Climate Change


Richness is a score for how well each page of a student’s process journal (an accordion book) expresses the science concepts we’ve taught in the cool science project. If you’re interested, contact Bob

The Greenhouse Effect


80% of mass

99% of water





Only 1% of solar energy (UV) absorbed by Ozone in stratosphere

Radiation is related to Temperature

Different gases

Absorb different wavelengths

The Greenhouse Effect:

A) is entirely caused by man

B) makes earth uninhabitable

C) makes Venus uninhabitable

D) is caused solely by carbon dioxide

E) is mainly caused by release of CFCs


Greenhouse Effect

Natural Greenhouse Effect

Raises earth’s average temperature -18C to 14C

Anthropogenic Greenhouse Effect Enhancement

Due to additions of greenhouse gases

H2O, CO2, CH4, N20, O3, Freons

CO2 and Temperature correlated over last 2 million years

CO2 has never been as high as it is today (in the last 2 million years)

Model predictions need historical data as well as a complete understanding of feedback systems and thresholds

Carbon Dioxide

The Past-Milankovitch Cycles

Precession: 21,000 yr (tilt towards sun)

Obliquity: 41,000 yr (23o)

Eccentricity: 100,000 yr (ovalness)

Other Feedback Systems

Increased CO2increased Tice caps meltingdecreased albedoincreased T (POSITIVE feedback)

Increased CO2increased photosynthesisdecreased CO2 (NEGATIVE feedback)

Increased Tincreased evaporationincreased cloudsincreased albedodecreased T (NEGATIVE feedback)

Increased CO2Increased Tincreased climate changedisruption of ecosytemsdecreased productivityincreased CO2 (POSITIVE feedback)


Ocean Conveyor Belt stops

Temperatures rise, arctic ice melts, North Atlantic Deep Water not salty enough to sink

Terrestrial carbon sink fills up

Forest regrowth complete

~1 gigaton C/yr atmospheric increase above current

El Nino intensifies

Temperatures rise, cause greater gradients in pressure, disrupts upwelling and therefore productivity

Hurricanes intensify

Water temperatures increase

Allow many more hurricanes to develop

Disrupts ecosystems

6000 Temperature Stations

Urban Heat Island Effect

Model Projections

Glacier Calving

00:00 to 1:40

3:40 to end

The Present-Impacts

Temperature increase

Sea-Level Rise

Increase storm frequency and/or intensity

Ocean Acidification




Factors Affecting Warming

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased."

IPCC WQ1 2013 (AR5)

Assessment Report 6 (AR6, 2021)

It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.

The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole – and the present state of many aspects of the climate system – are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.

Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5.

Improved knowledge of climate processes, paleoclimate evidence and the response of the climate system to increasing radiative forcing gives a best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3°C, with a narrower range compared to AR5.


The Carbon Cycle regulates Earth’s climate

Human burning of fossil fuels has altered the carbon cycle

There are measurable and attributable impacts in the recent past and present

We are expecting much larger impacts in the future based on models that represent the understanding of thousands of our best climate scientists

Climate Change affects every person and every species on Earth

Breakouts: How do we solve this problem?

What can we do individually, community-wide, governmentally, internationally, etc.?


















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