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Flashcards in Carnon And Climate Change Deck (23)
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How is CO2 released into the air naturally?

Photosynthetic activity in plants converts CO2 into glucose. Plants then make complex biomacromolecules (polysaccharides, proteins etc)
Plants retire releasing CO2, animals eat plants and store some CO2 as biomass, animals respire
De composers release CO2 from excreta and dead animals

1

What is the difference in tropic and temperate conditions regarding carbon?

Tropics - cycling proceeds very rapidly and carbon does not build up in soils
Temperate - cycling is slower and carbon can build up as humus in the soil or as peat in colder regions

2

Where does most carbon exist in our planet and how much carbon is circulating?

In sedimentary rocks as calcium carbonate within limestone. Amount circulating is around 0.06%of the total carbon on our planet

3

How much carbon is in circulation in Gt? And how much of this is because of fossil fuels?

55,000 Gt
10,000Gt from fossil fuels around 20%

4

Other than fossil fuels what contributes what a,punt to circulating carbon?

Oceans - 40,000 Gt (as carbonate, bicarbonate ions)
Oceanic organisms - 3Gt
Dead organisms (oceanic) - 1500Gt
Dead organisms terrestrial - 1500Gt
Terrestrial organisms - 500Gt
Atmosphere - 750Gt

5

How is carbon fixing balanced in natural systems?

Decomposition and respiration

6

How much has the concentration of CO2 rose in the last 50 years?

30% from 315ppm to 398ppm (2014)
Atmosphere is 0.04% CO2

7

What are fossil fuels?

Formed 50-350 million years ago
Coals, oils and gasses
Non-renewable

8

Who are the biggest contributors to the increase in atmospheric CO2?

Europe (20%), North America (25%), China (30%)
Developing continents are increasing emissions
Per person oil rich low population countries are biggest polluters eg Qatar 10t/person/yr

9

What makes CO2 a greenhouse gas?

Does not absorb short wave radiation from the sun but does absorb long radiation re-radiated from our planet

10

What is the average planetary temperature with and without CO2?

15 degrees with -5 degrees without

11

What other greenhouse gasses are there?

Methane, CFCs, NO, Ozone, SO2

12

Why is CO2 The most talked about greenhouse gas?

It has the highest global warming potential of 60% with methane being next closest with 25%

13

How much has the temperature increased in the last 100years?

0.5 degrees

14

What are the predicted impacts associated with increased atmospheric carbon levels?

Change in average planetary temperature
Global ocean currents affected
Melting ice caps and flooding
More unpredictable and undesirable weather patterns
Spread of tropical diseases
Effects on net productivity of plants

15

How would the ocean currents change?

Cold water in North Atlantic sinks and pulls warmer water northward, warmer waters release heat that then Warms our climate
Conveyor is driven by cold salty water sinking and flowing to the tropics
Global warming melts polar ice which dilutes the North Atlantic
If this current slows down Northern Europe and North East America may become a lot colder

16

Dangers of melting ice caps?

18,000 years ago (last glacial maximum) seas were 100m lower than present
In,sat century sea levels rose by 1.8m
Current predictions suggest another 1m rise in next 100 years
If all the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic melted it would raise global sea levels by about 100m

17

How does rising CO2 result in unpredictable weather?

Circulating weather systems over water are referred to as cyclones (Indian Ocean), typhoons (Pacific Ocean) and hurricanes (Atlantic Ocean)
Ranked on a scale depending on wind speed (4&5 have winds> 130 and 150mph
Require sea surface temperatures over 26degrees Celsius
Warmer oceans are resulting in more category 4 and 5 hurricanes

18

How will warmer weather increase tropical diseases?

Mosquitoes thrive in warm weather and have the potential to spread malaria
Other parasites that thrive in warm weathers have the potential to spread disease

19

How does rising CO2 affect plants?

Photosynthesis will increase in carbon rich environment and plants will grow larger but there is evidence to suggest that stomata open less slowing the transportation stream meaning they are low in nutrients

20

What is the Kyoto protocol?

Sets targets for the reductions in CO2 emissions by 2012 est. 1997
Legally binding when 55 countries accounting for 55% of developed worlds emissions have ratified
Russia joined in 2004 and protocol is in force by 2005
Expires 2012
Talks to be held in Paris 2015 for new commitment

21

What is Scotland doing to cut emissions?

Overall contribution to greenhouse gas is 0.2% of global total
Scotland has only 0.07% of world population
Scottish government aiming to reduce emissions
Expanding output from renewable sources ie. Windfarms
Loans for energy efficiency measures, more recycling less waste generation
Funding for conversion of vehicles to LPG, rural transport fund
Grants for energy efficient households
Planting trees to act as carbon sinks

22

Evidence for climate change in Scotland?

Average temperatures have increased in all regions in last 100 years
Growing season has become longer for agriculture
Winter rainfall has begun to increase in all areas
Frost and snow during winter are becoming less common