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History of Earths Climate

Earth formed ~4.6 billion years ago


Originally very hot
Suns energy output only 70% of present
Liquid water present ~4.3 billion years ago
(zircon dating)
Much of earths early history erased during
late heavy bombardment (~3.9 billion years
ago)

History of Earths Climate


Life appeared ~3.8 billion years ago
Photosynthesis began 3.5-2.5 billion
years ago
Produced oxygen and removed carbon
dioxide and methane (greenhouse gases)
Earth went through periods of cooling
(Snowball Earth) and warming

Earth began cycles of glacial and


interglacial periods ~3 million years
ago

Solar Temperature
Earths
Sun

Energy
Solar
Energy

Earths Temperature
Sun

Solar
Energy

Radiative
Cooling

Earths Temperature

Solar

Sun

Energy

Radiative
Cooling

Earths Temperature
Sun
Solar
Energy

Radiative
Cooling

Sun

Greenhouse Effect

Earths Atmospheric Gases


Nitrogen (N2)
Oxygen (O2)
Argon (Ar)

NonGreenhouse
>99%
Gases

Water (H2O)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Methane (CH4)

Greenhouse
<1%
Gases

Sun

Runaway Greenhouse Effect

97% carbon dioxide


3% nitrogen
Water & sulfuric
acid clouds
Temperature:
860F

Venus

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon (109 metric tons)

Worldwide Carbon Emissions


8
7
6
5

Total
Liquid fuel
Solid fuel
Gas fuel

4
3
2
1
0
1750

1800

1850
1900
Year

1950

2000

Future Carbon Dioxide Levels


Increasing CO2 emissions, especially in
China and developing countries
Likely to double within 150 years:
Increased coal usage
Increased natural gas usage
Decreased petroleum usage (increased
cost and decreasing supply)

Past Temperatures

Main Ocean Currents

Adapted from IPCC SYR Figure 4-2

Temperature History of the Earth


For the past 3 million years, the earth
has been experiencing ~100,000 year
long cycles of glaciation followed by
~10,000 year long interglacial periods
These climate periods are largely the
result of cycles in the earths orbit
precession, obliquity, and eccentricity

Orbital Parameters: Precession

Apehelion

Perihelion

Temperature History of the Earth


For the past 3 million years, the earth
has been experiencing ~100,000 year
long cycles of glaciation followed by
~10,000 year long interglacial periods
Last ice age began to thaw 15,000
years ago, but was interrupted by the
Younger Dryas event 12,900 years
ago

Temperature History of the Earth


Middle Pliocene (3.15 to 2.85 million mya)
Temperatures: 2C higher than today.
20C higher at high latitudes
1C higher at the Equator

Sea levels were 100 ft higher


Causes
CO2 levels that were 100 ppm higher
Increased thermohaline circulation

Temperature History of the Earth


Eocene (41 million years ago)
Opening of the Drake Passage
(between South America and
Antarctica).
Increased ocean current exchange
Strong global cooling
First permanent glaciation of Antarctica
~34 million years ago

Consequences of
Global Warming

Ice Sheets Melting?


GRACE (gravity measured by satellite)
found melting of Antarctica equivalent
to sea level rise of 0.4 mm/year (2
in/century)
Zwally, 2005 (satellite radar
altimetry)
confirmed Antarctica melting
Greenland ice melting on
exterior, accumulating inland
(higher precipitation)

Melting Glaciers Mt. Kilimanjaro

Rise in Sea Levels?


Present rate is 1.8 0.3 mm/yr (7.4
in/century)
Accelerating at a rate of 0.013 0.006
mm/yr2
If acceleration continues, could result
in 12 in/century sea level rise
Scenarios claiming 1 meter or more
rise are unrealistic

Increase in Hurricanes?
Two studies showed the total number
of hurricanes has not changed
However, the intensity of hurricanes
has increased (more category 4 and 5
hurricanes and cyclones)
Probably due to higher sea surface
temperatures (more energy)
Difficult to know if this trend will
continue

How Much Temperature


Increase?
Some models propose up to 9C
increase this century
Two studies put the minimum at 1.5C
and maximum at 4.5C or 6.2C
Another study puts the minimum at
2.5C

Wildlife Effects
Polar Bears
Require pack ice to live
Might eventually go extinct in the wild

Sea turtles
Breed on the same islands as
their birth
Could go extinct on some islands
as beaches are flooded

Other species may go extinct as rainfall


patterns change throughout the world

Effect on Humans
Fewer deaths from cold, more from
heat
Decreased thermohaline circulation
Cooler temperatures in North Atlantic

CO2 fertilization effect


Precipitation changes
Droughts and famine (some areas)
Expanded arable land in Canada, Soviet Union

Potential Worldwide Precipitation


Changes

-50

-20

-10

-5

10

20

50

Drought in Africa
Lake Faguibine

Lake Chad

Possible Solutions to
Global Warming

Mitigation of Global Warming


Conservation
Reduce energy needs
Recycling

Alternate energy sources

Nuclear
Wind
Geothermal
Hydroelectric
Solar
Fusion?

Storage of CO2 in Geological Formations


1.
2.
3.
4.

Depleted oil and gas reservoirs


CO2 in enhanced oil and gas recovery
Deep saline formations (a) offshore (b) onshore
CO2 in enhanced coal bed methane recovery

3a

3b

Adapted from IPCC SRCCS Figure TS-7

Global Warming Myths

Mt. Kilimanjaro Glaciers are Melting


Because of Global Warming

Sea Levels Will Rise 5-6 ft?


Present rate is 1.8 0.3 mm/yr (7.4
in/century)
Accelerating at a rate of 0.013 0.006 mm/yr2
If acceleration continues, could result in 12
in/century sea level rise
Scenarios claiming 1 meter or more rise are
unrealistic
Recently, the California State Lands
Commission said that sea levels could rise
55 inches this century, inundating ports

How Much Temperature


Increase?
Global warming alarmists propose up
to 9C increase this century
Two studies put the minimum at 1.5C
and maximum at 4.5C or 6.2C
Another study puts the minimum at
2.5C