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Climate Change
Climate Change Background
 The earth has been in a warming trend for the past
few centuries
 Mainly due to the increase in greenhouse gas
 CO2, CH4, N2O, H2O
Atmosphere will be warmer because the earth
can retain more heat (larger greenhouse effect)
The Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse gases: definition:
Greenhouse gases are transparent to incoming
solar radiation (short wave) radiation, but absorb
outgoing long-wave radiation.
Greenhouse gases act to __________
The most abundant greenhouse gas is water
The Enhanced, or Runaway
Greenhouse Effect
Burning of fossil fuels cause an increase in
greenhouse gas concentrations
Fossil fuels are coal, petroleum, natural gas
Clearing of forests also
increases carbon dioxide concentrations, because
plants remove CO2 from the air
Enhanced greenhouse gases are expected
to lead to a warmer climate.
Greenhouse warming effectiveness
Different gases vary in their ability to act as a greenhouse
Strength of warming
Concentration (ppm)
Water Vapor
Carbon Dioxide
Nitrous oxide
Current CO2: ~380 ppm
Carbon Dioxide Trend from 1950 - 2010
Future projections of CO2
What happens in the future depends on how
much more CO2 we release into the
 Even the low-emission scenarios result in
greatly increased CO2 concentrations by the
year 2100
Max concentration (of scenarios shown): 970 ppm
 Min concentration (of scenarios shown): 550 ppm
 (Compare with current value: 380 ppm)
Future Predictions: Temperature
Notes on Temperature
Projected Warming: 2000 – 2100 ranges from
~1.4°C to ~5.8°C. (~2.5°F to ~10.5°F)
not all places will warm at the same rate
Curves represent warming produced for
seven independent scenarios
 Each bar on right represent range of warming
produced by models of differing sensitivies for
a specific scenario.
Land areas are projected to warm more than the
oceans with the greatest warming at high latitudes
Annual mean temperature change, 2071 to 2100
relative to 1990: Global Average in 2085 = 3.1oC
Some areas are projected to become wetter, others
drier with an overall increase projected
Annual mean precipitation change: 2071 to 2100 Relative to 1990
Sea Level
Main climate changes
Higher temperatures –
especially on land
Polar Regions
Hydrological cycle more intense
Storms have more “fuel,” so they can be more
powerful, bringing more intense rainfalls
Sea levels rise
Oceans expand with extra heat
Melting of polar ice
Changes in weather events
As Poles warm quickly relative to the
The jet stream will weaken and move north
The storm track will move north with it
 Latitude bands 30-40 degrees should get drier
 Rain events begin to replace snow events
 reduction in the # of strong tornadoes in U.S.
 Tornado Alley migrates north
 Atlantic hurricanes will more easily form and
grow to even greater strength
Predictions For the Bay Area
Decreased winter precipiation as jet
stream moves north
 Increased summer precipiation as water
is warmer/more subtropical moisture
 Weaker sea breeze due to warmer
ocean temperatures results in hotter
 Less snowpack in Sierra Nevada,
leading to water shortages