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Outline the causes of global warming

including the role of greenhouse gases


(carbon dioxide and methane, CH4) in the
greenhouse effect.
Describe the effects of global warming (rising
temperature, changing rainfall patterns and
seasonal cycles) on plants and animals
(distribution of species, development and life
cycles).
Explain the effect of increasing temperature
on the rate of enzyme activity in plants,
animals and micro-organisms.

What is global warming?


The term global warming is often
used in connection with climate change,
but what does it mean?
Global warming refers to the increase
in the Earths temperature due to the
greenhouse effect, which can cause
changes in climate.
However, the term global warming is now being used
to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of
increased emissions of greenhouse gases and other
human activities. This enhanced greenhouse effect may
lead to significant climate change.
Remember, global warming and climate change are not
the same thing and should not be used interchangeably.
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The greenhouse effect

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Three types of data recovered from the Vostok


ice cores over 400 000 years of Earth history.

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Greenhouse gas levels in the Holocene


(from 10 000 years ago).

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Changing levels of atmospheric CO2.

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What is climate change?


Climate change is a natural phenomenon and normally
takes place over several centuries.
The term climate change is being used now to refer to
the current climate. This is because recent scientific
records show that the global climate seems to be
warming up more rapidly than usual.
The average global temperature has
increased by 0.6C in 140 years.
The ten hottest years for the last 100 years
have occurred since 1990.
Scientists have predicted that the climate could
increase by up to 6C in the next 150 years.
What could be causing this, and should we be concerned?
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Impacts of climate change

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Evidence for global warming

Polar ice melt


Glacier retreats
Rising sea levels
Changing weather and ocean current
patterns
Coral bleaching
Other bioindicators
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Changes in the
distribution of organisms
Autumn crocus, an historic record of changing
distribution.

Recognising correlations and


causal relationships

The distributions of parasites causing diseases may


also be affected by climate change.
For example, the dangerous human disease of malaria
is currently described as marching north as the
mosquito begins to re-colonise areas of Europe and the
USA.

Typical of most reptiles, the alligator deposits its eggs


in warm conditions (such as piles of rotting vegetation),
rather than incubating them in nests, as birds do.
In the alligator, relatively low temperatures give
females; higher temperatures give males.
Lizards show this same pattern, turtles the reverse
pattern. And the temperature at which a shift in sex
ratio occurs varies with species, too.

Photosynthesis is a biochemical process involving a


series of interconnected reactions. All these reactions
contribute to the overall rate of the process.