Global Climate Change

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Global Climate Change

Global Climate Change What you need to know

A1B Scenario

Evidence that this will occur in the next 100 yrs

Is there evidence to refute this scenario?

Researchers try to predict what our world will be like over the next 10-50+ years. They base these predictions on past trends in energy use, CO2 emission levels, population and economic growth, and technology trends. While these scenarios are by no means a guarantee of what will happen, they do give us several possible outcomes depending on the path that humans follow. Keep in mind that the final determination of how things proceed is YOU. One possible scenario is called A1B where the B stands for balanced energy use. The A1B scenario has a positive population growth curve until the year 2050, when the population reaches 9 billion people. At that time the population begins to slowly decline, demonstrating a negative population growth curve. The economy of the A1B scenario is one that is quickly growing. This is due in part to the development and spread of new technologies that help make life and its processes more efficient. In this scenario nations interact in a social, cultural, and economic way so that all peoples within in a geographic region benefit. In our A1B scenario, the energy source is balanced, so that both fossil fuel and non-fossil fuel technology is utilized.

Many of the predictions for this set of scenarios are reasonable and can be supported. There are a few areas where the evidence suggests a different set of predictions. Some countries, like Denmark and Germany, plan to be completely dependent on renewable energy by the year 2050. While this is a worthwhile objective, there are some critical aspects of daily life that may not be produced by green technology, including our dependence on plastic and synthetic fibers/material. The world population prediction may also be incorrect as shown in the World Population 2300 report from the UN. Rather than continuing to indefinitely climb, the world population will fluctuate around the 9 billion mark due to changes in replacement fertility rate and mortality rate. Some countries like the US may see an increase in population, not due to births, but due to immigration. Overall the A1 series of scenarios appears to be an accurate representation of future life.

By 2050, most industrialized nations, including the US and countries in Europe, will have declining fertility rates, resulting in a negative population growth (population decline) as some European countries currently exhibit, like Russia and Germany. Despite increased life expectancy and increasing fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, there is a risk that as the population continues to grow there will be higher mortality rates in these regions. This is attributed to an increased demand on food production that will continue to lead to famine and malnutrition..Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an international accounting firm, used data from the World Bank, to create a set of predictions for the global economy in the year 2050. Their findings include that emerging economies (including China, India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey) will overtake the economies of the highly developed nations of the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Canada. This would reverse a previous trend, begun when the industrial revolution started, so that the economic power of the globe becomes more balanced. The technology of the future is a bit harder to predict as it is currently growing by leaps by bounds each year. Consider the changes of the last decade which include increased cell phone use and ability, digital music players, and the development of the “4G” network allowing us to surf the web from our phones or iPads. Some predictions include that “the cloud” will hold all of our information while others include that people will work in space communities.It is evident, based on declining reserves of fossil fuels, that green energy sources need to be implemented in order for life to be sustained at its current level. This refers to the energy used to power our homes, cars and businesses; we are not referring to all of the items that are made from petroleum products. Predictions for 2050 include that nearly 80% of the power supplied to the US could be from wind and solar energy. In addition, IBM launched a Computational Biology Center to research green technology based on the idea of harnessing photosynthesis in order to build solar cells and develop other environmentally friendly fuels.But it is not only the US who is looking to be greener in their energy production. Other countries including Denmark, India, and Germany, who is already a world leader in using alternative energy sources, predict to increase their use of renewable energy. A more realistic prediction is that we can be 80% reliant on renewable energies using the technology that is currently available.One way to bring nations together on a regional level is through microfinance. Microfinance is where small loans are sent to women in developing nations in order to help them open a business/provide for their families. As a result of empowering these women to become a provider, these women teach their children, especially daughters, the value of hard work and education. This will in turn allow the next generation to have even more opportunities, to delay marriage which will result in a lower fertility rate and increase the economic structure of their country. Microfinance is a global movement to help take people from poverty to a level where they have enough to live. It is one way to bring people from developed nations into the lives of people in developing nations. Along with education, on reproduction and other issues, microfinance will allow the developing nations to move forward away from poverty and hunger. On the surface these are local or regional issues. The reality is that they are quickly becoming global issues that cross national boundaries.

Economic changes that should take place for A1B to occur - paying full price at the pump for gasoline- eliminating susbsidies for gasoline and other fossil fuels. Social changes that could help - lessen our desire for material objects - investing in green technologies today Environmental, and/or technological changes - move away from using coal to generate electricity - design more efficient ways to trap carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants- improving hydrogen cell technology - improving battery storage capabilities

Earth's Energy Budget

Mitigation & Adaptation

Carbon Footprint

How It Ends


Key Uncertainties of Climate Forcings- amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs) in years to come - amount and type of aerosols that are releasedKey Feedbacks - how does the ocean respond to increasing CO2 levels- how Earth's albedo changes in response to decreasing the amount of snow and ice and potentially increasing amount of dirt and soot on the ice- how will photosynthesizing biota respond to the changes.

Why all the Talk?

Get Involved

Greenhouse Effect

Population Projections

Guaranteed Outcome

Emission Scenarios

Global Climate Change… Is this a real problem?

Key Indicators






Think about the weather you’ve been experiencing this year. Were temperatures warmer or cooler than recent years? Was it wetter (more rain and snow) or drier (more droughts)? Now think about how the weather has been overthe last few years in your area. When scientists study the trends in weather over a period of time what they’re really studying is the climate. In 2012 alone there have been more heat waves and droughts across the US than in previous years. Even NOAA (the weather people) link this year’s drought to global climate change. This is not just a one-time situation, data shows that the average temperature of the planet is rising, and not just in the US. Why is that? Let’s take a look and see if we can figure out why. Click on the green “The Greenhouse Effect”button and read over what the greenhouse effect is. Then click on the yellow “Earth’s Energy Budget” from NASA and review the Earth’s main source of heat energy.

There’s a lot more going on here than just sunlight and a few gases in the atmosphere. Check out what other evidence scientists have to support the idea of global climate change (or GCC) by clicking on the yellow “Evidence” button. In order to be able to design a solution to GCC there are a few more things you’ll need to understand. GCC is affected by two broad types of factors: forcings and feedbacks. Forcings are things in nature that start the climate change process; one example is solar irradiance (the energy we get from the sun). Feedbacks are processes that result from a change in a forcing and cause additional climate changes. Feedbacks can be positive (causing increased warming of the planet) or negative (reducing the previous warming of the planet). Feedbacks include the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, the amount of cloud cover, and the amount of aerosol particulates in the air. Read more about these uncertainties by clicking on the yellow “Uncertainties” button

Now we need your help. The future of our planet isn’t decided yet. The decisions we make and the ideas we develop will influence what other climate changes our planet experiences. By now you’ve read about what started the planet’s warming and what is accelerating this process today. We’ve talked about things that are out of our control (like the formation of clouds and the amount of solar irradiance) but we also know that there are thinks like changes in technology,energy use, economics, the environment, and more that can slow down the process of global climate change. The A1B is just one possible scenario for what might happen. Are there others? Yes, and the common thread is that our choices today and our decisions tomorrow will determine our planet’s future.”

To demonstrate what you’ve learned about Global Climate Change we want you to pick one or two changes that you feel have the potential to make a significant impact on GCC and discuss them. Support your explanations with data you learned on this site or from any reputable online resource. Be sure to follow our class guidelines for identifying a reliable and scientifically valid website. We’ll go over in class the requirements for the assignment, but be creative! Some options include producing a video,prezi, powerpoint, storybook, poster, or…you tell us your idea. The most important thing is have fun and show us what you’ve learned. This isn’t the end…it’s just the beginning. Check out the video link “How it all End” to see how you can make a difference.

- How are incoming and outgoing radiation different?- Give an example that shows that you know that land and ocean can absorb energy from the sun?- What is the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases?

Environmental Benefits

Steroids & Climate

Green Power by 2050

Big Questions

Design it - Build it!Your challenge is to build a passive solar heater that will heat air higher than any other heater built by your fellow classmates" Constraints: The only materials that the teacher will supply are cardboard boxes, black paper, tape, glue, scissors, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, thermometers, plastic bottles, water, and beakers. Brainstorm: With your partners brainstorm on possible ways the materials could be use. Generate: Come up with several possible designs for your heater. Explore Possibilities: Present your ideas to your partners. Select Your Approach: Pick a design or combine several ideas. Build a prototype: Build your model and test it. Refine your design: Based on your results, suggest ways your model could be improved.


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