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Lecture 22 Role of Greenhouse Gases in Climate Change

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University of Toronto St. George
Doug Thomson

Lecture 22 BIO220 Role of Greenhouse Gases in Climate change Ice age: alternated glacial, interglacial periods Long-term prediction: ice age continues, exit current interglacial in 10-50 thousand years 4 pioneers of climate prediction (developed models of climate change) • Tyndall, Arrhenius, Bjerknes, Richardson Tyndall measured how different gases absorb radiation “Greenhouse effect” of water vapor Arrhenius calculated effect of CO 2s greenhouse gas • X2 [CO ] = increase by 4°C 2 • Glacial interglacial due to CO2 • Increased coal burning = fend off next ice age Bjerknes “primitive equations” to model weather Richardson use equations to calculate numerical weather prediction ENIAC’s breakthrough prediction: 24hrs of weather in 24hrs. Weather  Climate • Can’t predict weather far in advance (chaotic nature) • Climate = statistics of weather, predictable • Assess predictive ability via backward prediction (compare to past records, “hindcasting”) Multiple models: intergovernmental panel on climate change • Different groups in various countries on o Model building o Collect data on past climates o Validation, “signatures” of causes • IPCC by UN o Avert “alarmist” projections by independent scientists o Doesn’t conduct research; provides protocols, reviews to assess which results robust, consistent and best supplemented by data
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