Climate Change RevisionGuide Jle Amended | Climate Change | Greenhouse Gas

Question (2 marks) – Describe one natural cause of past climate change

CLIMATE CHANGE

Question (4 marks) For a named developing country, explain why climate change is likely to have a large impact on its people.

Question (2 marks)- Describe one impact of past climate change on humans

Our climate has changed naturally in the past alternating between warmer and colder periods. (E.g. the little ice age) these can last a few hundred years to millions of years! The graph below shows changes to the earth’s climate over the last 10,000 years! These past changes in climate came about naturally and weren’t caused by humans – there are three main causes of past climate change; The eruption theory, The orbital theory and The Sunspot theory. Natural ways that climate can change: The Eruption Theory- Large explosive volcanic eruptions give off huge amounts of ash and sulphur dioxide gas. The ash and sulphur dioxide rise into the earths stratosphere and are spread by high level winds. The layer of ash and gas block out sunlight reflecting it back to space and reducing the planets temperature causing global cooling. The Sunspot Theory- Sunspots are black areas on the surface of the sun which show that the sun is more active than normal. The more spots present the more active the sun is and therefore the more heat that is given off causing temperatures to increase the less spots present the less active meaning temperatures will decrease. The Orbital Theory- Over long periods of time the earth’s orbit of the sun changes from a circular shape to a oval shape the closer the earth is to the sun during these cycles of orbit the hotter the planet is. The earth’s axis also tilts and wobbles which affects how much sunlight the earth receives and where it falls on the earth’s surface. The effect of past climate on people and ecosystems- When the climate has changed in the past it has had huge impacts on humans, plants and animals. For example: The Little Ice Age- Was a period of cold and wet weather in Europe from the early 1300s until the 1800s. It meant crops such as wheat and oat did not ripen and harvests continually failed resulting in the ‘Great Famine’ which killed lots of people through starvation. Vikings living on Greenland were also killed from the little ice age as seas froze over stopping trade, less food was grown and fewer animals survived winters meaning starvation as their food ran out.

The earth’s climate today appears to be changing as a result of human activity- this is called the enhanced greenhouse effect. Scientists argue that as greenhouse gas emissions have risen in the past couple of hundred years e.g. carbon dioxide (CO₂) the layer of gases has thickened meaning more of the sun’s radiation is trapped instead of reflecting back to space increasing temperatures . The amount of greenhouse gases such as CO₂, methane, nitrous oxide and halocarbons in the atmosphere have risen due to a variety of activities including: transport (more cars and aeroplanes), burning fossil fuels mainly to produce electricity, industry and factories and deforestation.

CO₂ emissions have risen rapidly since the 1900s as countries such as the UK began industrialising

Who causes the most emissions of greenhouse gases? As you can see from the pie chart above China and the USA are the largest contributors to C0₂ emissions. The developed (UK and rest of Europe) and large developing countries (NIC’s) such as India contribute the most to CO₂ emissions compared to the less developed countries. (e.g. countries in Africa) This is can be for a variety of reasons such as more cars and transport, more electricity used, more factories large industries as well as large populations. This enhanced greenhouse effect has caused global warming and temperatures rose by 0.75°c between 1905 and 2005. Sea levels have risen by 195mm from 1870 to 2005. They are rising because the sea expands as it warms up. This is called thermal expansion. What are the impacts of rising temperatures and rising sea levels? Economic Impacts(money) Impacts on a Developed country- UK- Farmers may be able to grow a wider variety of crops with hotter summers - More tourism as people may opt to holiday in the UK - Sea defences may need building to combat rising sea levels - Loss of homes and farm land at coastal areas due to sea level rise - Cost to rebuild housing etc.. lost from flooding Environmental impacts - Droughts in summer - Plants and animals may de out as they cannot adapt to increasing temperatures Social impacts (people) - More heat related illnesses e.g. skin cancers and sun stroke - Hosepipe bans in South during droughts

KEY WORD BANK – Global warming, climate change, greenhouse effect, enhanced,
eruption theory, sunspot theory, orbital theory, emissions, little ice age, CO₂, methane, nitrous oxide and halocarbons, rising sea levels, thermal expansion, impacts.
Impacts on a Developing country – Bangladesh-

- Huge areas of land lost due to flooding

- Homelessness due to houses damaged causing mass migration to large cities - Starvation and deaths due to crop failure

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