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Lecture 8

ENV200H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Sea Level Rise, Renewable Energy, Carbon Tax


Department
School of Environment
Course Code
ENV200H1
Professor
Romila Verma
Lecture
8

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ENV200 Lecture 8
Climate Change
Earth’s Atmosphere
Earth has a very thin atmosphere
Energy from the sun comes in the form of light waves
Some of the light reflects off the surface of the Earth and back into space
Most of it is trapped by the Earth’s atmosphere and warms the planet
CO2 levels have increased by 40% since pre industrial times mainly from fossil fuels
burning
A greenhouse gas is any gas that absorbs infrared radiation
Natural events such as volcanoes and el Nino influence the climate
Volcanoes eject large amount of dust and sulphur particles which reduce the amount of
solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface
El Nino is the marked warming of the waters in eastern and central portions of the
tropical Pacific which triggers weather changes across the world
Evidence of climate change
Earth has been warming 0.6 degrees Celsius since the 19th century
Ghg levels have been rising for decades
Glaciers have lost more mass than gained
Reduced snow cover, earlier spring melting of ice
Average rate of sea level rise increased from 0.1mm - 0.2mm per year in the past 3000
years to 1mm-2mm per year
Impacts land surface (New Orleans and Miami)
Alpine glaciers retreating
Modelling Climate
GCM, general circulation models
Provide overall indications of future climates
Simulates conditions on Earth
Ocean currents
Wind, sea floors and Earth’s rotation effect the ocean currents
Global conveyor belt describes the major current flow on Earth
Rising sea temperatures are slowing this flow
Impacts of Climate Change
Agriculture
Decreasing crop yields
Human health
Severe weather (heat), greater occurrence of disease
Sea level rise
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