GEOG 205 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: 800 Words, Biome, Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation
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McGill University -- Department of Geography
GEOG 205: Global Change – Past, Present and Future
Assignment II (Due Apr 8, 5 pm)
(Total: 15 points)
In class, we examine the evidence for contemporary climatic change and discuss the General Circulation
Models (GCMs) that predict future climates likely to develop under increased atmospheric concentrations of
greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. We also examine how these changes affect both natural systems and
human activities. The purpose of this assignment is to get you to apply these principles to a specific region.
Pick one of the following regions:
a) Costa Rica
1. ESTABLISH PRESENT-DAY CONDITIONS (7 points total)
1.A) FILL IN THE ATTACHED TEMPLATE to Establish the Following Information (4 pts total).
Establish present-day conditions (2 pts). Using authoritative sources (e.g., online information, maps, atlases,
and almanacs)1, identify and describe the following:
a) Current pattern of climate, including seasonality, in your chosen region (such as mean temperature and
precipitation; either estimate rough average values, or report a range, for your region).
b) The distribution of vegetation/ecozones/biomes (list the major types)
c) Available natural resources and land-use such as agriculture, grazing, logging, etc. (list the major types)
d) Basic socio-economic variables such as population size, gross domestic product (GDP; use PPP if
available), poverty level, and distribution of wealth.
e) The economic base of the region (agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, etc.).
Use appropriate units as necessary.
Predict changes in climate (2 pts). There are maps on MyCourses, showing the global patterns of climate
change predicted by three different global climate models for the 2080-2099 time period (relative to 1980-99
period). The predictions are for the IPCC A1B “middle-of-the-road” scenario, and include January, July and
Annual-mean predictions for changes in temperature (°C) and precipitation (mm/day). The maps have
predictions of three different models: CGCM from Canada, CSIRO from Australia, and MIROC from Japan.
Using these maps, address the following questions:
a) Establish the changes in climate (temperature, precipitation) predicted to occur in your region by the
2080-2099 time period, for each of the 3 models. Calculate an approximate average for your region of
interest, or report a range of values.
b) Make a qualitative estimate (drier, wetter, negligible change) of the changes in soil moisture you might
expect from the combined changes in temperature and precipitation. Higher rainfall should make it
wetter, while higher temperatures would increase evaporation and make it drier. [Note that there may be
combinations where you cannot definitely say, without a more quantitative calculation, whether soil
moisture will increase or decrease – in such cases, just say this, and discuss why it is not possible to say]
c) For your region, how do the three models compare in terms of their predicted changes in climate?
d) Calculate the average climate change from the 3 models for your region of interest.
Use appropriate units as necessary.
1 If you use websites, only use official websites of government or research organizations. You can also consult libraries including
Hitschfeld Geographic Information Centre (GIC) on the 5th Floor of Burnside Hall. A few sources are listed on the last page of this
assignment handout, but you are welcome to use others.
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