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Climatology. Climate vs. Weather. The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.

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Climate vs weather
Climate vs. Weather

  • The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.

  • Climate is usually over a 30 day period or longer.


What controls our climate
What Controls Our Climate?

  • The Sun

  • Atmospheric Gases (Greenhouse Gases)

  • Volcanic Eruptions

  • Surface Albedo (reflectivity) snow cover

  • Ocean Currents

  • Changes in earth’s orbit (Milankovitch Cycles)

  • Meteorite Impacts

  • Living organisms (plants, animals, microbes)





Changes in the solar cycle
Changes in the Solar Cycle

  • http://www.rockymountainstars.com/Pre_AP_Geo_Solar_Variation.htm

  • 1645 to 1750 called the Maunder Minimum A period of little to no sunspot activity.



Changes in the energy budget
Changes in the Energy Budget

  • Small changes in any of these energy budget parameters will cause the earth to heat up or cool off.

  • Example: More ice would increase reflectivity or albedo creating a positive feedback which would lower the global temperature.


Volcanic eruptions
Volcanic Eruptions

  • In 1915 Mt. Tombora erupted in Indonesia. This was the largest eruption in 1,300 years.

  • The dust surrounded the globe which created a constant fog like haze which blocked out sunlight.

  • 1916 was known as the year without a summer. A deep frost occurred over much of the US in June killing off most of the crops.



Effect of mt pinatubo
Effect of Mt. Pinatubo

  • The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 put enough aerosols into the stratosphere to lower the global temperature by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit.






The milankovitch cycles
The Milankovitch Cycles

  • Long term changes in the earth’s orbit (eccentricity) around the sun and axial tilt can change the overall heat balance of our planet.

  • A decrease in the axial tilt will cause less extreme seasons in the upper latitudes. These resulting cooler summers do not melt all the snow & ice from the previous winter which over time can lead to an ice age.





The 100 000 year cycle
The 100,000 year cycle

  • There seems to be correlation with the 100,000 year cycle of the eccentricity in our orbit and ice ages.





Banded iron formations bif
Banded Iron Formations BIF

  • The great oxygen event occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

  • Oxygen released from photosynthetic blue-green algae combined with iron in the sediment to create red & black bands of oxidized iron.

  • The banding may be caused by seasonal variations in photosynthesis and oxygen production by algae.



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