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154 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
anthropogenic changes
-to GHG concentration
will impact..
-sea levels
-ocean chemistry
"the earth system"
system of connected parts that work together dynamically

[all parts are connected and affect all others]
-system's always changing

3)solid earth


-humans part of earth system
cfc production banned...
by montreal protocol
positive coupling
something increases causing the other to increase
[blanket temp raises, body temp raises]

something decreases causes the other to decrease
negative coupling
something increases causing the other to decrease

something decreases causing the other to increase
[you get colder (temp decreases) so you turn up the blanket]

*interaction in ONE DIRECTION only*
positive feedback
change increases strength of influence

*interaction in both directions*

-when perturbed its unstable
negative feedback
change in state decreases strength of the influence

-when perturbed it returns to equilibrium
perturbations w negative feedback
stable to small ones

but not nec stable to large ones --- thresh hold can be exceeded
CO2 current trends compared to past trends
system no longer bounded by natural limits
radiation is
speed of light in METERS /sec
300,000,000 m/sec

(300,000 km/sec)

-around world in .14 sec
number of wave crests that pass each sec

frequency = speed of light / WL
higher frequency means....

lower frequency....
higher frequency = shorter WL = higher energy

lower frequency = longer WL = lower energy
energy flux
amt of energy striking a given area in a given amt of time

(energy flux @ poles is less bc same amt of energy strikes larger area)
solar rad @ top of atmosphere (in watts)
1366 watts / m^2
flux of energy in relation to distance
flux of energy decreases by the square of the distance from the source

(if something is 1 au away and gets 1360 watts
-something 2 au away gets 1360/4 watts)
blackbody does what to radiation?
blackbody absorbs all radiation

but to maintain equilibrium it must also emit radiation

-hotter bodies emit shorter WL's & have more energy
Stefen - Botzman law
energy emitted from blackbody varies to the 4th of its temperature

F = (o)(T^4)

-F = flux of emitted radiation in W/m^2
-T = temp on kelvin scale
-o = stefan botzman constant
(F is very sensitive to T)
sun radiates at

earth radiates at

(in K)
sun = 5800 K

earth = 290 K
Kelvin Scale
-freezing pt of water is 273 K

-0 K molecules don't move (very little energy)

-any temp above 0 K = some molecular motion & energy

(most useful concerning transfer of energy)
earth behaves nearly as a blackbody
incoming / outgoing heat fluxes generally balanced
radiation from earth in what part of spectrum?
"global / planetary albedo"
fractional reflectivity of earth system as a whole
since the earth is viewed from the sun as a disc

the solar input equation is...
S(1-a)(πr2) = IN
the solar output equation is...
(o)(T^4) = OUT
S(1-a)(πr^2) = (o)(T^4)

-we can solve for temp (on kelvin scale)

**planetary albedo is .3***

-calculated result = 255 K... but measured temp is 288K
(33* higher)
planetary albedo?
.3 (bc 30%!!)
most important GHGs
CH4 (methane)
O3 (ozone
N2O (nitrous oxide)
CFC-11 & -12 (refrigerents)
absorbtion of LW works by...
-making the molecule absorbing it rotate faster

-absorbed produces vibration & bending
"permanent gasses" in the atmosphere
O2 --- 20%

N ---- 78%

Argon ---- .9%


make up 99.9% of air
why are some GHG's more effective?
cfc-11 & -12
absorb wavelengths of 8 - 12
*where a window is!!!
(where LW would normally escape)
density formula
density = mass / volume

-increasing altitude = decreasing density of air
pressure formula
pressure = force / area

lower altitudes = higher air pressure
(due to weight of air column above)
pressure & altitude (#s!)
pressure drops by 10 for every 16 km alt
temperature decreases w height
as air cools it rises & expands bc pressure decreases w/ height
stratosphere warming
ozone peaks in stratosphere... absorbtion of radiation by ozone warms stratosphere (conteracting cooling expanding air)
>99.9% of atmosphere's mass lies below 50 km alt

water vapor v temp
warm air holds more water
(the warmer the atmosphere the more water vapor)
saturation vapor pressure
(amt of water that can be held in a volume of air)

GOES UP 5% / *C
high clouds
low clouds
-lower albedo
-lower temp
-less outgoing rad
-GH effect dominates
[net greenhouse clouds]

-higher albedo
-higher temp
-more outgoing rad
-albedo effect dominates
[net albedo clouds]
poleward transport of energy
from atmospheric & oceanic motions
-driven by gradients in heat & pressure

-hotter molecules have more energy... move faster... creating outward pressure... leads to expansion

--cooler = lower pressure

-air moves out of tropics
-tropical surface pressure declines
-air moves from high to low pressure (from poles to eq)
hadley cell
0* - 30* N & S

heating creates buoyancy (uplifted @ equator)
---convergence of air
(intertropical convergence zone [ITCZ])

cooling creates (-) buoyancy
(subsidence / sinking @ 30* N / 30* S)
-- divergence of air
differential heating leads to
gradients of pressure

(air moves from high pressure to low pressure)
coriolis effect
apparent tendancy of fluid (air / water) moving across earth's surface to be deflected from straight line path

-not a real force (apparent only when looking @ it from earth)... observer wouldn't see in space

*decreasing speed away from equator*

-deflected right in NH
-deflected left in SH

*** NO coriolis force @ equator (fluids moving E or W @ equator move in straight line -- no deflection)
surface pressure belts become cells...
in response to differential heating of land and sea & physical barriers to flow
regional climates controlled by
general wind direction

general rising / sinking of air

high pressure zones

low pressure zones
-60* N / 60* S

-30* N / 30* S
arid regions

wet regions

(in regard to pressure zones)
subsidence = ARID
-30* N & S

-60* N & S

-high pressure
-surface divergence
60* N & S

-low pressure
-surface convergence
-uplift (ascent)
extra tropics
30* N & S

-high pressure
-descending air
-surface divergence
-low rainfall (arid)

-low pressure
-uplift (ascending air)
-surface convergence
-lots of clouds & rainfall
"heat capacity"
rate of temp change as heat's added to material

(high spec heat --- h2o = small rate of temp change as heat's added... greater heat storage)
"greenhouse gasses"
gasses that warm planet's surface by absorbing outoing IR radiation (radiant heat) and reradiating some back to earth's surface
most abundant anthropogenic GHG
carbon dioxide
(burning of fossil fuels)
ozone layer
region w/i stratosphere
-protects earth's surface from sun's UV rays

(ozone hole over antartica)
we're in teh midst of a relatively short interglacial period (warm interval between glacial periods)
in absence of anthropogenic influence the planet would be destined in the next few thousand years to slip back into next ice age

-still don't know if global warming or a transition to a glacial period will win out
external influences
effecting the earth system

(ex variation in amt of sunlight in S & N hemisphere thru year)
"global warming"
an increase in earth's surface temp brought on by combo tof industiral / agricultural activites
"keeling curve"
graph shows the atmospheric co2 concentrations (at top of mauna loa bc away from pollution)

-mean CO2 concentrations have increased at higher rate every year
co2 data from ice cores
analyzes comp of air bubbles trapped in ice

-buildup of Co2 began at beginning of 19th centuray

-humans responsible for a 30% increase in atmospheric co2 concentration over past 2 centuries
1940 - 1970 cooling trend?
could have been caused by increased albedo by aerosol particals
acid rain
produced when various acids (inc sulfuric acid formed from oxidation of SO2
dissolve in rainwater
sea level has already risen...
prob from "thermal expansion"
-warming ocean expands when heated
-where most of earth's ozone's located
---absorbs many of sun's UV rays


-ozone hole over antartica (prob due to CFCs)
geologic time divided into
Eons - eras - periods - epochs
Vostok Ice Core
provides info about change in temp

-time period core spans is well beyond last ice age

-shows glacial - interglacial periods

--shows CO2 & CH4 concentrations increased during interglaiial periods (with temp corresponding to the change)
K-T boundary
stands for transition between cretaceous and tertiary period

-dinosaurs disappeared @ this boundary

-layer of clay found @ boundary
-time req to acc that much iridium in the clay
had to have come from a large asteroid or comet
Gaia Hypothesis
"life is a self-regulating system in which biota play an integral role"

life has been rejsonsible for maintaining the stability of earth's climate

thru photosynthesis biota could have lowered atmospheric co2 at the right rate to counteract the gradual increase in solar luminosity (which increases as sun depletes its H fuel.
components of a system are linked allowing for flow of info from one component to the next

(-) coupling shown by
feedback loops
a self perpetuating mechanism of change and a response to that change

(-) = diminish effects of disturbances

(+) = amplifies effects of disturbances
"equilibrium state"
it will not change unless system is disturbed

-created by negative feedback loop

-stable --[bottom of valley]

-small disturbance will be followed by system responses that will return system to equilibrium

(an unstable equilibrium state = the slightest disturbance from comfortable state => system adjustments that cary system further and further from that state)
-top of hill
there are limits to the stability of stable equilibrium states
after a large disturbance system can be pushed to a different equilibrium state
unstable equilibrium has no region of stability
-if system is disturbed slightly then it pushes the state of the system toward a new STABLE equilibrium (if one exists)

[unlikely for a given system to remain at unstable equilibrium state for long]
a system with a single (+) or (-) feedback loop....
if NEGATIVE Feedback loop::
-system has a stable equilibrium

if POSITIVE feedback loop:
-has an unstable equilibrium
temporary disturbance of a system

(ex SO2 going into atmosphere from volcanic eruptions
-forms aerosol particals that prevent small amt of sunlight from reaching surface - temp drops a bit
-climate system recovers several yrs later as sulfur naturally removed from atmosphere)
more persisten disturbance of a system

(ex the gradual increase in amt of sunlight earth's been receiving over billions of yrs
-system response = countering by decrease in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, reducing greenhouse effect - thus cooling surface)
earth system's response to forcings

-daisyworld ex
(by gaia hypo originators)
daisies pure white - get nutrients from soil
-atmosphere has no clouds or GHG's

-daisies cover regions, rest is gray soil
--amt of sunlight absorbed by planet depends on area of soil relative to lighter daisies

-growth and spread of daisies across surface only depends on temp around them

-the more daisies - the more sunlight reflected - the cooler the surface temp

(-) coupling of daisies to temp... increase in coverage = decrease in temp ... decrease in coverage = increase in temp

(+) coupling
-also decreased coverage = lower albedo
-increased coverage = higher albedo

=== coupling of daisies & temp = combo of (+)&(-) couplings

--decreased coverage = reduction in albedo (+) = increase in temp (-)
----still forms (-) coupling overall

-if temp is below optimum daisy temp (+) coupling
-if temp is above optimum value (-) coupling

-neither equilibrium state corresponds w optimum temp

-at temps below optimum = (-) feedback maintain temp and coverage near stable equil state

-if temps above optimum - system (+) feedback w/o stable equil state.

-warming of planets surface
-spread of daisies
-increasing albedo reduces warming
-new equilibrium state acheived eventually at temp warmer than original
overall temp change of daisy world eq
total temp change (at new equil) =
temp w/o feedback
temp of feedback effect itself
"feedback factor"
(f) - ratio of equilibrium rejsponse to forcing (response w/ the feedback)
the response w/o feedback

(equil temp) / (temp change w/o feedback)

0 < f < 1 when feedback loop is (-)

f > 1 when feedback loop is (+)
daisy world simplified
-early years = temp increases rapidly

-once temp above minimum temp for daisy survival
daisies begin to spread accross globe
-growth cools planet by increasing albedo
-rate of warming slows dramatically

--daisy coverage expands rapidly @ first then more slowly (in response to smaller increases in temp)
climate systems
-not passive w/ regard to internal / external influence

-feedback loops in systems that respond to perturbations and forcings

-self regulation common to many natural systems w feedback loops
Earth Suitable for life bc
-distance from sun
---temp just right
Earth Suitable for life bc
-distance from sun
---temp just right
sun emits
visible light
earth emits
IR radiation
sun emits
50% of energy in form of visible light
electromagnetic radiation
self propageting electric / magnetic wave
similar to a wave on surface of a pond
single "particle" or pulse of electromagnetic radiation

-smallest independent amt of energy that can be transported by an electromagnetic wave of a given frequency.
photon energy formula
E = (h)(v) = (hc) / wavelength

E = energy of a photon
h = Planck's constant
v = frequency
c = speed of light constant
high energy photons
can break molecules aprt and cause chemical reactions to occur

low energy photons cause molecules to rotate faster / vibrate more strongly
electromagnetic spectrum
the full range of forms of electromagnetic radiation that differ in wavelength
visible spectrum
400nm - 700 nm

longest = red
shortest = blue

(spectrum means light's been seperated into diff wavelengths)
IR radiation
wavelengths >700nm
[ranges from .7 micrometers - 1000 micrometers]

-40% sun's energy emitted as IR

longer than visible light soo kept track of in micrometers (no longer nanometers)

LONGER -- microwaves --- radio waves
UV radiation
wavelengths 10nm - 400nm

-10% energy from sun

-would be lethal to life if it were not almost totally blocked by ozone in atmosphere

SHORTER --- gamma rays --- x rays
"flux" (F)
amt of energy or material that passes thru a given area (perp to flow) / unit volume

-flux is amt of energy in an electromagnetic wave that passes perpendicularly thru a unit surface area / unit time
"inverse-square law"
the rate at which solar flux decreases w increasing distance

S = S0 (r0/r)^2

S = solar flux
r = distance from source
S0 = flux at a reference distance (r0)

if you double the distance from the source the intensity decreases by a factor of 2
(or if you decrease distance from source by factor of 3, radiation intensity increases by factor of 3^2 = 9)
importance of inverse square law
shows us quantitatively why earth's climate differs from venus and mars

-helps explain glacial / interglacial periods in history
measure of the internal heat energy of a substance
heat energy
determined by avg rate of motion of ind molecules in that substance

-faster molecules move = higher the temp
pressure related to h2o's boiling point?
water boils when vapor pressure exceeds overlying atmospheric pressure...
...boiling pt decreases w altitude
convert temps between *C & *F
*C = (*F - 32) / 1.8

*F = (*C)(1.8) + 32
converting *C to K
K = *C + 273.15
Kelvin Scale
deals with "absolute temperature"
-defined in terms of the heat energy of a substance relative to the energy it would have @ a temp of absolute zero.

-@ absolute 0 molecules of substance are in their lowest possible state

absolute 0 = 0 K = -273.15 *C
something that emits / absorbs electromagnetic radiation w/ 100% efficiency @ all wavelengths
blackbody radiation
the radiation emitted by a blackbody

-has a characteristic WL distribution that depends on body's absolute temp
"Wien's Law"
the flux of radiation emitted by a blackbody reaches its peak value at (WLmax),
which depends inversely on body's absolute temp.

(WLmax) = ~ 2898 / T

(T = temp in K
WLmax = WL of max radiation in micrometers)

hotter bodies emit radiation at shorter WL than colder bodies

-explains why sun's radiation peaks in the visible part of electromagnetic spectrum & wy earth radiates @ IR wl's.
the sun emits most of its energy , including visible rad, from THIS SURFACE LAYER!
Stefan-Boltzmann Law
states that the energy flux emitted by a blackbody is related to the 4th power of the body's absolute temp.

F = o(T^4)

tells the amt of energy released / unit area / unit time

earth's slight imbalance of energy flux
climate is getting warmer bc earth's energy budget is slightly off balance.
the flux of incoming solar exceeds the outgoing IR

could be caused by CO2 increase or by natural fluctuations w/i the climate system
Earth's surface temp depends on:
1)solar flux reaching outerspace boundary

2)earth's albedo

3)amt of warming provided by the atmosphere (ie GH effect)
avg planetary albedo


calculate magnitude of GH effect
consider earth as a blackbody (even tho not exactly)

T = effective radiating temp of the planet (the temp a true blackbody would need to radiate same amt of energy earth radiates)

o(T^4) = (S/4)(1-a)
[incoming = outgoing]

-this gives us the avg temp earth would be if it had no atmosphere
--earth's actual surface temp - effective radiating temp = the difference the GH effect causes
-----> 15*C - (-18*C) = 33*C
water vapor
2 of the most important atmospheric gasses
even tho in little amts
-directly used by organisms
-strong GHGs

(methane nitrous oxide, ozone & freons are trace gasses)
10 - 15 km

temp decreases rapidly w altitude

-where most weather occurs
-well mixed by convection (process in which heat energy is transported by motions of fluid)---
---half of incoming sunlight absorbed by surface---energy reradiated back as IR but can't go directly from surface in this form bc IR rad is absorbed by gasess.. --energy is transported by fluid motions until it reaches altitude where atmosphere is more transparent to IR rad--->THEN heat energy radiates away from earth
15-50 km (right above troposphere)

-temp INCREASES w altitude

-pressure lower than troposphere
-contains most of earth's ozone
-very dry
--clouds absent
-not convective... air less well mixed than troposphere
GHGs can absorb / emit IR radiation in 2 ways:
1) by changing rate @ which molecules rotate
-molecules can only rotate @ descrete frequencies
-if wave has just the right frequency the molecule can absorb the photon ----> molecule's rotation rate increases
(rotation rate slows when molecule emits photon)

2)changing the amplitude w which they vibrate
-co2 can vibrate in 3 ways
---one of which is the bending mode
-this bending mode has a freq that allows the molecule to absorb IR rad at a WL of 15 micrometers
["15-micrometer CO2 band"]
frequency of radiation that can be absorbed / emitted by a molecule depends on its STRUCTURE
in h2o's spec structure vapor can absorb all IR radiation longer than 12 micrometers ("h2o rotation band")
15-micrometer CO2 band
overlaps the H2O rotation band

-occurs near peak of earth's outgoing rad
--surface emits strongly in this WL region... little is able to escape directly bc absorbed by CO2 (why CO2 is important GHG)

(trace gas)
-have absorbtion bands of 8 - 12 micrometers

(where both H2O & CO2 are poor absorbers!!!!)

-thus, one molecule of freon contributes much more to GH effect than one CO2 molecule

(trace gas)
absorption band at 9.6 micrometers

also where CO2 O2 are poor absorbers

= "good" GHG as well
O2 & N2 are poor absorbers of IR rad

-don't contribute significantly to GH effect
O2 & N2 molecules are perfectly symmetric

(bc both atoms are identical in each)

---->no seperation of (+) & (-) electric charges w/i the molecule

-an electromagnetic wave (which consists of oscillating electric / magnetic fields)
---- these fields cannot interact w a symmetric molecule
-radiation passes by molecule w/o being absorbed
day v night
-cool earth by reflecting incoming rad (earth's albedo of .3 would drop to .1 without clouds)

-clouds also absorb and re emit outgoing IR rad from surface .... keeps cloudy nights warm
low v high
LOW (Stratus Clouds):
cool surface
-reflect incoming rad
*gray lowlevel h2o clouds*

-warm surface
-contribute more to GH efffect than to albedo
-colder bc higher in troposphere
~ 1/2 energy absorbed by surface goes directly into evaporating water
Latent HEat:)
water vapor feedback
unlike CO2, water vapor is typically clost to its condensation pt (the temp at which it will form a liquid)

-if earth's temp decreased, vapor would precipitate out, leaving less in the atmosphere
--this would cause decease in GH effect
----lowering surface temp further

*an INCREASE in surface temp
-cause increase in rate at which water vapor evaporated
-increasing concentration of vapor in atmosphere
-increasing GH effect
-warming earth more

*WATER VAPOR & EARTH'S TEMP IS A (+) FEEDBACK LOOP that tends to amplify @ small temp perturbations
(has a feedback factor of 2)
snow / ice albedo feedback
-as climate cools
-snow / ice increase
-permanent ice caps expand toward equator
-results in glaciation period
-higher albedo
-further decreases surface temnp

(+)feedback loop that amplifies changes in earth's surface temp
IR flux / temp feedback
very strong (-)feedback loop
(counters the previous (+)'s)

-if temp increases
-outgoing IR from top of atmosphere would increase
-if outoing IR increases, surface temp would decrease bc more energy would be lost from earth's system

--this feedback loop can break down if atmosphere contains large amts of water vapor
main contributor to earth's albedo?
how are troposphere & stratosphere defined?
defined by "inflection points" (max & min) of the vertical temp profile

-stratosphere = temp increases w/ alt
--above stratosphere = mesosphere where temp decreases w altitude
---above mesosphere = thermosphere where temp inc w alt again
3 mechanisms by which heat's transferred

2)conduction [not imporatant in earth's energy budget]

2 ways gasses can absorb IR radiation (simply stated)
1)changing the rate the molecule rotates
-absorbs photon = rotation rate increases
[H2o pure rotation band]

2)changing the amplitude by which the molecule vibrates
-absorb photon = vibrate more vigorously
[co2 15micrometer band]
the 2 (+) feedback loops in earth's climate system??

-why's earth still stable?
1(+) = water vapor feedback

2(+) = snow / ice albedo feedback

[both respond to small temp perturbations]

-earth is stable bc of its (-) feedback loop!
----between surface temp and flux of outgoing rad
earth's circulatory "subsystems"
work to maintain the planet in themal & chemical balance

-gases & nutrients transported thru earth sytem

-all subsystems act to regulate global temp
(winds / ocean currents redistribute energy and solid earth redistributes carbon
earth's circulatory subsystems rely on different pumps to drive a different circulatory mechanism
-SHORT time scale
-responsible for movements of air
-SUN = energy source that drive pump

-LONGER time scales
-SUN = energy source

-LONGEST time scale
-causes movements of continents
the tendency of an object to float in a fluid

controlled by differences in density (the mass w/i given volume)
vertical movement of air
moves vertically when forced to rise mechanically (mtns)

or bc changes in buoyancy

-temp increases = pressure increases ==== (same mass in greater volume so DENSIRY DECREASES)
-air less dense than surrounding air now so -- + buoyant and rises

-rises until acheives a neutral buoyancy, balanced w surrounding air

-if air is more dense than surrounding = - buoyance = sinks
horizontal movement of air
if 2 adjacent columns of air are diff in temp the cooler one has greater density than the warmer column
-air moves from high density cool air to region of low density warm air
[moves down the "density gradient"]
2 reasons why air moves
1) aire moves from high pressure to low pressure until 2 pressures are equalized
(pressure differences usually due to temp differences)

2)if air mass is heated until density is lower than surroundings,
the lower density air will rise
if air mass is cooled until density is higher than underlying air it will sink
most important control on temp?
the gradiant in absorbed solar energy
"net radiation"
difference between incoming solar rad and outgoing terrestrial rad

energy absorbed > energy emitted [+ net radiation]

energy absorbed < energy emitted
[- net radiation]
Hadley Circulation
convergence @ tropics and divergence / subsidence at 30*

-results directly from surface heating in tropical oceans
(releases latent heat)
"polar front zone"
@ 60* N & S

-cold air from poles meets warm air from subtropics

--creates steep temp gradiant
coriolis effect
applies to any object moving on a rotating body

NH = any mass moving N is deflected right

SH = any mass moving S is deflected left

NH == E moving wind, the horizontal component is to the S (right)
-==W moving wind = horizontal component is N (left)

coriolis effect increases as speed of obj increases (coriolis effect 0 @ equator and increases w/ lat)
solar energy variation w seasons
the tilt / obliquity of earth (23.5*)

-greatest heating occurs when sun is directly over the equator (equinoxes)

-in summer temperature gradient strenghth is reduced.... lower strength of atmospheric circulation
-winter = strongest temp gradiant from pole to equator

ITCZ max N location late in NH summer

ITCZ max S location late in NH's winter (SH's summer)
"global circulatory system"

-driving force = global distribution of energy
-incoming solar rad decreases w lat
====> equator - pole temp gradiant
==>drives atmospheric circulation bc of temp / density relationship (high temps = lower densities)

===>differences in temp = differences in density = differences in pressure
====>air moves from high to low pressure
=produces global windbelts
why does hadley cell vary seasonally?
bc distribution of solar energy varies seasonally

(moves northward in NH summer
and southward in SH summer)
coriolis force's effect on winds
causes the EAST or WEST movement of surface winds
least affected by seasons? (tilt)
the tropics / equator

bc tilt isn't extreme enough to significantly reduce solar rad at equator
how to identify the "sign" of a feedback loop?
(-) feedback loops
have an odd number of negative couplings
unstable equilibrium?

stable equilibrium?

how are global windbelts produced?
large scale movements of air from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure
saturation vapor pressure
amt of water that can be held by quantity of air

GOES UP 5% / *C

(warmer = more water vapor)
the 2 opposing cloud effects:
net greenhouse clouds
(+) feedback

net albedo clouds
(-) feedback