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Chapter 5

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Geography 2153A/B
Jamie Baxter

CHAPTER 5: OUR CHANGING ATMOSPHERE EARTH’S NATURAL CLIMATE SYSTEM THE GLOBAL CLIMATE SYSTEM -the atmosphere insulates the Earth’s surface from the loss of heat to space through a process popularly known as the greenhouse effect -stratosphere is heated from the top down -troposphere is heated from the bottom up -when solar radiation from the sun reaches the Earth’s surface, it degrades into infrared radiation and then interacts with greenhouse gases in the troposphere -then even longer wave-length infrared radiation that results from this interaction interacts with the air molecules and increases their kinetic energy, warming both the troposphere and the surface of the Earth -when all factors remain constant, when greenhouse gas concentrations change, temperatures at Earth’s surface also change ENHANCED GREENHOUSE EFFECT -primary sources of carbon dioxide include the combustion of fossil fuels for energy and the clearing of forests for agriculture and other uses -sources of methane and nitrous oxide include biological processes associated with agriculture and various industrial sources -major source of the increased concentrati
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