home. Since septic systems need to be above ground water if the sea levels rise and due to the previously mentioned limestone then it could casue the system to fail. For all of these reasons Miami is extremely if there is any rise in the sea level.
3. Climate Stability and Sensitivity (15%): Imagine an “aquaplanet” comprised only of water and ice at its surface (same as Earth, but no continents). Would you say that the climate on this planet is in a stable or unstable equilibrium? Explain in terms of feedbacks. Explain the global consequences if there is a reduction of incoming solar radiation? If radiative forcing stabilizes at a reduced intensity, can the aquaplanet warm up again? If so, how? The cliamte of the aquaplanet would be in a unstable equilibrium becasue even though the planet would lacks solid land it would still be influenced by postive feedbacks. For example if the planet were to increase in tempature for any reason then the water vapor feedback could cause a runaway greenhouse effect. The water vapor feed back is a positive feedback where as tempature increases more water evaporates increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Therefore there is a a increase in the greenhosue gas effect which would cause an increase in temaputre. If this tempature increase reaches a certain threshold we would get a runawy effect where the water on this planet could completly evaporate.
Another feeback that would effect this aquaplanet is the ice albedo feedback. This feedback works by havin an increase or decrease in the total amount of ice on a planet. In this aquaplanet if the ice were to increase due to a decrease in tempature the planets albedo would increase reflecting more sun out of its atmosphere. Due to the a decrease in solar radiation staying in the planet the ice would continue to grow leading to a ice age on the planet. In this planet if there was a decrease in solar radiation it could have a dramatic effect on the climate of the planet. It could lead to a increase in the ice-albedo feedback as previously stated causing the planet to completly freeze. However this planet could overcome this decrease of solar radiation by two ways.
The first would be a external forcing on the planet changing its orbit. If the orbit changes moving the planet closer to the sun it would increase the solar radiation melting the ice causing a decrease in ice lowering the albedo of the planet further increasing its solar radiatoin. Another way it could warm up is a decrease in photosynthesis. A decrease in photosynthesis could warm the plaent up because it would increase the amount of carbon dioxide which is a green hoseu gas. This would cause effects similar to the water vapor feedback however instead of water vapor it would be carbon dioxide trapping in additional heat in the form of long wave radiaioon on the planet. 4. Anthropogenic Climate Change (20%): You are conversing with a friend who is skeptical about climate change and its consequences. Your friend says, “Carbon dioxide is a trace gas so a few more parts per million aren’t going to matter, and anyway, climate has changed before, so it’s not going to be a big deal.
” How will you respond?! Be sure to address each of the three points your friend has made in this short sentence. Carefully explain, using clear and persuasive scientific argument and evidence, why they are invalid. After you have made your argument your friend says, “So I guess you’d like us all to stop breathing?!” Explain why human respiration does not contribute to climate change. A. Even though carbon dioxide is a trace gas it has a a very large effect on our climate. It is a very efficent green house gas thus its small amount in our atmosphere is very important. B.
Additonalll it has risen from insert pre industrial rev co2 number to insert co2 post rev number. This is a x% increase which is a very large number and has coincided with a increase in the earth’s adverage tempature.C.
Even though climate has changed throughout time the current climate has changed at a much higher rate in recent history then any other time in history. D. human breathing does not contribute to climate change for two reasons. The first is that respiration is a normal routine process compared to the burnign of fossil fuels. For exampe respiration happens among most species and that carbon was previously in our atmossphe relativly recently. On the other hand the burning of oil is a much less natural proceess since we have to retrieve from deep under the ground in most cases. Additonally this oil had carbon that was in our atmosphere from many many years ago thus it has a much stronger effect on our atmosphere.
Thus all in all respiration has a very small effect on climate change. Since the Earth is much more prepared for it.5. Mitigation (35%): We can reduce climate change impacts, both locally and globally, by acting to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.
Research and describe one policy that acts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at each of the (a) global-, (b) national-, (c) state-, and (d) local levels. How effective have each of these policies been? Examples can come from any country/ state/city. What policy(ies) would you advocate for the future to be most effective in reducing carbon emissions worldwide? Why? You must fully cite your sources. Be prepared to share/ debate these policies in our final class.A. A global greenhouse reduction strategy was the creation of the Green Climate Fund from the Paris Climate Accord. The Green Climate Fund which is based in South Korea goal is to help countries that are developing “limit or reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change.
” This means that the green climate fund uses its money to help poorer countries deal with climate change by helping them acquire more green energy or build ways to deal with the upcoming changes due to the change in climate. The fund claims to spend 50 percent of its funds on dealing with climate change and 50 percent on reducing emissions. B. An example of a policy at the national level to lower Carbon Dioxide levels would be Britain’s plan to ban the selling of cars with an internal combustion engine by the year 2040 and . In the year 2010 Britain produced 68 million tons of carbon from passenger vehicles in the year 2010, I would expect this number to rise in Britain as population increases putting more cars on the road.
Under this policy they hope to eliminate the amount of carbon produced per year by switching to cars that produce zero emissions. Critics of this policy say that it is not ambitious enough as this plan would take 20 years to take effect and conventional engines are likely to be on the country’s roads more than a decade later.” (Castle) This is due to the lifespan of cars which is around 10 years. So if internal combustion powered cars are sold in 2039 they will likely still be on the road to close to 2050. Another interesting critique of this policy is “significant investment in order to install charging points across the country, especially fast-charge points,” and added that it was questionable whether the electricity grid “could cope with a mass switch-on after the evening rush hour.”(Castle Times) This quote means that Britain would have to install places to charge electrically powered cars which could just be done by converting gas stations into electric charging stations or whatever other fuel source we will be using at that time so long as it doesn’t produce any emissions. It would also have to increase electricity production to meet the added demand of electric cars. C.
California’s Solar Rights Act of 1978 was a law which gave homeowners protections if they wanted to have solar energy panels on their property. The act ” limits the ability of covenants, conditions, and restrictions, typically enforced by homeowner associations (HOA), and local governments to restrict solar installations.” For example a place could put zoning limits on properties in towns making it illegal to have solar panels within certain areas of a property. Another way this act protects citizens is the power companies could prohibit using solar energy to power one’s home or limit the effectiveness of solar panels such as FPL does in Florida.
Another case could be a homeowner association could claim that a property could not have solar panels on its roof in order to “protect” home values. THis act protects people’s from these laws or rules so that they can use solar panels to power their homes instead of using fossil fuels. Another protection this act gives is it forbides someones neighbors from growing plants and trees that provide shade limiting the usage of solar panels. D. A local level policy to help lower emissions is Barcelona’s Superblocks plan.
Superblocks are areas in Barcelona “mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed to “fill our city with life”, as its tagline says.” (Guardian) Thus in these areas there will only be vehicles if they are owned by someone who lives in the superblock or are delivering goods to a business in the area, however they must travel at 10 km per hour which is 6 mph. (Guardian Barcelona) This plan if expanded to the whole city would immediately help reduce co2 emissions and energy demand since people would only be able to move by bus, rail, or bicycle. Like England’s plan it would eliminate a ton most transportation emissions from cars and since public transportation is shared it would reduce the total emissions since more people are on each train then a car. In addition this plan would also have benefits other than reduced pollution since people will not be able to drive places they will get more exercise and there will be less noise pollution.
All in all the plans I think would be most effective would be the Green CLimate Fund, the Solar Rights Act, and a more forceful ban of internal combustion engine. I think that the Climate FUnd is a great idea because it helps poor countries prepare for a changing climate who are less able to do so, additionally it also uses money from countries who contributed more towards our current climate situation to help those who did less pollution. I think that we should expand the solar rights act to include wind energy because it protects people from electrical companies who want to stifle the use of renewable energies to power individuals homes and nimbyism who do not want to see wind turbines or solar panels. Lastly I would change the Britain’s internal combustion engine ban by making it more forceful. I would move the date that cars powered by fossil fuels must be off the road by to 2040 thus spurring more innovation by car manufactures to create more cars powered by electricity or other forms of power that do not produce emissions. It would also push electrical companies to make more power stations to recharge cars and for the increase in power demand. The plan I have the most problems with is Barcelona’s car free zone plan because it is the least applicable to the world. This plan would only work in big cities that are centralized enough that travel by means other a car are still practicable.
For example in the United States I can only see this plan working in the big Northeastern cities. This idea would not work very well in a place like Miami since there is a lack of public transportation and the city is so spread out that having a car is almost a necessity here. Thus making a city car free would only work in certain cities and there would have to be much more planning and spending in order to make it viable even though it is an idea that I would very much like to see in my hometown of Boston.