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Transcript
Science of Human-Induced
Climate Change
Joseph P. Straley
Paul Vincelli
University of Kentucky
[email protected] [email protected]
3-5 PM Friday, November 1
Session 58 Patterson D
The Physics of Global Warming
Joseph P. Straley
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Kentucky
[email protected]
Why climate change is interesting
*It’s going to happen to you.
*It’s part of the new science standards.
Why climate change belongs in the
new science curriculum
*It’s an example of how science works.
Exactly because it’s controversial, we can
experience science as a process, rather
than a compilation of facts.
*Understanding the climate change theory
involves many science concepts.
The Method of Science
• Collect facts
• Look for patterns and explanations that
unite the facts. The best explanation is
called The Theory
• The Theory usually implies effects that
haven’t been noticed. Look for these
effects.
• If they are found, add them to the list of
facts
• Repeat from step 1!
Fact: it gets cold at night.
The temperature steadily decreases at night.
Why?
Bertie says, “Because
X X XtheXsunXis not
X shining.”
X X
Carla objects, “But
it isn’t cold in a closet!”
The leaky bucket model
The water corresponds to the energy coming
from the sun. Energy (and water) are
“conserved.”
The water level corresponds to the temperature
It goes up during the day.
It goes down at night.
The temperature goes up during
the day, and decreases at night
The leaky bucket model
What are the leaks?
Where does the energy go?
Physics news:
All objects emit light
•
•
•
•
Sufficiently hot objects glow –
Red hot == 500 C
Yellow hot == 1000 C
White hot (like the sun) == 6000 C
• Near room temperature the emission is not
visible (infrared light), and low power
Stefan-Boltzmann Law
The power radiated per square meter at
Kelvin temperature T is
At T = 300 K (room temperature),
J = 460 Watt/m2
The temperature of the earth
Energy comes from the sun
in the form of visible light
All of this energy is reemitted,
so that the energy of the
earth stays the same from
day to day.
Both input and output are
nearly constant in time.
This determines the average
temperature of the earth
The temperature of the earth
Energy comes from the sun in the form of visible
light, and leaves in the form of infrared light..
This determines the average temperature of the
earth
Any questions?
The temperature of the earth
There’s a problem with the theory: The
power from the sun averages to 235 W/m2,
but the power radiated should be 460 W/m2.
The theory predicts that the earth should be
much colder than it is (0 F instead of 55 F).
This means that
something is
a
blocking some of
the leaks.
What is plugging the leaks?
• The atmosphere is transparent in the
visible, but not in the infrared. This is due
to the presence of “greenhouse gases”:
Greenhouse effect
Greenhouse gases
• Water vapor -- 2/3 of the effect
• Carbon dioxide (CO2) -- 1/4
• Methane and other gases -- 1/10
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png
Any questions?
Where does our energy come from?
… from burning fossil fuels.
What happens to the CO2?
Theory: It gets stored in various reservoirs:
•
•
•
•
•
The atmosphere
Ocean surface water
Plants
Deep ocean 500 year time scale
Mineralization Really slow
Reservoirs for CO2
• The atmosphere
• Ocean surface water
• Plants
The atmosphere and the ocean surface water
are closely coupled: CO2 freely moves among
them, and is shared in a fixed proportion.
Plants are not a long-term storage.
Implication of the theory
The CO2 content of the atmosphere is
cumulative of all burning of fossil fuels. It is
a permanent change (on a 500-year time
scale). The amount of CO2 in the
atmosphere should be steadily rising, and
this will continue as long as we continue to
burn fossil fuels.
Increasing carbon dioxide
Did humans cause the increase?
It seems likely. We know how much coal
and oil we burn in a year (the equivalent of
10 billion tons of coal) and we know how
much CO2 there is in the atmosphere.
The CO2 concentration would be increasing
by 3.3 parts per million per year if it all
stayed in the atmosphere.
Did humans cause the increase?
It seems likely. We know how much coal
and oil we burn in a year.
Any questions?
Greenhouse gases, again
• Water evaporates from the ocean, and
comes down as rain. The concentration
in the atmosphere doesn’t change.
• Methane doesn’t last very long.
• Carbon dioxide keeps the earth warm.
• CO2 is accumulating in the environment.
This should cause the earth to get warmer
(another theory!).
Is the temperature increasing?
Can we calculate the effect of CO2
on the temperature of the earth?
This is hard, because of feedback effects.
• Increasing temperature  more water vapor
• Increasing water vapor  more clouds
• Increasing temperature  less snow and ice
• Increasing temperature  more CO2
The temperature rise is small, because CO2 is
only a small part of the atmosphere, and the
CO2 concentration hasn’t increased much …
yet.
Overlaying two graphs
Apparently, the earth is getting
warmer
It amounts to about 2 Fahrenheit degrees
over the last century.
However, the theory says that increasing
CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is
inevitable and permanent, and that this
should lead to a permanent temperature
rise. It is a distant but unstoppable problem
for our descendants.
History of the earth’s
temperature
Summary
• The earth has definitely gotten warmer in
the last century
• The increase in carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere is the likely cause; this theory
implies that the temperature will continue
to go up in the future.
• We need to agree that there might be a
problem, discuss the implications, and
develop a plan.
Any questions?
• The earth has definitely gotten warmer in the last
century
• The increase in carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere is the likely cause; this theory
implies that the temperature will continue to go
up in the future.
• We need discuss the implications and develop a
plan
At The Half…
Paul Vincelli
Extension Professor and
Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor
Draft US National Climate Assessment, 2013
Dessler and Parson, 2010
Dessler and Parson, 2010
Climate change from
perspective of geological time
End of last
glaciation
Today=CO2 is
off the chart
Temperature
Red=Antarctic temp
Blue=global temp
Yellow dots=CO2
Shakun et al, 2012. Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last
deglaciation. Nature 484:49-55.
Present-day impacts
Ocean CO2
NASA
Observed global mean sea
level (from tide gauges)
In geologic past, sea
level changed 10-20 m
for every 1°C. (Archer,
2012, Global Warming.
J. Wiley.
Cazenave and Llovel. 2010. Contemporary Sea Level Rise. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 2:145–73
Cryosphere: Sea ice vs. ice
sheets vs. glaciers
Glacier
Continental ice sheet
(http://www.solcomhouse.com/icecap.htm)
Sea ice (at right)
(http://fac-staff.seattleu.edu/gualtieri/web/images/sea_ice.jpg)
(http://www.usgs.gov/images/topical/glac
iers/dsc00035.jpg
Glaciers
Muir Glacier, photographed by W. O. Field in August 1941 and B. F.
Molnia in August 2004. — Image Credit: NSIDC Glacier Photo
Collection.
Arctic sea ice
A NASA image shows how the record-low Arctic sea ice extent compares with the average
minimum extent over the past 30 years, in yellow.
Ian Joughin, University of Washington
Acceleration on both land masses confirmed: http://bit.ly/TvxEZl
Melting permafrost
http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/soilorders/gelisols_09.htm
Global atmospheric moisture
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/extreme-weather/data-charts
Heat waves in USA
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/extreme-weather/data-charts
Extreme rainfalls
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/extreme-weather/data-charts
Departure from average (days)
Length of growing season
Climate Change Indicators in the USA, EPA Report, 2012
Changes in USDA Plant
Hardiness Zones
Impact of climate trends on
corn yield, 1980-2008
Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980, Science 333:616, 2011
Southern diseases moving
northward
Bacteria streaming from vascular tissue of root
Example of outbreak of southern bacterial wilt
http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/pp728/Ralstonia/Tomato_bacterial_wilt_symptoms.html
Snowpack
Climate Change Indicators in the USA,
EPA Report, 2012
Projections
All models show increasing temp
Models show increasing uncertainty
IPCC 2007
Atmospheric CO2 responds
slowly
Soloman et al, 2009. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide
emissions. PNAS 106:1704
Global cooling responds even
more slowly than CO2
Soloman et al, 2009. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide
emissions. PNAS 106:1704
Sea level continues to rise well
after cessation of CO2 emissions
Soloman et al, 2009. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide
emissions. PNAS 106:1704
How fast will warming happen?
Some key uncertainties


How much GHGs will human emit?
Cloud feedbacks
Clouds and global warming
High clouds trap heat
Image at left: NASA
Image at right: weather.ou.edu
Low clouds reflect sunlight
Modeling cloud behavior is difficult.
How fast will warming happen?
Some key uncertainties



How much GHGs will human emit?
Cloud feedbacks
Equilibrium climate sensitivity (1.5-4.5°C)
https://twitter.com/skepticscience/status/358062079959265280/photo/1
How fast will warming happen?
Some key uncertainties





How much GHGs will human emit?
Cloud feedbacks
Equilibrium climate sensitivity (1.5-4.5°C)
Aerosols
Can the oceans buffer the warming fast
enough?
CO2

www.pa.uky.edu/sciworks/climatechange