Chapter 21 Atmosphere Spring 2007

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Scientists to monitor local oak savanna November 8, 2003 - Jenni Laidman, Blade Science writer: 

Scientists to monitor local oak savanna November 8, 2003 - Jenni Laidman, Blade Science writer They’re watching the oak savanna breathe. Late yesterday afternoon, a 95-foot tower peeked over the treetops in the Oak Openings Metropark. Soon, researchers will bedeck it with sensitive instruments. Ten times every second, these will record every puff of air the forest encounters: its temperature, its water content, the gases that comprise it. Light, air pressure, wind, and soil - they’re all monitored. When the University of Toledo researchers feed this minutia into computer models, it becomes part of a larger story: The one about missing carbon, global climate change, and the impact of humans on the environment. Dr. Chen wears an orange hard hat as he watches the bright yellow tower rise. The ecology professor has built at least a half dozen of these towers so far. The others are in Washington state and Wisconsin. But it’s the first anyone has put in Ohio. And it connects the state to an international network of climate-change monitors; tall structures like this one all over the world, watching how forests store the most prominent greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide. Released when we burn fossil fuels, carbon dioxide becomes an insulating blanket in our atmosphere, Dr. Chen said. It traps the Earth’s radiant heat, creating the so-called greenhouse effect. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen steadily since World War II. Dr. Jiquan Chen holds a CO2 analyzer that will be placed on the tower being built in Oak Openings Metropark.

Chapters 20 & 21: The Atmosphere and Air Pollution: 

Chapters 20 & 21: The Atmosphere and Air Pollution


Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, Calif. Fresno, Calif. Bakersfield, Calif. Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, Calif. Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas Sacramento-Yolo, Calif. Merced, Calif. Atlanta, Ga. Knoxville, Tenn. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C. Top 10 U.S. Cities with most polluted air (2003) Source: American Lung Association's State of the Air 2003 report.


Special Report March 19, 2007 Thanks to the Clean Air Act, many metro areas have tackled poor air quality, saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars in the process As sunburn victims and Al Gore fans well know, we're short on stratospheric ozone these days. But ozone created near the ground—the primary component of smog—is one of the country's most widespread and most damaging air pollutants. Many metropolitan areas have successfully cracked down on their ground-level ozone problems since the EPA passed the Clean Air Act in 1990. Between 1990 and 2005, ground-level ozone concentration dropped 9.2% on average in the metro areas in which the EPA monitored these data. Los Angeles, CA


Aggressive Reduction of Ozone Orange County, CA, reduced its "bad" ozone levels by 50% during this time period, rising from the worst metro area for air quality to the 39th best, out of 197 metro areas. Seattle and San Diego cut ozone pollution by 43%. Atlantic City, decreased ozone by 37% between 1990 and 2005, and ozone pollution in the New London (Conn.) dropped more than 35%. Many cities and suburbs in the U.S. suffer from high levels of ozone due to the high concentration of motor vehicle traffic and industry in those areas. The metro areas with the highest ozone pollution levels are Danbury, Conn.; New Haven, Conn.; Riverside, Calif.; and Wilmington, Del. Ozone levels are lowest in Honolulu; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; and Bellingham, Wash. Orange County, CA Santa Barbara, CA


Composition of the atmosphere


Fig 20-3. Solar energy balance.


20-4. A convection cell. Driven by solar energy, these cells produce our weather as evaporation and condensation occur in rising air and precipitation results, followed by the sinking of dry air. Horizontal winds are generated in the process.


Satellite images of the central Pacific Ocean from May 25 (upper left) and December 18 (upper right), 1997, showing El Niño conditions, and from June 26, 1998 (lower left), and March 10, 1999, (lower right), showing La Niña conditions. (White is warmest, red is next, and blue is coldest.)


Fig 20-2. The layers of the atmosphere and the ozone shield (left) and the vertical temperature profile (right).


Human-caused sources of air pollution: 1. Ozone


Fig 20-19. Different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Sep 1979: NASA first collected satellite data on ozone levels Sep 1998: Size = 10.5 million miles2. Antarctic ozone hole: Sep 1978 – Sep 2002 Source: NASA [The dark blue shading indicates the hole, an area with at least 20% less ozone than normal] Sep 2000: Size 11.5 million miles2 (largest ever recorded). Sep 2001: Size = 10 million miles2. Sep 2002: Split into two holes (8.1 million miles2). Reduction in size due to stratospheric weather patterns (temperature!).


Fig 20-21. In October 2003, satellites recorded the second-largest-ever ozone hole over Antarctica. The color scale represents ozone concentrations in Dobson units (DU). Areas enclosed by the 220-DU contour (all of the purple regions) are considered to be within the hole. (Source: Earth Observatory, NASA.)

Erosion of the ozone shield will likely cause: 

Erosion of the ozone shield will likely cause a. more microwave radiation to reach the earth's surface. b. a new ice age. c. a stronger greenhouse effect. d. more cases of skin cancer


Other pollutants – Carbon dioxide (CO2) Fig 20-10. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning


20-11. Global carbon cycle. Data are given in GtC (billion metric tons of carbon). Pools are in the boxes, and fluxes are indicated by the arrows.


See also Fig 20-9


Fig 20-19. Different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Fig 20-8. Greenhouse effect – Global warming and cooling


56% 23% 7% 14% Percent contribution to global warming (produced by human activities)


Fig 20-5. Annual mean global surface atmospheric temperatures. The baseline is the 1880-1999 long-term average temperature. The warming trend since 1970 is conspicuous.


Fig 20-6. Past climates as determined from ice cores


Observed changes in global average surface temperature global average sea level rise from tide gauge (blue) and satellite (red) data (c) Northern Hemisphere snow cover for March-April. All changes are relative to corresponding averages for 1961-1990. Smoothed curves represent decadal averaged values while circles show yearly values. The shaded areas are the uncertainty intervals estimated from a comprehensive analysis of known uncertainties (a and b) and from the time series (c). (Source IPCC 2007)


20-14. Anthropogenic and natural climate forcing. Positive and negative forcing from various sources are shown. The balance clearly indicates a net warming effect. The relative level of scientific understanding of the sources is also indicated.


Fig 20-17. 21st Century temperature and sea-level rise (model predictions)


KYOTO PROTOCOL UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE International treaty (1997): 38 industrialized countries pledge to limit net greenhouse gas emissions (relative to a 1990 baseline) by 2010. Follow-up on a 1992 Convention on Climate Change where these limits were voluntary. To take effect, the Protocol must be ratified by at least 55 countries that account for at least 55 % of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions of developed countries. As of 17 April 2007, 170 countries have ratified the protocol (61.6%) The United States has not ratified the Kyoto protocol.

Possible consequences of global warming ….: 

Possible consequences of global warming …. Climate pattern changes Health effects Warming water Ecosystem disruption


3. More intense rainstorms Warmer temperatures increase the energy of the climatic system and lead to more intense rainfall in some areas 1. Warmer temperatures Average temperatures will rise, as will the frequency of heat waves Climate pattern changes

Possible consequences of global warming ….: 

Possible consequences of global warming …. Climate pattern changes Health effects Warming water Ecosystem disruption


Health effects

Possible consequences of global warming ….: 

Possible consequences of global warming …. Climate pattern changes Health effects Warming water Ecosystem disruption


Warming water Melting glaciers, early ice thaw Rising global temperatures will speed melting of glaciers and ice caps, and cause early ice thaw on rivers and lakes. Sea-level rise Increases due to thermal expansion of the oceans and partial melting of glaciers and ice caps. Loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands. Greater risk of flooding in coastal communities and low-lying areas.

Possible consequences of global warming ….: 

Possible consequences of global warming …. Climate pattern changes Health effects Warming water Ecosystem disruption


Ecosystem disruption Ecosystem shifts and species die-off Some species that cannot adapt or migrate die off. Some ecosystems are likely to disappear

Which of the following is/are speculation as opposed to documented fact?: 

Which of the following is/are speculation as opposed to documented fact? a. The carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is increasing. b. Atmospheric levels of infrared absorbing gases other than carbon dioxide are increasing. c. Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation. The recent drought in mid-western North America, Africa, and Australia was caused by the greenhouse effect. All of the above are documented facts


Fig 21-6: Other human-caused sources of air pollution Primary vs. secondary pollutants


Fig 21-3. Industrial and photochemical smog Secondary pollutants are modified into a hazardous form after they have entered the air


Santiago, Chile (1999) Denver, Colorado (no date) Seattle, Washington (no date) Los Angeles, California (2002)


Fig 21-12. Acid deposition


Fig 21-8. 2001 Emissions in the U.S. of five primary air pollutants by source


Fig 21-9. Clean air impacts for six pollutants 1982-2001


Fig 21-23. Trends in automobile emission since the Clean Air Act

Course objectives : 

Course objectives Examine the basic principles that form the foundation for understanding environmental science. Demonstrate how humans are an integral part of nature. Human actions impact our surroundings which, in turn, affects us again. 3. Clarify the application of ecology to solving human population and pollution problems. 4. Identify pollution problems and controls in light of our social, economic, and political system. 5. But, most of all, I wanted to show that science is really common sense and doesn’t have to be boring lab stuff.

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