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46 Cards in this Set

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1. List the four major components of the dry atmosphere and give the % concentration of the two major components.
Nitrogen (78%)
Oxygen (21%)
Argon
Carbon Dioxide
2. Describe and give a reasonable explanation for the variance in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 150 years.
Levels of carbon dioxide have increased from 280 ppm in preindustrial times to about 370 ppm now and predictions are that these concentrations will continue to rise due to human activities, the most important of which is fossil fuel combustion.
3. Describe the changing global average temperature trend over the past 150 years.
Annual global surface temps warmed by 0.57ºC over the period 1861-1997 and by 0.62ºC over 1901-1997.

Over both periods, the warming was slightly greater in the S. Hemisphere than the N. Hemisphere.

The warmest years of the record all occur in the 1990s. The four warmest years, in descending order, are 1998, 1997, 1995, and 1990.

The average global temperature is 14.0ºC (14.6ºC in the N. Hemisphere and 13.4ºC in the S. Hemisphere).
6. List three sources and two major sinks for CO2.
Sources:
i. Fossil fuel combustion and Deforestation (98%)

ii. By-products of cement production (2%)

iii. Plants and Animals

iv. Carbonate rocks and Carbonated spring waters

v. Volcanoes

Sinks:
i. Plants (terrestrial and marine)

ii. Ocean
7. The current CO2 level is
over 380 ppm
9. What are two methods which particulate matter may leave the atmosphere?
Washed out with rain (only in the Troposphere)

Fall to the Earth due to gravity
10. What are the different concerns about particulate matter in the stratosphere versus the troposphere?
It does not rain in the stratosphere and so if this area is polluted, there is not way to clean it up (i.e. rain).
11. In theory, what will happen in a “Nuclear Winter” and why?
Earth will undergo severely cold weather due to the emission of extensive clouds of smoke and soot into the Earth’s stratosphere.
13. Explain how the “water vapor barrier” (tropopause) functions and its significance.
The cold temperature of the tropopause helps to act as a water vapor baririer (-56 degrees C).
14. What is the ionosphere?
Includes the Mesosphere and Thermosphere and contains ionic species (such as N2, O, and NO)
15. Why does the altitude of the ionosphere different during the day and night? How does this effect the transmission of radio waves?
The ionosphere is thicker when the sun is facing it but thinner when the sun is away. This effects the transmission of radio waves because if they hit the ionosphere where the sun is shining, then they will hit the ionosphere quicker (since it’s thicker) and when they reflect back, they will end up redirecting somewhere else.
16. List the three important roles (functions) of the atmosphere
Supplies important gases

Essential part of the water cycle (hydrologic cycle)

Serves as a protective shield by absorbing and transferring harmful radiation from the sun away from Earth
17. List three ways in which energy is transferred in the Atmosphere and define each.
Convection: mass of particles with high energy move from one place in the atmosphere to another leading to heat transfer (particle move)

Conduction: a particle with lots of energy bump into particles with less energy and causes the transference of energy (from one particle to another)

Radiation: emission of energy via electromagnetic waves; can move through the atmosphere and energy can be transferred (doesn’t involve particles)
18. List five examples of Greenhouse gases
CO2, CFCs, CH4, O3, and N2O
19. In which layer of the atmosphere may green house gases have an effect on the earth’s average temperature?
Thermosphere
20. What is meant by the term “window” when discussing “radiation cooling
Windows occur in the Earth’s atmosphere when electromagnetic energy is not absorbed at certain wavelengths (ex: 4mm, 8-9mm, and 10-13mm).
21. Which Greenhouse gas would have the greatest effect on the earth’s average temperature if each doubled in concentration?
Methane
22. If not for Greenhouse gases, what would be the average temperature of the earth’s surface?
-18ºC
23. How do Greenhouse gases function to hold heat in the troposphere?
Greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the Earth and then pass the energy to another greenhouse molecule. They keep doing this and end up “trapping” this heat within the Earth’s troposphere instead of allowing it to release into the space.
24. Define Albedo and give approximant values for snow, clouds, grass, and oceans.
Albedo is the percentage of incoming solar radiation that is reflected back into outer space.
Snow = 90%
Clouds = 70%
Grass = 10 – 20%
Oceans = 5 – 10%
30. What percentage of incoming solar radiation is reflected by the earth’s surface?
4%
29. What percentage of incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the earth’s surface
51%
28. What percentage of incoming solar radiation reaches the earth’s surface?
55%
31. What is the average albedo of the earth’s surface? Why is this number different from the answer to the prior question? (hint: “% of incoming solar radiation reflected by the earth’s surface” versus “% of solar radiation that reaches the earth’s surface that is reflected by the earth’s surface”)
The average albedo of the Earth is about 30%  higher than the oceans due to the contribution of clouds.
32. What happens to the energy absorbed by the earth’s surface?
All of this energy is re-emitted as long wave (infrared) radiation into the atmosphere, mainly through direct radiation but also through thermal air currents, evaporative heat loss, and other means. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere capture long-wave radiation but also re-emit it back to the surface. Eventually, all of the energy absorbed by the surface and atmosphere is emitted back into space as long-wave radiation.
33. Explain the three orbital variations that are the basis for the Milankovitch Theory. Does historical data support this theory? Explain.
Eccentricity: shape of Earth’s orbital around the Sun

causes changes in the length of seasons. The current eccentricity of Earth’s orbit is about 0.017.

Obliquity: angle between Earth’s axis and its orbital plane

causes changes in the difference in seasonal climates (ex: higher obliquity = dramatic change in temperature between summer and winter). Current obliquity is 23.44° where the normal range is between 22.1° and 24.5°.

Precession: direction of Earth’s axis of rotation
causes changes in the difference between seasonal climates in one hemisphere and a decrease in the other. Presently, the Southern Hemisphere has more dramatic climate changes than the Northern.

Historical data does support this theory and so there is a strong correlation between the two but there are some deviations that simply cannot be explained the model. So although geological data does match the predictions from Milankovitch’s Theory, the current prediction says that the Earth should be cooling down but it is not.
34. What was the purpose of the Kyoto Protocol? Explain in as much detail as possible.
Amendment to the International Treaty on Climate Change

Assigned mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of Greenhouse Gases

Gases include: CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and Sulfur hexafluoride

Why? Bring levels down so there is no Anthropogenic Climate System Interference

December 2006 = 169 countries signed on

Exceptions = USA and Australia

India and China have signed but enforcement is lacking
35. Pick one theory for global warming and be prepared to explain why this theory is best supported by all the scientific and historical data and why the other theories do not match up.
Global Warming = Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Depletion of Protective Ozone

The rate of temperature increase since 1976 has been over 0.15°C/decade.

Elevated levels of Greenhouse Gases trap infrared radiation from Earth and keep it trapped in the Troposphere.

Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen by 31% since before industrial times.

The importance of the ozone layer, located in the lower level of the stratosphere, is to absorb harmful UV radiation. Human-made chemicals, such as CFCs, have been tied to the destruction of stratospheric ozone. It is believed that this depletion allows more of the Sun’s radiation to penetrate to the Earth’s surface and elevating the mean temperature.
38. What is the Chapman cycle?
Cycle whereby ozone is produced in the upper atmosphere by photolytic decomposition (photodissociation) and is also destroyed photolytically.
39. List five chemical species that are known to be involved in the catalytic destruction of ozone. What structure feature do these five species have in common?
 CFC-11
 CFC-12
 CFC-22
 HFC-134
 HCFC-123
 These five species undergo homolytic bond cleavage when UV light is used and we form a Chlorine Radical which destroys Ozone
42. Give the two factors that make the depletion of ozone worse over the Antarctic than any other place on the globe.
 The Polar Vortex: strong cyclonic “whirlpool” with winds upwards of 100m/s

Extremely Cold Temps: lower than -86ºC
43. What are PSCs? What temperatures are required for their formation? What is their chemical composition? How do they contribute to the depletion of ozone in the Antarctic Spring?
PSCs = Polar Stratospheric Clouds = condensed material (w/o water) that form at very low temperatures in very dry air at altitudes b/w 10-25 km

Contain ice crystals composed of Nitric Acid Trihydrate (NAT) that is nucleated by frozen Sulfuric Acid Tetrahydrate (SAT)

Provide a surface for Ozone Depletion Reactions
44. What is meant by term “denitrification”?
The NO2 can react with the active Cl•, preventing extensive ozone depletion. However, if sedimentation of the PSC ice crystals take place (denitrification), the HNO3 is removed from the atmosphere and is no longer able to be a part of this process.
46. What is the name of the agreement that seeks to control the production and use of ozone depleting substances which currently has been signed by 175 nations?
The Montreal Protocol
47. Where does stratospheric water come from?
Reaction of hydroxy radical with alkanes
(primarily methane) CH4 + Hydroxy Radical  Alkyl Radical + H2O
48. Define “reducing smog”.
Reducing smog is also called Old Day Smog and it is a mixture of smoke and fog. This smog contains SO2 and that is why we call it reducing smog, because the SO2 acts like a reducing agent because it wants to be oxidized.
49. Define “oxidizing or photochemical smog”.
This is Oxidizing Smog or Current Day Smog and it contains visibility-obscuring particulate matter, oxidants (ex: ozone), and noxious organic species (ex: aldehydes).
56. Does the number of volcanic eruptions correlate to changes in the average global temperature?
Data recorded from 1960s show that the number of confirmed erupting volcanoes has leveled off between 50 and 70 per year through the past 4 decades, and a linear regression line through the data indicates the volcanism has been virtually constant. According to the data, we see that volcanic eruptions don’t actually increase the temperature of the Earth. In fact, the release of ash and the release of heat from within the Earth would actually have an effect quite similar to nuclear winter (cooling).
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment.
PAN:

i. Eye and Respiratory Irritant

ii. Phytotoxic: High toxicity to Plants

iii. Damaging to Proteins
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment.
Ozone:

i. Respiratory and Eye Irritant

ii. Retards Plant Growth – Oxidizes them

iii. Damages Plastics and Breaks down Rubber

iv. Harsh Odor
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds

i. Eye and Respiratory Irritant

ii. Decreased visibility (due to blue-brown haze)

iii. Carcinogenic (some)
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
NO and NO2

i. NO2 contributes to lung and heart problems

ii. NO2 can suppress plant growth

iii. Decreased visibility (due to yellow NO2)

iv. Decreased resistance to infection

v. May encourage the spread of cancer
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
Aldehydes and Highly Reactive Radicals
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds

i. Eye and Respiratory Irritant

ii. Decreased visibility (due to blue-brown haze)

iii. Carcinogenic (some)
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
NO and NO2

i. NO2 contributes to lung and heart problems

ii. NO2 can suppress plant growth

iii. Decreased visibility (due to yellow NO2)

iv. Decreased resistance to infection

v. May encourage the spread of cancer
major components of photochemical smog and their negative effects on humans and our environment
Aldehydes and Highly Reactive Radicals