Climate Change

1) Introduction

You here a lot about climate change, on the news, in newspapers, TV shows and books. They are even making films about it. But what do you actually know about Climate Change?

Task 1: What do you already know?

2) What does Climate Change mean for us?

The answer is that we do not know. There are many different scenarios, some much more dramatic than others. £In this section we will be looking at some of the threats posed by climate change. You will also be asked to decide which is the most important.

Start by reading the information from the WWF site below. What threat does each picture show? Who will be affected?

WWF logo.png
Click on the image to find out what the World Wildlife Fund thinks the impacts of climate may be.

The Rhone Glacier: The photo on the left was taken in 1850, the photograph on the right was taken in 2010. What has happened to the glacier? How does this affect us?

Climate change may result in more extreme weather events. This photograph shows flooding after Hurricane Sandy that struck southern and eastern USA in October 2012. It is estimated to have caused $68 billion worth of damage.

Climate change may lead to water shortages in many parts of the world. This will affect food production and water supply. Food will become more expensive. Millions of people will be at risk of famine and may be forced to leave their homes. Where would they go?

Task 2: The impact of climate change

a) Read the information from the WWF website. You will see that they discuss the impact of climate change under four headings. Water, Forests, Food Security and Agriculture.

Set up a word document and put each of these headings at the top of a blank page.

Under the headings write a few sentences to summarise what each heading is refering to. Do not just copy and paste, put the information into your own words.

b) Now add a fifth heading, "People," and see if you can use the knowledge you already have to comment on how climate change will affect people around the world. We will be adding more information to this page later.

c) Look at the images above. Use the internet to find more images that will illustrate the four headings from the WWF site. Insert two images per heading into the document. Make sure you give the images a caption and say where you found the photograph.

The video above is a google earth tour that illustrates the causes and consequences of rising sea levels. We will watch this together in class but you also need to watch it again on your own.

  • Rising Sea Level

c) Add another page to your word document. Give it the title, "Rising Sea Level."
Find a good image to illustrate rising sea level.

d) Under the photograph you are to take notes from the video above. Put your notes under the following headings.
  • The causes of sea level rise.

  • The consequences sea level rise.

Make sure you include place specific references in your notes. This means the names of the places where ice is melting, the names of areas that will be affected by rising sea level and any relevant data such as numbers of people affected.

e) Whilst you are making notes, I would also like you to add the information to a map. I will give you a world map, add as much information to it as you can using the video above. Mark on the worst affected areas as well as the areas where melting ice will contribute to sea level increase.

f) As you learn about sea level change you will realise that many millions of people will be affected. Towns and cities and even entire countries will be flooded, forcing people to leave their homes and jobs. Do some research to find out how many people will be forced to leave their homes as sea level rise affects Bangladesh. Where will they go? What about New York, the Netherlands and the other places mentioned in the video. Where would the people go? Apart from making people homeless, what other affects will sea level rise have on the human population, think about jobs and the economy of countries.

g) One of the problems we have in understanding the issues of climate change is being able to understand how it will affect us as individuals. We will continue to discuss this throughout the course but I would now like you to use the information you have to comment on how each of the four impacts can have an impact on you. Add a subheading towards the bottom of each page that asks, "How this will affect me." Beneath the subheading write a few sentences to each page that begins to discuss this.


The Effects of Climate Change:

Click here for larger version

f) Open up a larger version of the class tools site above. In each box, add a short note on each of the effects. Use page 73 in your text book to help you.

g) Once you have done this, rearrange the boxes to show what you think their relative importance is. The most important at the top, least important at the bottom.

  • Why is this unit called Climate Change and not Global Warming?

Using the information you have gathered so far, I would like you to write a couple of paragraphs answering the question above. In order to do this properly you answer must contain examples that illustrate why we refer to climate change rather than global warming.

  • Is there an argument for calling it Global Warming?

3) What's the Greenhouse Effect and what does Climate Change actually mean?


Task 3: The Greenhouse Effect

a) Open the word document used for tasks 1-4 and add a new title, "Climate change and the Greenhouse Effect." Insert the diagram above into the document.

b) Beneath the diagram write a few sentences explaining what the Greenhouse effect is and what is causing it.

You might find the explanation in the video below easier to understand than mine. It is from Al Gore's, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Remember not to use the phrase Global warming as this video does. Hey nothings perfect.

The Composition of the Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Gases

Almost all of the Earth's atmosphere (99%) is made up of nitrogen (about 78%) and oxygen (about 21%). While both of these gases play important roles in the vast number of processes that support life on Earth, they play almost no direct role in regulating the climate. This is carried out by some of the trace gases in the remaining 1% of the atmosphere which occur in relatively small amounts:

Task 4: Atmospheric Pie

a) You are going to create a pie chart that shows the composition of the atmosphere using the data above. You can group the trace gases together in this pie chart.

b) Use the instructions on this BBC Bitesize page to help you draw the pie chart.

blank pie chart.png
Click on the image to go to a printable pie chart template.

c) Once you have drawn your pie chart, have a go at using excel to produce a similar pie chart that you can add to your word document. When using excel, you should use the actual % for each of the trace gases. You can find out the exact %'s here.

composition of atmosphere.PNG

d) Put a new title into your word document, "The Composition of the Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Gases."

e) Beneath the title, insert your excel pie chart and give it a suitable title.

f) Use the links below to write a couple of sentences about each of the gases in the atmosphere. What is its role in the atmosphere? How is it important to life on earth?

More about CO2

Task 5: Where does the CO2 come from?

CO2 producers.jpg

Task 6: Answer the following questions using the video below.

1) Which country had the highest Co2 emmisions in 1800?

2) Why do you think this country had the highest emissions? What was happening there?

3) What was the annual CO2 emssion in 1800?

4) By how much had this annual emission increased by 1900?

5) By 1900, which regions of the world are producing the most CO2? Be as specific as possible.

6) By how much have global CO2 emissions increased between 1900 and 2000?

7) Describe the change in the global pattern of CO2 between 1900 and 2000. Which countries have seen the greatest increase in CO2 emissions.

Data from World Bank

Task 7: Why have Co2 emissions increased.

1) Click on the graph below and watch the animation.

2) What is meant by GDP/Capita? Look it up and write an exact definition, you need to memorize this.

3) What happens to CO2 emission as GDP/capita increases? Give examples to illustrate your answer.

4) Why do you think this relationship between wealth and CO2 emissions occurs?

5) Are countries becoming wealthier or poorer?

6) What impact may this trend have on CO2 emissions if it is allowed to continue?

CO2 against income gapminder graph.PNG

Can we prevent Climate Change? Can we reduce its impact?