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Lecture 2

GEO 605 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Arctic Air, Jet Stream, Background Radiation

Course Code
GEO 605
David Atkinson

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GEO 605 Week 2
- Why is it so cold in the arctic
o Above the tree line in the north of Canada
- The further north you go, the sun stays much longer
- As we get into summer, our days get longer because we are further north on the map
- Arctic climate
o 66 ½ N climate
o Mid February sunlight comes in resolute
o Whe you do’t hae sola eegy o eath, its not gonna heat the ground
o Extremely cold temperatures
A lot less solar radiation (even with 24 hrs of sunlight in summer)
When you go further north, the sunlight goes on a low angle 2 m2
Energy spread out over large area
Takes longer to warm up
Pond Inlet Temp: -32
Because there was no change in the sunlight
Takes a long time to do anything
In the north, 2 months of the year (july and august), the temperature is above 0
In Toronto 2 ½ months are below freezing (0 deg C)
o Very little precipitation
Less than 200mm (Toronto gets 900mm)
Most of this is snow in Arctic
o Very windy in summer time
Warm air rises up and cold air comes in
Difference in air which makes it cold wind
The air on top of the land rises and the cold air from ocean comes in and creates
a pressure differential creating strong winds
o Electromagnetic radiation
Light is part of it
Can see visible portion of the spectrum
The earth is being bombarded by light by sun
Ultra-violet rays give us sun burns and cancer
SPF 80 sunscreen
Atmosphere interacts with our radiation
When something absorbs solar radiation or light, it changes it to infrared - heat
Heat is electromagnetic radiation
The earth absorbs heat
Our atmosphere traps heat
- Absorption
o Ultraviolet,
Disrupts DNA
o Oxygen protects us from getting skin cancer
o CO2 absorbs
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o Water vapour absorbs more heat than anything else
Part of our water cycle
As water vapour rises, it condenses and falls back as precipitation
o CO2 has changed
- Atmospheric structure
o Think of atmosphere as our winter coats
Your body generates heat
Winter coat traps heat and stops the wind from taking it away
o The earth absorbs heat and goes back into the atmosphere and atmosphere traps the
Cannot argue this basic science
- Absorption of terrestrial radiation
o We know that CO2 is increasing
It traps heat
Its trapping more heat
o Data analysis in terms of past climates
They attack the math and methods
o CO2 is increasing because we are burning fossil fuels
Its ignorance by people
- Atmospheric carbon dioxide
o Why did they do it in the middle of Hawaii
Because its in the middle of pacific
o There is a seasonal change
o Why do we have higher CO2 right now?
The majority of the earth is in North atmosphere so in summer, plants rise while
in autumn, they decompose
- CO2 now
o We’e ieasig eey yea
o Can visit prof twice a year and prof will show the device that measures CO2 outside
o 280 ppm is the global average of what it is used to be
o CO2 absorbs heat
- Human activities have changed the composition of the atmpsphere
o All because of industrial revolution
o More farms etc.
- Greenhouse effect
o Heat by the earth trapped by the atmosphere
o Visible light passes through the glass
o Heat gets trapped in the greenhouse, absorbs and reradiates back out
o Glass traps a bit of heat
Your car gets really hot in July hih is hy you do’t leae pets ad kids i the
- The eath’s geehouse effet
o 14% escapes in outer space
o Water is excellent absorber of thermal radiation
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Holds that energy much longer
o Terrestrial radiation comes to earth and goes back
Basic science
- Atmospheric structure
o More greenhouse gases trap more heat
o Water vapour is the biggest thermal absorber
o Wate apou as’t hagig and as we trap more heat because of CO2
o As our atmosphere warms up, it will trap more heat
o Fossil fuel using it as our primary energy source
- What is climate change?
o We have seasons and different climates
o As we trap more heat, we change climatic patterns
o Jet stream
Strong corridor of air that goes across NA
Essentially divides cold arctic air from southern warm air
Strong jet of air
It does’t ue
You lessen the energy and you can curve it
Warm and cold air make a strong jet stream
Jet stream becomes less powerful and suddenly you have cold winter or warm
winter which means it is changing
o Changes occur over a much slower time
Not the same slow rate of change, we are seeing rapid changes
o Burning a fossil fuels, oil, gas, coal causes CO2
o We have had ice ages before
o The rate of change is different now
o If people try to tell you, the last 5- yeas, the plaet did’t a up uikly
o Massive change in how we measure ship temps.
- How do we know the climate is changing?
o Direct measurements
We can measure it with thermometer
We do’t go ak efoe 9 i osistet ati easueets
We get temp. records for those moments
Continuous temp. measurements we have had since 1990s
Cooling trend through late 60s and 70s
Since 1980s, temps. Have increased so we have seen warmer year after year
o Proxy measurements
Numerous things that are affected by temperatures
Temp. affects biological and physical processes and infer from them to see what
the temp. is
Paleo-climateology looking at the history of temperature
o Ice cores
You get enough ice and snow, starts to move, it becomes glacier
Dense and thick glaciers in Greenland and arctic
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