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January 21st

3 Pages

Course Code
GEOG 205
Gail Chmura

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st January 21 , 2013: Climate Change Basics  difference between weather & climate is time & the way it is studied o weather: day to day variation in the state of the atmosphere (temperature & weather events)  combination of temperature, humidity, cloudiness, etc.  what will it be like today?  how hot is it right now?  when will that storm hit out section of the country? o climate: weather information & how the atmosphere “behaves” over long periods of time (precipitation, fog)  statistical information describing variation of weather at given place for specified interval  on average, does it rain a lot during September?  what is the climate like over there?  differences between weather & climate alter climate change  James Hansen  1963 began to think about impacts of airborne particles o as moon entered earth’s shadow it surprisingly completely disappeared from view o Mount Agung, Indonesia erupted & injected gases/debris particles into atmosphere o particles scattered & absorbed incoming light, darkening earth’s surface  Milankovitch theory  describes collective effects of changes in earth’s movements on climate o eccentricity  period of 100 000 years o axial tilt changes  period of 41 000 years o precession: change in orientation of earth’s orbit  period of 26 000 years  National Centre for Atmospheric Research widely recognized for best weather dataset in world o problem: weather stations rather sparse o Hansen knew weather fluctuations would introduce short-term temperature anomalies into weather stations that aren’t same as climate change o produced average temperature changes, not absolutel temperature changes o temperature readings of weather stations within 1000 km of one another = highly correlated so could map global temperate changes over time despite fact weather stations widely spaced & located mainly on land  Hansen intrigued by humans forcing globe to warm o simulated influence of all known greenhouse gases except CO to see if net 2 effect could be felt on global scale o warming effect of all gases combined comparable to effect of 2O on its own o demonstrated human & natural activities could force climate change BUT knew natural forcings (volcanic eruptions, changes in sun activity) go up & down but human forcing (greenhouse gases) steadily increasing  a simplified earth o if you remove clouds, water vapour, greenhouse gases, dust, etc., will only have N & O o there is a radiation balance of ea
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