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GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE. Presented by: Daniela Visinica. What is it?. Global Climate Change. Identifiable change in the climate of Earth as a whole that lasts for an extended period of time (decades or longer)

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Presented by:

Daniela Visinica

What is it?

Global Climate Change

  • Identifiable change in the climate of Earth as a whole that lasts for an extended period of time (decades or longer)

    • When due to natural processes, it is usually referred to as global climate variability

    • Usually refers to changes forced by human activities that change the atmosphere

What causes Earth’s climate to change?

What causes Earth’s climate to change?

  • Changes in the atmosphere

  • Natural processes

    • Volcanoes

    • Tectonic plate movement

    • Changes in the sun

  • Human activities – any activity that releases “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere

What are greenhouse gases?

water vapor


Any gases that cause the “greenhouse effect!”

carbon dioxide

nitrous oxide

Imagine… a car on a cool but sunny day…

Climate Change:

Fitting the pieces together


  • What changes climate?

  • Is it real?

  • How do we know?

  • Why should we care?

  • How sure are scientists?

  • What next—what can we do?

What changes climate?

  • Changes in:

    • Sun’s output

    • Earth’s orbit

    • Drifting continents

    • Volcanic eruptions

    • Greenhouse gases

“Greenhouse effect”

Increasing greenhouse gases trap more heat

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide

Nitrous oxide



Sulfur hexafluoride

Could the warming be natural?

Is it real?

Effects: Snow and ice

Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

1900 and 2008

Effects on precipitation

Europe’s Climate is Anormal

  • European temperatures are 5-10 °C higher than normal

Rahmstorf & Ganopolski, Climatic Change, 1999. 43: p. 353-367

Summer days (Tmax >= 25 °C)

Changes in 1976–1999

  • Projections:

  • Cold winters disappear almost entirely by 2080

  • Hot summers much more frequent

Temperature Extremes

  • 1976–1999:

  • Number of cold and frost days decreased

  • Number of summer days increased

past trends

future projection

Data-sources: ECA, IPCC, ACACIA, KMNI

Very heavy precipitation days (p >= 20mm)

Changes in 1976–1999

  • Projections:

  • Likely more frequent droughts and intense precipitation events

Precipitation Extremes

  • 1976–1999:

  • Southern Europe: decrease

  • Mid and northern Europe: increase

past trends

future projection

Data-source: ECA, IPCC, ACACIA, KMNI

Effects on ecosystems

How do we know?

Computer models

Why should we care?

U.K.: Train rails buckle

Germany: Lowest river levels this century

France: >14,000 deaths

Switzerland: Melting glaciers, avalanches

Portugal: Forest fires

2003 European Heat Wave

  • Sea-level rise projections : a few inches to a few feet

  • 2 ft: U.S. would lose 10,000 square miles

  • 3 ft: Would inundate Miami

  • Affects erosion, loss of wetlands, freshwater supplies

  • Half of the world’s population lives along coasts

  • Big question: Ice sheets

What do climate scientists really think?

What next—what can we do?

What next—what can we do?

Produce more fuel-efficient vehicles

Reduce vehicle use

Improve energy-efficiency in buildings

Develop carbon capture and storage processes

Triple nuclear power

Increase solar power

Decrease deforestation/plant forests

Improve soil carbon management strategies

Individual actions

Tune up your furnace

Unplug appliances or plug into a power strip and switch it off

Use mass transit, bike, walk, roller skate

Caulk, weatherstrip, insulate, and replace old windows

Buy water-saving appliances and toilets; installing low-flow shower heads.

Buy products with a EPA Energy Star label

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