- Slides: 39
Introduction to Climate Change
In this module: • Weather, climate and climate change are explained. • International, regional and national agencies focussing on climate change are explored. • We also consider the many causes of climate change and the evidence that proves that the climate is indeed changing.
Weather, Climate and Climate Change
Weather, Climate and Climate Change • Weather is the day to day conditions in a particular place.
Weather, Climate and Climate Change • Climate describes the average weather conditions in a particular place over an extended period of time.
Weather, Climate and Climate Change • Climate Variability • Climate variability means that from time to time some summers are colder than others and some years have more precipitation. • So if climate variability is year-to-year variation, what is climate change? • Climate Change • Climate change is a long-term continuous change (increase or decrease) to average weather conditions (e. g. average temperature) OR the range of weather (e. g. more frequent and severe extreme storms.
Weather, Climate and Climate Change • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change defines climate change as: • “A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. ”
Causes of Climate Change
What Causes Climate Change There a number of natural phenomena that can cause changes in the weather over long periods. • Solar radiation • The sun goes through periods of high and low activity, emitting more or less radiation. When there are many sunspots we can expect a warmer period • The earth’s rotation • The earth’s axis varies between 22° and 24° over about 41, 000 years. When the angle is closer to 24° the summers become warmer and the winters colder. • Earth’s axis and seasons (http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=3 e. Fq. ZWX 8 n To)
What Causes Climate Change • Volcanic activity • The greenhouse effect • The layer of gases that surrounds the earth creates a liveable atmosphere for life on earth. These greenhouse gases act like the glass of a greenhouse; keeping life on earth at the right temperature. • Eruptions spew sulphur dioxide (SO 2) gas, water vapour, dust, and ash, high into the atmosphere, which can cool the earth by blocking incoming radiation from the sun. • Green House Effect https: //youtu. be/VYMj. Sule 0 Bw
What Causes Climate Change • Unfortunately, the activities of humans are increasing the amount or concentration of these greenhouse gases (GHG), resulting in more heat being trapped leading to climate change.
Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change • In the current discussion of climate change, the GHG of major concern is carbon dioxide (CO 2) • For 10, 000 years CO 2 concentration in the atmosphere was about 280 ppm (parts per million), in 1959 it was 316 ppm and as of August 2016 it stood at 404. 07 ppm • Time series: https: //youtu. be/q. HPy. SFHedxk
Changes in Land Use • Land-use changes, such as the cutting down of forests to create farmland, have changed the amount of sunlight reflected from the ground back into space. The trees that are lost can no longer absorb CO 2. When trees are burned the carbon they stored is released into the atmosphere as CO 2.
Climate Change: International, Regional And National Agencies
Climate Change: International, Regional And National Agencies • As climate change affects the entire globe, there is an international treaty that sets general goals and rules for confronting climate change. • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) • The Kyoto Protocol • There also international, regional and national agencies that set policy, conduct research and take action to mitigate against or adapt to the changes: • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) • The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) • Ministry of Environment and Drainage
Current Evidence of Climate Change
Current Evidence of Climate Change • The IPCC has concluded that there is a more than 90% probability that human-produced greenhouse have caused much of the observed increase in the Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years. • The body of data collected by scientists over many years reveals the signals of a changing climate and that the global evidence for warming of the climate system is indisputable.
Global Temperature Rise • The Earth has warmed since 1880. The 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest on record, however NASA's data showed that each month in 2016 was the warmest respective month and suggesting that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the hottest year on record. • Progression of changing global surface temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2015 https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=SWPz. Go_C 010&feature=youtu. be
Global Temperature Rise • As the Earth gets warmer there a number of effects, which include: • • • Warming oceans Shrinking ice sheets Declining Arctic sea ice Glacial retreat Decreased snow cover
Warming Oceans • The oceans have absorbed much of the increased heat, with the warming occurring from the surface to a depth of about 2, 300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives. • Video: Oceans of Climate Change provides a look at the effect of climate change on the world’s oceans and the heat capacity of water (http: //climate. nasa. gov/climate_resources/40/)
Shrinking Ice Sheets • Since 2002, Antarctica has been losing about 134 gigatonnes of ice per year, while the Greenland ice sheet has been losing about 287 gigatonnes per year.
Declining Arctic Sea Ice • Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. The Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September and is now declining at a rate of 13. 4% per decade. • Animation: Annual Arctic sea ice minimum from 1979 -2015 (https: //svs. gsfc. nasa. gov/vis/a 000000/a 004435/sea. Ice. W graph_HD_1080 p 30. mp 4).
Glacial Retreat Glaciers are retreating across almost the entire world. • Glacier National Park, USA • Kyetrak Glacier, Tibet • Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Decreased Snow Cover • Satellite observations reveal that not only has the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere decreased over the past 50 years but that the snow is melting earlier • Snow cover in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
Sea Level Rise • When water gets heated it expands; so as global temperatures increase the level of the oceans also increases.
Sea Level Rise • As you saw in the previous sections, the increased temperatures are causing glaciers to melt and that water is also going into the oceans. • Scientists state that the global sea level rose about 17 cm in the last century; however, the rate in the last decade is nearly double that of the last century.
Extreme events • Another concern for us here in Barbados and the Caribbean is extreme weather – storms and hurricanes. As the world has warmed, the odds of more extreme weather events taking place has increased. • Hurricane Matthew, Tomas and Ivan
Extreme events • Evidence of this is already present in the region: • Hurricane season 1995 - Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn • Hurricane Lenny in 1999 caused millions of dollars of damage due to surges • Early rains in Haiti in May 2004 - over 3000 people killed • Hurricane and drought in Cuba in 2004 • Active hurricane season in 2004 (e. g. Hurricane Ivan). • Hurricane Tomas in 2010 resulted in heavy rainfall in Barbados, affected 2500 people and caused $74 M BDS in damage. There were 71 deaths across the Caribbean. • Hurricane Matthew in 2016 reached Category 5 status, and caused widespread destruction on several islands with $10. 5 Billion in damage and the deaths of over 1600 people.
Ocean Acidification • Another major concern for us in Barbados and the Caribbean is increased acidification of our oceans. • The increased CO 2 being absorbed into the oceans leads to a chemical reaction that causes the water of the oceans to become more acidic, having a negative impact on coral reefs.
Conclusion • Long-term effects of climate change will impact our food supply, water resources, infrastructure, ecosystems, and even our own health.
Conclusion • Some of the potential impacts and areas for concern include: • • • Increased water scarcity; Changes in biodiversity; Increased coral bleaching; Increased flooding and erosion; Degradation of groundwater and freshwater resources; and • Degradation of coastal fisheries
Conclusion • According to the IPCC, the effects of climate change on individual regions will vary and will primarily depend on the rate at which levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as well as natural influences on climate. • In the Caribbean, several institutions are working together to produce useful climate information of sufficiently high resolution which will give us an idea of what will happen in our region. • The Providing REgional Climates for Impact Studies (PRECIS) Caribbean Project focuses on how climate change could affect the countries within the Caribbean region • Forecasted regional impacts of global change forecast by the IPCC https: //www 2. usgs. gov/faq/categories/9772/5641
Acknowledgements Funded by Prepared by In association with
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