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Lecture 20

Earth Science - Lecture 20 Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Earth Sciences
Sergei Basik

THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT AND GLOBAL WARMING The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming  Sunlight is short-wave radiation that passes easily through the atmosphere and heats up the Earth’s surface  Heat and other long-wave radiation produced at surface then heats up water and gases in atmosphere o Clouds absorb heat at night o Different types of clouds have different effects at night  Greenhouse effect depends on effectiveness in blocking outgoing long-wave radiation (heat) and abundance in atmosphere  50% of radiation is absorbed by surface of the planet  Main percentage of radiation is focused at the equator  The Greenhouse Effect: some of the infrared radiation passes through the atmosphere but most is absorbed and re-emitted in all directions by greenhouse gas molecules and clouds  this warms the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere Greenhouse Gases and the Carbon Cycle  Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas  CO 2as the greatest total effect  CH 4 O3, NO2are also significant  Carbon cycle: the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and rocks  Some of the CO2 added to the atmosphere dissolves into ocean water: o CO2 taken up by marine organisms is added to sea floor sediments  thus taken out of the ocean atmosphere part of cycle o CO2 taken up by biomass on land is held in soil  thus taken out of ocean-atmosphere part of cycle  Human activities have been adding to CO2 to atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution: o Mostly by burning fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) that generate CO2 o Transportation, industrial/re
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