5.2 The Greenhouse Effect
Here is the Earth – from the International Space Station. Go full screen and HD. This is what we need to look after and you can clearly see the light reflecting and refracting through the atmosphere.
(Includes some slides from G3 Human Impacts, related to Ozone Layer)
“How we know global warming is real,” from Skeptic.com
The Carbon Cycle:
Global carbon cycle tutorial from FreemanLifewire
Narrated tutorial from Sumanas
The Natural Greenhouse Effect:
Animated tutorial from Damocles.
Climate change and the enhanced greenhouse effect:
Try this PhET Lab simulation: The Greenhouse Effect (allow Java to run)
The NASA Climate Change Resource Reel has loads of video and animation clips which download as .mpg files when you click on them.
Good Climate Change teaching resources from Cutting Edge
The Ultimate Climate Change FAQ from the Guardian
Warming over the last 130 years, by NASA
The Effect of Global Warming on Arctic Ecosystems
Perhaps more than anywhere else on the planet, the effects of rising temperatures are obvious and observable in the Arctic. From sea-ice decline to shifting niches and threats to biodiversity, the future looks bleak at the north pole.
A neat article with a very good infographic, from Nature: Redrawing the Arctic Map.
Threats to the Arctic, from the WWF, and a nice summary of the effects of global warming on the Arctic, from CIEL. the Guardian also has an article on the disappearing world of the last of the arctic hunters.
Measuring Current CO2 levels
Current atmospheric CO2 is measured by hundreds of field stations around the globe, inputting data into the NOAA databases.
Use these CO2 data to plot trends and annual cycles with a spreadsheet.
Check out CO2Now to see graphics of the most recent data and trends.
This video clip from NOAA has seasonal sources and sinks of CO2:
Measuring Historical CO2 levels
In this TED Global 2010 talk, Lee Hotz describes the work of researchers in the Antarctic, studying the history of our planet’s climate, through drilling ice-cores that go back in thousands of years.
“Each cylinder is a parfait of time”
Why did the researchers choose this location? What are their aims? How do they collect data?
This resource from Allianz(?) outlines how ice-core data is collected and analysed
300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds, from the Post Carbon Institute
Where are we now? In a time of need for resilience and inventive solutions. Click here for excerpts from their post-carbon reader.
Ocean acidification – the other CO2 problem:
Here’s another TED Talk from Rob Dunbar, on the Mission Blue Voyage, about the dangers of ocean acidification and how we are discovering ancient climates in the oceans and ice:
Topic link: how does ocean acidification link to the chemistry of life unit?
The Precautionary Principle
“The theory that an action should be taken when a problem or threat occurs, not after harm has been inflicted; an approach to decision- making in risk management which justifies preventive measures or policies despite scientific uncertainty about whether detrimental effects will occur“. From Dictionary.com.
Caroline Raffensperger explains the rationale behind the precautionary principle:
And another neat explainer here:
Find out more from pprinciple.net.
So they key issue is this: we suspect that human activity leads to climate change. We are still collecting data to support (or refute) this hypothesis, and the evidence is growing stronger and stronger that anthropogenic climate destabilisation is true. In the meantime, should we wait for more evidence before taking action or should we take preventative and remedial measures now, in order to get a ‘head start’?
Here’s a nice explanation of the ‘debate’:
Finally, a concise article on Why the Global Warming Skeptics are wrong, from the New York Review of Books.
Key terms: carbon, cycle, dioxide, climate, global, warming, greenhouse, precautionary principle, arctic, ice, habitats, niches, radiation,
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