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ENVI003 ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
AIR POLLUTANTS AND EFFECTS
NAME: ABAD KENNEDY E. FACULTY: ENG.H. E. GOZON
Metallurgy is the main industrial source of air pollution delivering primarily sulphur dioxide (SO2) and highly toxic heavy metal containing dust. Steel works emit large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), and aluminium works produce lots of fluorine which is very harmful to living organisms. building industry emit large amounts of dust to the atmosphere. Cement plants discharge chemically neutral dust in huge quantities. This dust can be transported large distances by the wind and affect areas far away from the cement plant itself. Other types of factories in this sector include quarries, glass-works, aggregate-processing plants and ceramic plants. They tend to only have a local impact on air pollution. The chemical industry emits a wide variety of pollutants, the types dependant on the chemicals being manufactured. Common chemicals produced include nitrolime, phosphates, petrol, car oils and greases and artificial fibres. During nitrolime (saltpetre) production, lots of dust containing saltpetre, urea, ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are emitted into the air. Phosphate manufacture involves the use of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) and as a result, significant amounts of sulphur are emitted into the air. The process also causes emissions of fluorine and dust. Developing countries As developing countries become more industrialised, they also produce more air pollution. The leaders of most developing countries believe they must become industrialised rapidly in order to be economically competitive. Environmental quality is usually a low priority in the race to develop. Thus, while air quality is slowly improving in developed countries, it is rapidly deteriorating in developing countries. Improving the well being of developing nations does not have to result in increased pollution. The key to future development lies in providing the products and services which people want by using the most efficient technologies, and consuming the lowest possible level of resources. Medical waste Burning medical waste is a serious source of air pollution, particularly in cities. Most incinerators are rudimentary by today's standards. They burn waste incompletely, releasing acidic gases, heavy metals, and dioxins into the air.
Smog When air pollution in urban areas reduces visibility it is often called smog. There are different types of smog. Smoke pollution from industries is sometimes called industrial smog. The pollutants it contains are sulphur oxides and particulates. Photochemical smog is a brownish orange haze formed by chemical reactions involving sunlight. Municipal Solid Waste When solid waste is burnt, heavy metals like lead, gases and soot are spread over residential areas. Rubbish, dust and gases found during the decomposition of waste, all contribute to air pollution. Industry Electrical power plants and industries emit particulate matter, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxides. The top three industrial sources of toxic air pollutants are the chemical, metal, and paper industries. Motor vehicles The two main sources of air pollution are motor vehicles & industries. When they burn petrol, cars and trucks release significant quantities of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, lead, and suspended particulate matter. Lead used in petrol to protect engines is also dangerous. Diesel powered cars produce large quantities of particulates in the form of black soot. Reduced use of private cars, proper legislation and enforcement of laws can curb this menace. Fuel wood Indoor air pollution is caused by the burning of fuel-wood and dung for cooking, and can cause suffocation. • Ground Level Ozone Ozone in the upper atmosphere shields us from ultraviolet radiation. However on ground level, it is highly toxic to both plants and animals as it can damage lungs. It can bring on coughing, asthma attacks and lower the immune system.
This is an invisible. At high levels carbon monoxide causes death. Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) Nitrogen Oxides are lung irritants that can lead to acute respiratory diseases in children. odourless gas that is highly toxic to air-breathing animals because it interferes with the blood's ability to transport oxygen. Suspended Particulate Matter This is a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air. Children and the elderly are especially sensitive to sulphur dioxide. causing airways to close. and haze which can make breathing difficult. People at greatest risk from carbon monoxide include pregnant women. Carbon Monoxide (CO) One source of carbon monoxide is vehicle emissions. brain damage and death. carbon monoxide causes headaches and fatigue. as are people suffering from asthma and emphysema. They may also cause over-sensitivity to pollen and dust in people suffering from asthma. It accumulates in the body and damages body tissue. and interfering with the lungs. especially for people with chronic respiratory problems. even at low concentrations and can lead to reduced intelligence in children. It can be poisonous to both plants and animals. At medium concentrations. As the concentration increases. Even low levels can start or increase damage to the heart in individuals with artery or heart problems. Home Air Pollution Jul. infants.25. reflexes slow down and drowsiness occurs. sulphur dioxide irritates the respiratory tract. and those with heart or respiratory diseases. Sulphur Oxides (SOX) Sulphur Dioxide is converted to sulphuric acid in the atmosphere. Like particulates. smoke. Suspended particulates are seen as dust.• Lead & other heavy metals Lead is dangerous. 2009 in air pollution .
For the family that is having a new home built. it is imperative to talk with the builder about their policies and materials to make sure that toxic chemicals not only . Home air filters. like grills. and most are not covered under any home insurance policy if you try to remove them. this in no way implies that well ventilated homes can’t experience toxic levels of toxins.Some of the more common home air pollution problems include radon. carbon dioxide. Children are usually the first to suffer from respiratory ailments when radon is in the home. In recent history the common household carbon monoxide detector has saved countless lives. There are numerous air pollutants within most homes that can cause serious health effects. Chemicals often are released into the air during their use and poor ventilation can then trap the chemical components in the air for long periods of time. and toxic chemical bases. This can cause immediate illness. mold. Radon is a toxic gas that can be trapped under the home and released over long periods of time directly into the living environment. When carbon monoxide levels reach high enough levels. the end result is generally death for the entire family. deadly levels of carbon monoxide come from cracked furnaces and indoor vehicle emissions. There are a number of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning from the indoor use of an outdoor product. Mold is a very common home air pollution problem. Chemicals are effectively one of the most common home air pollutants. it becomes almost impossible to sell. or even death. Homes that are well ventilated are often at a much lower risk for serious problems for home air pollution. Mold can cause a host of health problems. In most cases. Mold spores that are released into the air and are breathed in by children and infants can cause serious respiratory and immune system problems. However. and it can reach extreme levels in some moist and warm areas of the United States. and home building essentials that can reduce the risk of home air pollutants are now becoming increasingly common.Home air pollution is the silent and invisible health concern that many people live entirely unaware of. For this reason buyers have to require the test as part of the terms of sale if they want the home checked before buying. Most of the home air quality and pollution problems are existent in all homes but are not considered to be at high enough levels to be considered a true health risk. Chemicals come in and out of the average home on a regular basis. if not noticed. It is vital that you have a house checked for home air pollution elements before you buy. Carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to find this odorless and colorless gas that can become a home air pollution nightmare. especially carbon monoxide. including chronic infections.Once a home is tested and the test returns positive for radon. Carbon monoxide is a deadly home air pollutant that is present on some level in most homes.
 . Home filtration systems can be beneficial in reducing molds and other irritants. For an existing home. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. tests and detectors are the only real answer. Some seeds. remain dormant until fire breaks down the seed coating. the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. but will not filter out toxic gases like carbon monoxide or radon. Obtaining a permit may not limit liability if the fire burns out of control. controlled burning is usually overseen by fire control authorities for regulations and permits. spacecraft. In industrialized countries. Controlled burn Controlled or prescribed burning. Hazard reduction or controlled burning is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires. such as sequoia. aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. farming. also known as hazard reduction burning or Swailing is a technique sometimes used in forest management. In all rockets. Rocket A rocket or rocket vehicle is a missile. The party responsible must delineate the intended time and place. thus renewing the forest.stay out of the building process but that the builder also uses home environmentally friendly materials and processes.
human spaceflight and exploration of other planets. Outside the can. Industrial Sources The figures used describing the respective production of pollutants by each sector are taken . only some propellant evaporates inside the can to maintain an even pressure. Rocket engines push rockets forwards simply by throwing their exhaust backwards extremely fast. the droplets of propellant evaporate rapidly. including setting foot on the moon. This is used with a can or bottle that contains a liquid under pressure. Typical liquids dispensed in this way are insecticides. Aerosol spray Aerosol spray is a type of dispensing system which creates an aerosol mist of liquid particles. they are very lightweight and powerful. date back to at least the 13th century. deodorants and paints. careful design. weaponry.Rocket engines work by action and reaction. While comparatively inefficient for low speed use. Chemical rockets are the most common type of rocket and they typically create their exhaust by the combustion of rocket propellant. Rockets are used for fireworks. ejection seats. the liquid is forced out of a small hole and emerges as an aerosol or mist. construction and use minimizes risks. interplanetary and industrial use did not occur until the 20th century. in military and recreational uses. leaving the payload suspended as very fine particles or droplets. capable of generating large accelerations and of attaining extremely high speeds with reasonable efficiency. An atomizer is a similar device that is pressurised by a handoperated pump rather than by stored gas. When the container's valve is opened. and can be very dangerous. Rockets. Significant scientific. Chemical rockets store a large amount of energy in an easily released form. testing. However. when rocketry was the enabling technology of the Space Age. launch vehicles for artificial satellites. As gas expands to drive out the payload.
for example. Other Industry and waste disposal . high concentrations do however occur in many eastern European countries. particularly as some countries are reconsidering their programmes of nuclear power generation. Second Sulphur Protocol. an industrial chimney falls to the ground due to local atmospheric conditions. Power Generation Siting fossil fuel power stations in mainly rural areas and distributing the pollution produced more evenly via tall chimneys has resulted in improved urban air quality.from "Air pollution in Europe" (EEA. The countries of the European Union and those which are a party to the UNECE Convention on the Long Range Transport of Air Pollution. 1997). likely to remain an important source of pollution for some time to come. Power generation is. Better dispersion of pollutants emitted by tall chimneys leads to better dilution in the air and thus lower local concentrations of pollutants. are committed to major reductions in sulphur dioxide emissions. particularly from older power stations and from the use of high sulphur lignite or brown coal. This has however led to pollution being dispersed more widely and to transboundary air pollution. though they still remain a major source of pollution. however. mainly sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Stricter operating practices and the use of modern abatement techniques have resulted in a considerable reduction in the amount of pollutants emitted from power stations. Data relates to the year 1994 and to 28 countries in Europe(3). Exceptional concentrations may also occur on a very local basis if a plume of smoke from.
dioxins. Landfill sites also have the potential to cause major odour when badly managed. these include the production of potentially explosive levels of methane gas (65%). If organic matter and plastics are burnt at low temperatures. properly operated incinerators produce fumes which respect the strictest existing legislation. All waste has the potential to affect the environment adversely by contaminating the air. plus trace concentrations of a range of organic gases and vapours. dangerous levels of carbon dioxide (35%). soil or water. Modern. large and small. can be significant local sources of a wide range of air pollutants. Uncontrolled or poorly managed burning of waste (incineration) can result in the production of poisonous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid. Landfill and incineration are the two most common methods of waste disposal. Hydrochloric acid contributes locally to acid rain and is given off by the burning of plastics. dioxins and furans may be emitted.Although fossil fuel power plants are the major source of industrial air pollution in many countries. all industry and many businesses. If not properly managed landfill sites can cause a number of problems. Road Transport . furans and heavy metals. The use of both regulatory and planning controls will help to minimise their effect on local air quality. Poorly managed waste disposal sites (landfill or incineration) can also pose a danger to public health. through all these routes.
which are unable to meet modern pollution control requirements. • • In those countries which have required the removal of lead from petrol. Secondary pollutants produced as a result of the use of petrol-engined vehicles include nitrogen dioxide and ozone. they do however increase emissions of carbon dioxide. particulate matter and lead. regular emissions testing of private and public transport vehicles. provision of safe cycling and pedestrian routes. Measures for inclusion in a Local Transport Strategy • • • • • adequate and affordable public transport. Primary pollutants produced by petrol-powered vehicles include carbon monoxide. and have no effect on emissions of particles. encouraging local business to use car pooling or car sharing schemes. encouraging better fuel quality better planning of the built environment aimed at reduced mobility and improved access to shops. concentrations of lead in air from this source have been reduced to a level at which they are no longer a problem. Much of the lead emitted by vehicles burning leaded petrol emerges as particles. Diesel engines burn fuel in excess of air and so produce little carbon monoxide but. in many countries. nitric oxide. jobs. replaced coal smoke as the major cause for concern. Leadfree petrol has also made the use of "catalytic converters" possible. means that efforts to control pollution from this source are going to be increasingly difficult. instead large quantities of carbon dioxide. and the continuing growth in vehicle use means that efforts to reduce emissions from individual vehicles are in danger of being overtaken by increases in the volume of traffic. encouraging less use of motor cars during weather conditions likely to lead to an episode of pollution. (see table). Prior to the introduction of cars fitted with catalytic converters. etc. Since 1993 all new petrol-engined cars in the European Union have to be fitted with catalytic converters. The air pollutants produced as a result of the use of motor vehicles present a two-stage problem: primary and secondary pollutants. an important greenhouse gas. diesel-powered vehicles were considered "cleaner" than petrol-powered cars. NOx and carbon monoxide. Catalysts substantially reduce emissions of hydrocarbons. EU legislation requires that they meet the same . benzene.Air pollution from motor vehicles has. In much of eastern Europe the continued use of rather old cars.
Diesel fuel contains no lead but is a considerable source of particulate matter. 1996).3 1. g/km Hydrocarbons. much more will need to be done to ensure that reductions in vehicle emissions are not offset by the rapid increase in vehicle ownership and use. Domestic Sources . kg/km 1. and fuel consumption is more efficient at lower speeds (60 . Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Emission factor Regulated pollutants: Carbon monoxide.9 0. A.1 1. mg/km Average emission factors of different fuels Environmental third Environmental first class diesel class diesel 3.7 200 Ethanol 0. Requiring vehicle owners (and businesses) to maintain their vehicles regularly will ensure that fuel is burnt efficiently and economically. "Vehicle exhausts". mg/km 19 20 72 Sum. bearing in mind the resources available and other priorities for cutting pollution. Report 4528. mg/km 70 29 18 Acetaldehyde. Stockholm. In many countries.limits for hydrocarbons. PAHs and SO2. "park and ride" schemes. NOx and CO as petrol-driven cars. However. g/km NOX. Each local authority will need to consider how it can best tackle the problem. The introduction of lower sulphur diesel fuels throughout the EU will reduce emissions from this source (see table).72 9.2 Formaldehyde. and Wijk..3 13.2 510 1.5 53 Unregulated pollutants: Carbon dioxide.13 9. traffic restrictions.2 1. and will therefore be less polluting.0 mg/km All emission factors from emission tests performed using the Braunschweig transient bus cycle. This is an area in which action by local authorities can make a significant impact on local air quality and indeed benefit the local community in terms both of their health and of local amenities. R. planning guidelines and encouragement to cycle and walk are some of the measures that local authorities can take. particle-bound PAH (> 3 aromatic rings) 220 39 6. there has been a policy of progressively tightening emission standards for cars and lorries in line with EU directives and UNECE standards.90 km/h). (From: Westerholm. Improved public transport.25 0. g/km Particulates.
Nitrogen dioxide is also generated and concentrations in kitchens will usually exceed those outdoors when cookers are in use. etc. the domestic use of coal was the major source of particles. Other important domestic sources of air pollution are: • gas and paraffin heaters. bonfires add to the general background level of air pollution. The greater efficiency of controlled anthracite burning leads to a saving in overall fuel costs. stoves and cookers produce carbon monoxide. on an open fire. they do in southern European cities such as Athens. Concentrations of airborne particles in many European cities frequently exceeded 1000 µg/m3 and annual average concentrations of several hundred µg/m3 were commonplace. bronchitis sufferers or those with heart conditions. Conversion to stoves which ensure complete combustion are also a possibility as are district heating schemes. Special devices with carefully controlled air supplies are needed to burn anthracite but combustion is efficient and far less black smoke is produced. The greater use of renewable energy (wind. solar. Ventilators can help reduce this pollution.) and enhanced energy efficiency measures in homes and offices also helps improve air quality. CO may accumulate in dangerous concentrations. Lignite contains 67% carbon (compared with the 95% in anthracite) and burns easily. In eastern Europe much higher concentrations still occur as. Brown coal (lignite) is a key source of particles in many parts of eastern Europe. • .Before about 1960. wave. garden incinerators and barbecues can be a significant local smoke and odour nuisance. Even if the immediate health risk is small. Problems may be caused for asthmatics. Conversion of open fires to stoves suitable for burning anthracite (or other smokeless fuel) should be considered by any local authority where coal smoke is a problem. using combined heat and power plants. annual average concentrations in most European cities have fallen to less than 30 µg/m3. Lignite is probably the poorest quality in terms of calorific value and generates most pollutants when used for domestic heating. to a lesser extent. Burning garden waste produces smoke. bonfires. especially if it is damp and smouldering rather than dry and blazing. The smoke contains CO and other noxious and irritating compounds. If ventilation is inadequate or appliances poorly maintained. Coal varies in composition and calorific value from mine to mine. though inefficiently. tidal. though an initial investment in the necessary equipment must be made. Today.
TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF THE PHILIPPINES ENVI003 ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING .
GREENHOUSE EFFECTS AND GLOBAL WARMING TITLE NAME: ABAD KENNEDY E. FACULTY: ENG. This transfers energy to the surface and lower .H. They transfer this energy to other components of the atmosphere. The ability of the atmosphere to capture and recycle energy emitted by the Earth surface is the defining characteristic of the greenhouse effect. E. including back down towards the surface. The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiative energy leaving a planetary surface is absorbed by some atmospheric gases. the Earth's surface. and the ultimate sink outer space. GOZON Greenhouse effect A representation of the exchanges of energy between the source (the Sun). the Earth's atmosphere. called greenhouse gases. and it is re-radiated in all directions.
This light is absorbed at the Earth's surface. This highly simplified picture of the basic mechanism needs to be qualified in a number of ways. the planet's actual blackbody temperature is about -18 or -19 °C   . and it is thus warmer than it would otherwise be. It is no surprise that this is the "visible" light. This mechanism is fundamentally different from that of an actual greenhouse. The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824. is believed to be the result of a strengthening of the greenhouse effect mostly due to human-produced increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases. effectively. a recent warming of the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere. since the Earth reflects about 30% (or 28%) of the incoming sunlight. is lost to the system. and re-radiated as thermal radiation. If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody was the same distance from the Sun as the Earth.000 K.3 °C. so the temperature there is higher than it would be if direct heating by solar radiation were the only warming mechanism .atmosphere. The reflection of light back into space . largely in the range 0. • The incoming radiation from the Sun is mostly in the form of visible light and nearby wavelengths. Thus the presence of the atmosphere results in the surface receiving more radiation than it would were the atmosphere absent.. this light.4 μm. • .2 .largely by clouds . our eyes are adapted to use the most common radiation. which works by isolating warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection. about 33°C below the actual surface temperature of about 14 °C or 15 °C. it would have an expected blackbody temperature of 5. Some of this thermal radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere. corresponding to the Sun's radiative temperature of 6. and reradiated both upwards and downwards. • Basic mechanism The Earth receives energy from the Sun in the form of visible light. About 50% of the Sun's energy is absorbed at the Earth's surface and the rest is reflected or absorbed by the atmosphere.  The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual temperature and the blackbody temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect. Global warming. none of which affect the fundamental process. and first reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.does not much affect the basic mechanism. that radiated downwards is absorbed by the Earth's surface. However. first reliably experimented on by John Tyndall in 1858.
O2 and N2 which together form more than 99% of the dry atmosphere—is transparent to infrared radiation. and most heat loss from the surface is by sensible heat and latent heat transport. During the day. greenhouse gasses that were largely transparent to incoming solar radiation are more absorbent. because its emissivity is low. This results in more warmth below. The amplitude of the diurnal cycle becomes lower the higher up you go. the atmosphere warms. In the real world there is the diurnal cycle as well as seasonal cycles and weather. Only triatomic (and higher) gases interact with infrared. At these wavelengths. the atmosphere cools somewhat. while still radiating enough heat back out into deep space from the upper layers to maintain overall thermal equilibrium. an important greenhouse gas. 36–70% . Each layer of atmosphere with greenhouses gases absorbs some of the heat being radiated upwards from lower layers. The majority of the atmosphere—in particular. Solar heating only applies during daytime. Increasing the concentration of the gases increases the amount of absorption and re-radiation. but not greatly. The simple picture assumes equilibrium. During the night. radiates long-wavelength. However. To maintain its own equilibrium. it re-radiates the absorbed heat in all directions. infrared heat in the range 4 . warmed to a temperature around 255 K.• The absorbed energy warms the surface. • • • Greenhouse gases Main article: Greenhouse gas By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are: • water vapor. Within the region where radiative effects are important the description given by the idealized greenhouse model becomes realistic: The surface of the Earth. Simple presentations of the greenhouse effect. which is effectively coupled to the surface by a lapse rate. the energy absorbed and emitted by the greenhouse gases is effectively shared by the non-radiatively active gases. It is more realistic to think of the greenhouse effect as applying to a "surface" in the mid-troposphere. both upwards and downwards. show this heat being lost as thermal radiation. such as the idealized greenhouse model. and thereby further warms the layers and ultimately the surface below. due to intermolecular collisions. The reality is more complex: the atmosphere near the surface is largely opaque to thermal radiation (with important exceptions for "window" bands). Radiative energy losses become increasingly important higher in the atmosphere largely because of the decreasing concentration of water vapor.100 μm.
which produce net warming. 3–7% The major non-gas contributor to the Earth's greenhouse effect. 9–26% methane. According to the latest Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.• • • carbon dioxide. The effect of combustion-produced carbon dioxide on the global climate. 4–9% ozone. . Strengthening of the greenhouse effect through human activities is known as the enhanced (or anthropogenic) greenhouse effect. clouds. The current observed amount of CO2 exceeds the geological record maxima (~300 ppm) from ice core data. a special case of the greenhouse effect first described in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius. Role in climate change Main article: Global warming The Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured at Mauna Loa Observatory. Measurements of CO2 from the Mauna Loa observatory show that concentrations have increased from about 313 ppm  in 1960 to about 389 ppm in 2010. This increase in radiative forcing from human activity is attributable mainly to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Because it is a greenhouse gas. CO2 is produced by fossil fuel burning and other activities such as cement production and tropical deforestation. elevated CO2 levels contribute to additional absorption and emission of thermal infrared in the atmosphere. also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus have an effect on radiative properties of the atmosphere. "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations". has also been called the Callendar effect.
 Global warming From Wikipedia. ice core data shows unambiguously that carbon dioxide has varied from values as low as 180 parts per million (ppm) to the pre-industrial level of 270ppm.Over the past 800.000 years. Paleoclimatologists consider variations in carbon dioxide to be a fundamental factor in controlling climate variations over this time scale. see Paleoclimatology and Geologic temperature record. search For past climate change. the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation. Global mean surface temperature difference relative to the 1961–1990 average .
though the nature of these regional variations is uncertain.18 °C (1.33 ± 0. probably including expansion of subtropical deserts.[A] Most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's nearsurface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation.4 °C (2. which results from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation. a result of increasing concentrations of atmospheric aerosols that block sunlight from reaching the surface. [B] Nevertheless. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. and changes in agricultural yields. permafrost and sea ice. Global dimming. The Kyoto Protocol is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentration to prevent a . Mean surface temperature change for the period 2000 to 2009 relative to the average temperatures from 1951 to 1980. political and public debate continues.0 to 11.32 °F) during the 20th century. species extinctions. An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation. The scientific consensus is that anthropogenic global warming is occurring. Other likely effects include changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.74 ± 0. Trends plotted since January 1982. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers.1 to 6. green: RSS) records of temperature variations since 1979. Climate model projections summarized in the latest IPCC report indicate that the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.Comparison of ground based (blue) and satellite based (red: UAH. The uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations and the use of differing estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions. has partially countered the effects of greenhouse gas induced warming. global surface temperature increased 0.5 °F) during the 21st century. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
versus 0. The urban heat island effect is estimated to account for about 0.13 and 0. The rate of warming over the last half of that period was almost double that for the period as a whole (0. Global temperature is subject to short-term fluctuations that overlay long term trends and can temporarily mask them. Evidence for warming of the climate system includes observed increases in global average air and ocean temperatures. Temperatures in the lower troposphere have increased between 0. 187 states have signed and ratified the protocol. behind 1998. Temperatures in 1998 were unusually warm because the strongest El Niño in the past century occurred during that year.74 ± 0. Temperature changes Main article: Temperature record Two millennia of mean surface temperatures according to different reconstructions. widespread melting of snow and ice. The relative stability in temperature from 2002 to 2009 is consistent with such an episode. with regionally varying fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. and rising global average sea level.07 °C ± 0.22 and 0. Estimates prepared by the World Meteorological Organization and the Climatic Research Unit show 2005 as the second warmest year. each smoothed on a decadal scale. Temperature is believed to have been relatively stable over the one or two thousand years before 1850. The most common measure of global warming is the trend in globally averaged temperature near the Earth's surface. As of November 2009.18 °C over the period 1906–2005. . exceeding the previous record set in 1998 by a few hundredths of a degree. this temperature rose by 0.4 °F) per decade since 1979.22 °C (0."dangerous anthropogenic interference". Estimates by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Climatic Data Center show that 2005 was the warmest year since reliable.13 ± 0. according to satellite temperature measurements. Expressed as a linear trend. The instrumental record and the unsmoothed annual value for 2004 are shown in black. widespread instrumental measurements became available in the late 1800s.02 °C per decade).03 °C per decade.002 °C of warming per decade since 1900.
natural gas systems.25 °C per decade against 0. Although more greenhouse gases are emitted in the Northern than Southern Hemisphere this does not contribute to the difference in warming because the major greenhouse gases persist long enough to mix between hemispheres. a further warming of about 0. They include: Greenhous Chemic e Gas* al Symbol Controlled Carbon Dioxide CO2 Occurs naturally. The Northern Hemisphere warms faster than the Southern Hemisphere because it has more land and because it has extensive areas of seasonal snow and sea-ice cover subject to ice-albedo feedback. Also a by-product of burning fossil fuels (oil. paddy fields. Climate commitment studies indicate that even if greenhouse gases were stabilized at 2000 levels. Other sources are landfills.Temperature changes vary over the globe. coal) and biomass as well as land-use changes and various industrial processes.5 °C (0. The thermal inertia of the oceans and slow responses of other indirect effects mean that climate can take centuries or longer to adjust to changes in forcing. Since 1979.9 °F) would still occur. Ocean temperatures increase more slowly than land temperatures because of the larger effective heat capacity of the oceans and because the ocean loses more heat by evaporation. land temperatures have increased about twice as fast as ocean temperatures (0.13 °C per decade). Occurs naturally. coal mines. and livestock. Types of Greenhouse Gases There are several types of greenhouse gases. in the manufacture of Sources Methane CH4 Nitrous Oxide N2 O . Generated by burning fossil fuels.
A byproduct of aluminum smelting. Ozone at ground level and in the lower atmosphere is Ozone O3 .fertilizer and by cultivation of soils. HFC’s Various compou nds Sulphur SF6 Hexafluoride Uncontroll ed Water Vapour H2O (gas) Naturally occurring. Rising global temperatures may act to increase water vapour in the atmosphere. Perfluorocar Various bons (PFCs) compou nds Human-made chemicals. Used largely in heavy industry to insulate high voltage equipment and to assist in the manufacture of cable cooling systems. Human-made chemical. Used largely in refrigeration and insulating foam. Naturally occurring. Also created by reactions involving nitrogen oxide gases resulting from motor vehicles and power plants. Also used as a replacement for CFCs in manufacturing semiconductors..
This is because the heat and light from the sun can get into the car. which increases the temperature. the temperature rises. and methane) trap heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere. in the upper atmosphere. it helps to protect the earth from ultra-violet radiation and chemicals which tend to destroy ozone in the upper atmosphere are regulated under the Montreal Protocol What is global warming? Global warming is when the earth heats up (the temperature rises). so they die.linked with smog and health problems. This is what the greenhouse effect does to the earth. nitrous oxide. animals. . This is like when heat is trapped in a car. by going through the windows. However. water vapor. the car gets hotter when it is out in the parking lot. but it can’t get out. Many cannot take the change. As a result. The heat and light can get through the atmosphere. and plants. What is the greenhouse effect? The greenhouse effect is when the temperature rises because the sun’s heat and light is trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. This hurts many people. It happens when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide. but it can’t get back out. On a very hot day.
It would be freezing at night because the sun would be down. and people will die. but it would also limit the food that animals have. it would be burning because the sun would be up with no atmosphere to filter it. and many plants. Although the greenhouse effect makes the earth able to have people living on it. They would die because there would be less food (plants like corn. like grass. the earth can get unusually warmer. so people. With less food. Sometimes the temperature can change in a way that helps us. for .The sun’s heat can get into the car through the windows but is then trapped. and animals would be exposed to all the light and heat. animals. This would cause us to have less food to eat. or the earth’s atmosphere. a greenhouse. the earth would be freezing. it is trapped and the heat builds up. This makes what ever the place might be. During the day. Once the light is inside the car. if there gets to be too many gases. hotter. Without it. especially during the summer. This The squiggle lines diagram shows coming from the sun are visible light and the lines the heat and arrows inside the car coming into a are infrared light. and other vegetables and fruits). or on the other hand it would be burning hot. plants. wheat. This would happen because the plants would not be able to take the heat. car as visible light (light you can see) and infrared light (heat). just like it does in the earth’s atmosphere. a building. a car. We would not get the sun’s heat and light to make the night somewhat warm. The greenhouse effect makes the earth appropriate for people to live on.
As a result. animals. one thing happening that leads to another and so on. Although animals have a better ability to adapt to what happens than plants do. One thing that is happening is warm water. the water covers many low land islands. they may die also. Algae is a producer that you can see floating on the top of the water. What are greenhouse gasses? Greenhouse gasses are gasses are in the earth’s atmosphere that collect heat and light from the sun. The oceans are affected by global warming in other ways. The water covers the plants and causes some of them to die. There are many others . caused from global warming. people lose two sources of food. Gradually.) This floating green algae is food to many consumers in the ocean. When the plants and animals die. or a chain reaction. (A consumer is something that eats the producers. They may also lose their homes. and people on islands. animals. and animals would all die of hunger.) One kind of a consumer is small fish. plants. they would also have to leave the area or die. As a result people. This would be called a break in the food chain. and plants would die because the heat would be too strong. Global warming makes the sea rise. When they die. people.the animals that we need to survive (like cows) we would even have less food. as well. (A producer is something that makes food for other animals through photosynthesis. With too many greenhouse gasses in the air. the animals lose a source of food. Many things that are happening to the ocean are linked to global warming. This is a big problem for many of the plants. is harming and killing algae in the ocean. What is global warming doing to the environment? Global warming is affecting many parts of the world. the earth’s atmosphere will trap too much heat and the earth will get too hot. like grass. plant food and animal food. along with their habitat. and when the sea rises.
It is killing algae. water. making electricity. Fossil fuels are made of dead plants and animals. The pollution that causes global warming is linked to acid rain. Fewer algae is a problem because there is less food for us and many animals in the sea. This happens because global warming can make the earth very hot. it is used for 38% of the United States’ energy. one of the sources of energy. Electricity causes pollution in many ways. Global warming is doing many things to people as well as animals and plants. In forests. One thing that causes global warming is electrical pollution.V.like crabs. Petroleum. We use these sources of energy much more than the sources that give off less pollution. Some examples of fossil fuels are oil and petroleum. Some other examples of using energy and polluting the air are: Turning on a light Watching T. In most cases. Although this source of energy gives off a lot of pollution. Some of these chemicals are called greenhouse gasses. is used a lot. and many other animals. and land) are sent into the air when fossil fuels are burned. Listening to a stereo Washing or drying clothes Using a hair dryer Riding in a car Heating a meal in the microwave Using an air conditioner . What causes global warming? Many things cause global warming. Acid rain gradually destroys almost everything it touches. but it is also destroying many huge forests. fossil fuels are burned to create electricity. some plants and trees leaves can be so dry that they catch on fire. It is used for transportation. and making many other things. Global warming is also causing many more fires that wipe out whole forests. some worse than others. some whales. Many pollutants (chemicals that pollute the air.
) r o . Landfills are those big hills that you go by on an expressway that stink. it is harder for people to breathe because there is more CO2 in the air. Trees and other plants collect carbon dioxide (CO2). which is a greenhouse gas. They are full of garbage. there is less air for us. Another thing that makes global warming worse is when people cut down trees. CO2. This sends an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses into the air and makes global warming worse. the garbage goes to landfills. such as algae. we breathe oxygen. With fewer trees. Plants collect the CO2 that we breathe out. You even have to add in how many other people do these things! That turns out to be a lot of pollutants going into the air a day because of people like us using electricity. With less trees and other plants.Playing a video game Using a dish washer When you do these things. Carbon dioxide is the air that our body lets out when we breathe. and we don’t breathe CO2. When we throw our garbage away. If you think of how many times a day you do these things. and more greenhouse gases are sent into the air. it’s a lot. This means that it is very important to protect our trees to stop the greenhouse effect. and they give back oxygen that we breathe in. and also so we can breathe and live. (The sun has layers just like the o earth. you are causing more greenhouse gasses to be sent into the air. the better. collects light and heat (radiant energy). The least amount of electricity you use. produced by the o sun. The heat and light from the sun is l produced in the center of the sun. T h e d i r t y y e l l o w c This gas. Greenhouse gasses are sent into the air because creating the electricity you use to do these things causes pollution. The garbage is then sometimes burned. and this makes the earth warmer.
the radiative zone. and riding their bikes to lower the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. Global warming is making people get very bad illnesses that could make them disabled. If you recycle. and global warming will slow down. Watch what you buy. This helps our planet out a lot.000F. Less greenhouse gasses will rise into the air. When you pollute. This is called radiant energy (heat and light). Part of the law says that you may not put a certain amount of . A lot of people are taking time away from the television. Planting trees and recycling also helps.This layer is called the core. Another thing that people are doing is being more careful about leaving things turned on like the television. very sick. The government made a law called The Clean Air Act so there is less air pollution. they are spending more time outdoors.000. When it gets to the surface. you send chemicals into the air that destroy our atmosphere. walking to school. What is the government doing to stop global warming? The government is doing many things to help stop global warming. Just like a core of an apple. What are people doing to stop global warming? People are doing many things to try to stop global warming. the heat and light will pass through the convection zone at a temperature of around 2. This heat escapes out of this layer to the next layer. and sometimes even die.000F. more people are even riding busses. Now. Finally. so more heat and light cannot escape from the earth’s atmosphere. the heat and light is sent into space. One thing people are doing is carpooling.000. Gradually. As a result of this process we get light and heat. and the lights. As a result.000F.500. and less trash gets burned. the temperature is about 10. This layer is cooler. This minimizes the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air by a car. such as hairspray and deodorant. less trash goes to the dump. about 4. and instead. computer. The Clean Air Act is making many companies change their products to decrease these problems. now are made to have less of an impact on the atmosphere. it is in the middle. Here there is a very high temperature. about 27.000F. Many things. The radiant energy reaches the earth’s atmosphere. there are fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Carpooling is driving with someone to a place that you are both going to.
Now. pollute the air when the fuel is burned. It is . Smog is a kind of pollution that you see in the form of a cloud. trucks. almost all of these products have a label on them telling people what this product can do to the environment and many people.Ozone is produced when other pollution chemicals combine. For example chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). had this problem. buses. like foam cups. and pollution from factories mixes in the air and has a chemical reaction. brain and nerve damage. ozone-destroying chemicals (chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). trouble breathing. and motorcycles. lung injures. Cars pollute a lot. Sometimes the smog gets so bad that you cannot see at all! Smog forms when car exhaust. and trucks are also responsible for over 50% of dangerous chemicals let into the air. Hairspray and some other products. The sun’s heat and light add to the reaction. Making and using these products let out too much volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). buses. pollution from homes. Some of the pollutants are so harmful that they can even cause death. a substance which harms public health and the environment by destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere. What are some of the other dangerous chemicals? Some other chemicals that cause air pollution and are bad for the environment and people are: Ozone. many things that cars need to move and heat up make even more pollution. It comes out as a chemical and when mixed in the air.pollutants in the air. Cars. forms smog. Some of these chemicals can cause cancer. Some things that are inside of cars. and burning eyes. By 2015 all products listed on the Clean Air Act will have this label on them: WARNING: contains or manufactured with (the chemical would go here. The Clean Air Act has also made car companies change some of the things inside of the cars. like gasoline. Almost all of the other chemicals that could be harmful will have this label on them hopefully by this time (2015) as well. If you have ever been to California you can see a lot of smog in some places. While cars make more than half of the world’s smog (visible pollution in the air). birth defects. and related chemicals (such as CO2) into the air.
. turn off your lights or go play outside. It can also cause a lot of property damage. This chemical can cause cancer. It causes many different kinds of health issues dealing with the lungs. kids can do just as much. It can also harm plants. and by cars. It can cause many brain and nerve damages and digestive problems. too!! Although adults do many things to help stop global warming. VOC’s (volatile organic compounds. and in lead storage batteries. and dust formed by this chemical can make many cities dirty. Sulfur Dioxide. It causes acid rain.VOC’s are let into the air when fuel is burned. The smoke. and the world.This chemical is produced by making paper and metals. Kids can’t do hard things like making a law. You can listen to your parents when they say. This chemical can eat away buildings and statues.the basic element of smog. Lead. NOx (nitrogen dioxide). It can damage plants and limit sight.This chemical forms smog. ash. This chemical causes problems in the respiratory system (including the lungs).The source of this chemical is burning sources of energy. smelters. soot. It causes blood vessel problems and respiratory failures. It can make it hard for people to breathe. It can cause acid rain which kills trees and damages building and statues. like gas. and oil. PM-10 (particulate matter). but we can do easier things like not watching as much TV. CO (carbon monoxide). smog formers). coal. Kid can help stop global warming. It is also formed by burning sources of energy. your environment.This chemical is in paint.The source of this chemical is plowing and burning down fields. and it can damage trees. leaded gasoline. Listening to them and actually trying to help can help you. This chemical can cause permanent lung damage. It can cause death and lung damage.
in determining global climate. This can affect both global and local patterns of climate and atmosphere-ocean circulation. There are a variety of climate change feedbacks that can either amplify or diminish the initial forcing. Some parts of the climate system. For attribution of climate change over the past century. and climate modeling suggests that the existence of the supercontinent was conducive to the establishment of monsoons. A recent example of tectonic control on ocean circulation is the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 5 million years ago. It may be qualified as anthropogenic climate change. The position of the continents determines the geometry of the oceans and therefore influences patterns of ocean circulation. The locations of the seas are important in controlling the transfer of heat and moisture across the globe. Causes Factors that can shape climate are climate forcings. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example. For information on temperature measurements over various periods. more generally known as "global warming" or "anthropogenic global warming" (AGW). plate tectonics may have triggered large-scale storage of carbon and increased glaciation. and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. and the data sources available. During the Carboniferous period. greater or fewer extreme weather events). Geologic evidence points to a "megamonsoonal" circulation pattern during the time of the supercontinent Pangaea. and therefore. or may occur across the whole Earth. see attribution of recent climate change. which shut off direct mixing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.Climate change Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. Therefore. deviations in the Earth's orbit. In recent usage. see temperature record. mountain-building and continental drift. the climate system can take centuries or longer to fully respond to new external forcings. This strongly affected the ocean dynamics of what is now the Gulf Stream and may have led to Northern Hemisphere ice cover. climate change usually refers to changes in modern climate. about 300 to 360 million years ago. especially in the context of environmental policy. These include such processes as variations in solar radiation. the motion of tectonic plates reconfigures global land and ocean areas and generates topography. . such as the oceans and ice caps. Plate tectonics Over the course of millions of years. respond slowly in reaction to climate forcing because of their large mass. Climate change may be limited to a specific region.
 Hypothesized solutions to this paradox include a vastly different atmosphere. yearly temperature variations are generally lower in coastal areas than they are inland. and the sun's ultimate death as it becomes a red giant and then a white dwarf. with the red giant phase possibly ending life on Earth. Solar output Main article: Solar variation Variations in solar activity during the last several centuries based on observations of sunspots and beryllium isotopes. These changes in luminosity.The size of continents is also important. including the 11-year solar cycle and longer-term modulations. However. there is evidence for the presence of water on the early Earth. Because of the stabilizing effect of the oceans on temperature. with much higher concentrations of greenhouse gases than currently exist Over the following approximately 4 billion years. liquid water should not have existed on Earth. Three to four billion years ago the sun emitted only 70% as much power as it does today. will have large effects on climate. Both longand short-term variations in solar intensity are known to affect global climate. The cyclical nature of the sun's energy output is not yet fully understood. it differs from the very slow . The sun is the predominant source for energy input to the Earth. Solar output also varies on shorter time scales. with the oxygenation of the atmosphere around 2. in the Hadean and Archean eons. and some of the warming observed from 1900 to 1950. Solar intensity variations are considered to have been influential in triggering the Little Ice Age. If the atmospheric composition had been the same as today. the energy output of the sun increased and atmospheric composition changed.4 billion years ago being the most notable alteration. leading to what is known as the faint young sun paradox. A larger supercontinent will therefore have more area in which climate is strongly seasonal than will several smaller continents or islands.
these produce Milankovitch cycles which have a large impact on climate and are notable for their correlation to glacial and interglacial periods. The expansion of the tropics from overheating is usually thought to be gradual. crash globally" scenario). Combined together. Gradual push. with heat waves and extreme weather quickly felt around the world (The "Burn locally. The best-known examples are the several dozen shutdowns of the North Atlantic Ocean's Meridional Overturning Circulation during the last ice age.change that is happening within the sun as it ages and evolves. despite the CO2 rising from 310 to 332 ppm as fossil fuel emissions tripled. There is very little change to the area-averaged annually averaged sunshine. but the percentage of the land surface in the two most extreme classifications of drought suddenly doubled in 1982 and stayed there until 1997 when it jumped to triple (after six years. and break. slip. along with some near misses. things sometimes tip. it stepped down to double). Then in 1977 there was a marked shift in observed global-mean surface temperature to a rising fever on land at about 2°C/century. While their inception correlates with the particularly large El Niňos of 1982 . The circulation shift in the western Pacific in the winter of 1976-1977 proved to have much wider impacts. are likely due to sudden circulation shifts. however. affecting climate worldwide. a few studies point toward solar radiation increases from cyclical sunspot activity affecting global warming. But there have been a series of less dramatic abrupt climate shifts since 1976. sudden shift Main article: Abrupt climate change During a gradual push. their correlation with the advance and retreat of the Sahara. and precession of Earth's axis. but there can be strong changes in the geographical and seasonal distribution. Had the 1997 El Niňo lasted twice as long. but La Niňas were often big and long. Land temperatures had remained relatively trendless from 1950 to 1976. El Niňos had been weak and short. Most abrupt climate shifts. The three types of orbital variations are variations in Earth's eccentricity. While most research indicates solar variability has induced a small cooling effect from 1750 to the present.  Orbital variations Main article: Milankovitch cycles Slight variations in Earth's orbit lead to changes in the seasonal distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface and how it is distributed across the globe. the rain forests of the Amazon basin and Southeast Asia could have quickly added much additional carbon dioxide to the air from burning and rotting. changes in the tilt angle of Earth's axis of rotation. and for their appearance in the stratigraphic record. Since 1950. This pattern reversed after 1977.
 Much larger eruptions. and hot springs.and 1997. recovering over the next decade. the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century (after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta) affected the climate substantially. counteracting the uptake by sedimentary rocks and other geological carbon dioxide sinks. and cause cooling (by partially blocking the transmission of solar radiation to the Earth's surface) for a period of a few years. Volcanoes are also part of the extended carbon cycle. The Greenland Sea flushing at 75 °N shut down in 1978. geysers. the global drought steps far outlast the 13-month durations of those El Niňos. Eruptions large enough to affect climate occur on average several times per century. Some abrupt climate shifts are minor. The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 caused the Year Without a Summer. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. known as large igneous provinces. Volcanic eruptions. occur only a few times every hundred million years. While shutdowns overlapping in time have not been seen during the fifty years of observation. Global temperatures decreased by about 0. Over very long (geological) time periods.5 °C (0. 2005. Volcanism Volcanism is a process of conveying material from the crust and mantle of the Earth to its surface. According to the US Geological Survey. however. are examples of volcanic processes which release gases and/or particulates into the atmosphere. but may cause global warming and mass extinctions. estimates are that human activities generate more than 130 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes. Crash Globally in 1998. some are catastrophic—and one cannot predict which or when. previous total shutdowns had severe worldwide climate consequences. they release carbon dioxide from the Earth's crust and mantle. In the recent past. there have been at least several sudden shifts and several nearmisses per decade. there have also been two occasions when the Atlantic's Meridional Overturning Circulation lost a crucial safety factor. Ocean variability Main article: Thermohaline circulation .9 °F). In addition to near-misses for Burn Locally. and 2007. This makes abrupt climate shifts more like a heart attack than like a chronic disease whose course can be extrapolated.
the effects of irrigation on local humidity). while in other instances it is less clear. followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere) and cement manufacture. Short-term fluctuations (years to a few decades) such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Various hypotheses for humaninduced climate change have been argued for many years. Other factors.in affecting climate.A schematic of modern thermohaline circulation The ocean is a fundamental part of the climate system. alterations to ocean processes such as thermohaline circulation play a key role in redistributing heat by carrying out a very slow and extremely deep movement of water. animal agriculture and deforestation. the debate has largely shifted onto ways to reduce further human impact and to find ways to adapt to change that has already occurred. represent climate variability rather than climate change. Human influences Main article: Global warming Anthropogenic factors are human activities that change the environment. Of most concern in these anthropogenic factors is the increase in CO2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Presently the scientific consensus on climate change is that human activity is very likely the cause for the rapid increase in global average temperatures over the past several decades. Physical evidence for climatic change Evidence for climatic change is taken from a variety of sources that can be used to reconstruct past climates. including land use.both separately and in conjunction with other factors . ozone depletion. and the Arctic oscillation. Consequently. and the long-term redistribution of heat in the world's oceans. On longer time scales. are also of concern in the roles they play . the Pacific decadal oscillation. the North Atlantic oscillation. and measures of climate variables. microclimate. Reasonably complete global records of . In some cases the chain of causality of human influence on the climate is direct and unambiguous (for example.
 advancing when climate cools and retreating when climate warms. both contributing to natural variability and amplifying externally forced changes.000 years Glaciers are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change. dendrochronology. Historical and archaeological evidence Main article: Historical impacts of climate change Climate change in the recent past may be detected by corresponding changes in settlement and agricultural patterns. initially based mainly on aerial photographs and maps but now relying more on satellites. with strong glacier retreats in the 1940s. indicators that reflect climate. ice cores. and glacial geology. most of the evidence is indirect—climatic changes are inferred from changes in proxies.surface temperature are available beginning from the mid-late 1800s. oral history and historical documents can offer insights into past changes in the climate. glaciers worldwide have been found to be shrinking significantly. such as vegetation.000 km2. . temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450. stable or growing conditions during the 1920s and 1970s. and preliminary estimates indicate that the remaining ice cover is around 445. The World Glacier Monitoring Service collects data annually on glacier retreat and glacier mass balance From this data. This compilation tracks more than 100. Climate change effects have been linked to the collapse of various civilisations. sea level change. For earlier periods. Glaciers grow and shrink.000 km2. Glaciers Variations in CO2. and again retreating from the mid 1980s to present. Archaeological evidence. A world glacier inventory has been compiled since the 1970s.000 glaciers covering a total area of approximately 240.
well before modern environmental influences. the lack of glacier cover can be identified by the presence of soil or volcanic tephra horizons whose date of deposit may also be ascertained. by tephrochronological techniques. resulting in improved plant growth and the subsequent sequestration of airborne CO2. Larger. a mild change in climate may result in increased precipitation and warmth. and potassium that may be dated—recording the periods in which a glacier advanced and retreated. In any given scenario. Similarly. Glaciers leave behind moraines that contain a wealth of material—including organic matter. and continues to . may well[weasel words] result in vegetation stress. this much is obvious. rapid plant loss and desertification in certain circumstances. Ice cores Analysis of ice in a core drilled from a ice sheet such as the Antarctic ice sheet. can be used to show a link between temperature and global sea level variations. quartz. illustrate how glacial variations may also influence climate without the orbital forcing. Shaped by orbital variations. however. Dansgaard–Oeschger events and the Younger Dryas. Other changes.Percentage of advancing glaciers in the Alps in the last 80 years The most significant climate processes since the middle to late Pliocene (approximately 3 million years ago) are the glacial and interglacial cycles. faster or more radical changes. Vegetation A change in the type. The study of these ice cores has been a significant indicator of the changes in CO2 over many millennia. distribution and coverage of vegetation may occur given a change in the climate. however. responses such as the rise and fall of continental ice sheets and significant sea-level changes helped create the climate.700 years. including Heinrich events. The air trapped in bubbles in the ice can also reveal the CO2 variations of the atmosphere from the distant past. The present interglacial period (the Holocene) has lasted about 11.
provide valuable information about the differences between ancient and modern atmospheric conditions. knowledge of the present climatic range of the different species. Different species of beetles tend to be found under different climatic conditions. . Wide and thick rings indicate a fertile. bogs or river deltas indicate changes in plant communities. Given the extensive lineage of beetles whose genetic makeup has not altered significantly over the millennia. well-watered growing period. and the age of the sediments in which remains are found. Palynology is used to infer the geographical distribution of plant species. past climatic conditions may be inferred. including pollen. Different groups of plants have pollen with distinctive shapes and surface textures. Pollen analysis Palynology is the study of contemporary and fossil palynomorphs. whilst thin. and since the outer surface of pollen is composed of a very resilient material. Insects Remains of beetles are common in freshwater and land sediments. which are dependent on climate conditions. which vary under different climate conditions. Changes in the type of pollen found in different sedimentation levels in lakes. Dendroclimatology Dendroclimatology is the analysis of tree ring growth patterns to determine past climate variations. they resist decay. narrow rings indicate a time of lower rainfall and less-than-ideal growing conditions.