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Environment 10 Terms


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reflectivity; the fraction of radiation striking a surface that is reflected by that surface.
greenhouse forcings
An amount of heat trapped due to a given concentration of greenhouse gases, which can be calculated precisely.
Natural climate variability can be due to:
1. Variation in Sunlight 2. Changes in geology and biology 3. Volcanoes 4. Shifts in Ocean Circulation
Milankovitch cycles
The cycles of the tilt and orbit of Earth. Has 3 aspects: eccentricity, obliquity, and precession.
Eccentricity (Milankovitch Cycles)
The shape of Earth\'s orbit around the sun, changing from more elliptical to more circular and then back again. Shift is every 100,000 years.
Obliquity (Milankovitch Cycles)
The angle of the Earth\'s tilt on its axis. Becomes less and greater, changes slowly and hits extremes every 41,000 years.
Precession (Milankovitch Cycles)
does the Northern or Southern Hemisphere face the sun when Earth is at its farthest point in annual revolution. (Southern summer or northern summer?). Changes every 19,000 to 23,000 years.
Sun Spot Cycle
An 11-year sunspot cycle on the sun that causes the sunlight amount to vary by ~0.1% over the cycle.
Climate change in consideration to positive and negative feedback from Earth.
Geologic records show that climate changes not smoothly but in sudden jumps, due to the balance of positive and negative feedbacks.
Molecules that have a gas phase (carbon, nitrogen, and water) are cycled rapidly on Earth.
Molecules that do not have a gas phase (calcium, phosphorus) cycle much more slowly.
Precipitation patterns
Increasing in: Southern South America, Western North America, Central North America, Eastern North America, Northern Europe, Northern Asia, and Central Asia. Decreasing in: Western Africa, Mediterranean Basin, Southern Africa, and Southern Asia.
Sea level change rate
currently rising about 3 mm/year.
Sea level has already risen 8 inches from anthropogenic (human) influences.
70% of this is from thermal expansion; 30% of this is from glacial melting.
Sea level rise of ~.5 m or more in this century
If West Antarctic ice sheets break up, sea will rise 4-6 m. Ice sheet is on land that is below sea level.
Species movement
80% of 1700 diverse species show movement poleward at an average rate of 61 km/century during the last century (forced by 0.6 C of warming), slightly above the rate of movement in the glacial record (10-45 km/century).
Under thermal stress, colored zooxanthelae leave their coral hosts. Corals start to die within a couple of weeks.
The first bleaching event in the past 18,000 years was in 1970. There have been 4 more since then. Each event kills 70-90% of the local reef.

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