For this topic, you will visit a series of Web sites.
1. Evidence of climate change
- You will start by looking at data of changes in global temperatures.
- Most of the data you will look at was collected from many sources and
summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sponsored
by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization.
- We might expect to see an increase in temperatures at weather stations,
because they have become more urbanized with more heat-absorbing concrete.
To rule this out as a source of error in the data, scientists compare urban
temperatures with nearby rural temperatures, and adjust the urban temperature
downward to correct for the effect of the concrete.
of global temperatures since 1880: the colors show variation from
the average temperature at that spot. When an area is blue, it is cooler
than the average temperature for that area; yellow to red colors show
warmer than average.
change measured by satellites avoids the urbanization problem.
2. What causes climate change?
- Global temperatures tend to track CO2 levels. This
data was derived from Antarctic ice cores. The CO2 is from trapped air
bubbles in the ice. The air temperature of the time is determined by the
ration of oxygen isotopes in the trapped air. Notice that the temperature
(blue) and CO2(red) rise and fall together.
- How long ago were global temperatures as warm as they are today?
- How high are CO2 levels today compared with the past 400,000 years?
- OK, so the data shows in the past that CO2 and temperature are related.
But maybe any temperature change is just due to natural variations in CO2.
Scientists have determined how much of the CO2 is due to human activity
(anthropogenic) and how much is natural, then compared the actual increase
in temperature to the amount of temperature increase we would expect from
just natural sources, just human sources, and the two combined. Here
are the results.
3. Impacts of global warming
Summarize each Web site in
a sentence or two
- WARNING: this takes a little while to load. Here's
the big one.This is is the Policymakers' Summary of the most recent report
by the IPCC on the impacts of climate change. We are specifically using p.
11-18, but you might want to look at the highlighted conclusions on the other
Each person should read the two sections in this report shown below
(find your last initial to get your assignment) and be prepared to report to
the class. Feel free to read other sections if you wish. EVERYONE should do
the last assignment in the list.
Last Name A-D: Freshwater resources (p. 11) & Africa (p. 13)
Last Name G-I: Ecosystems (p. 11) & Asia (p. 13)
Last Name J-N: Food, fibre and forest (p. 11) & Australia/NZ (p. 13)
Last Name O-R: Coastal systems (p. 12) & Europe (p. 14)
Last Name S-V: Industry, settlement and society (p. 12) & Latin America
Last Name W-Z: Health (p. 12) & North America (p. 14)
Everyone: Polar Regions & Small Islands (p. 15), and
the diagrams on p.16 and 18.
4. The future
5. Now write a little summary:
- What are the major impacts?