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Climate change

Topic: Climate change

Sub topic: Insolation, radiation and the role of
greenhouse gases in heating the earth

 Climate is influenced by the amount of solar energy or

insolation obtained from the sun. The energy passes
through various layers before reaching the atmosphere,
which is the layer above the earth `s surface.
 The atmosphere is like a thin blanket of gases that protects the earth from
solar radiation (direct heat from the sun) . When the sun` s rays reach the
earth `s atmosphere, some of them are absorbed by the clouds and are
reflected back into space. The remainder reach the earth` s surface and
warm it.

 Heat from the earth` s surface rises and warms the air around us (it is this
heat that influences weather and climate). Some of the heat that rises
escapes back into space as infrared radiation and some of it is trapped by
the atmosphere. It is the trapped heat that keeps us warm. This is the
natural greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect
Some of the gases in the atmosphere , for example, carbon dioxide,
methane and water vapour, form a blanket around the earth and trap heat,
just like the glass of a greenhouse. This is referred to as the greenhouse
effect and the gases that cause this are called greenhouse gases. The
greenhouse effect is a process by which the earth is kept warm. However,
if the concentration of greenhouse gases increases, more heat is trapped
and temperatures rise, causing global warming.
The Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse gases
The main greenhouse gases and their sources are:

 Carbon dioxide (Co2) : Burning of fossil fuels, solid waste and wood, deforestation resulting in less carbon
dioxide being removed from the atmosphere.

 Methane (CH4): Decay of organic matter, raising of livestock, extraction of fossil fuels, rice cultivation.

 Nitrous oxide (N20): Use of nitrogen fertilisers, burning of fossil fuels and wood.

 Ozone (03): Air pollution

 Chlorofluorocarbons (Halocarbons) (CFC): used for packaging foam, some aerosol sprays and refrigeration.
Global warming
Global warming is a rise in the average
global temperatures caused by man-
made increase in the level of
greenhouse gases. (Stop)
Human activities that contribute to global warming and influence climate

Both industrial and domestic activities produce and expel excess

greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of
the most common greenhouse gases. It comes from:
 Burning of fossil fuels- oil, coal and natural gas. Large
amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted daily from factories,
motor vehicles and the clearing of forest (deforestation) and
the production of power from fossil fuels.
The effects of climate change and global warming on the Caribbean

 Rising sea levels will flood low- lying islands

and countries, destroy beaches and threaten
hotels and the tourist industry.
 The warming of the Caribbean sea is causing
`bleaching` of coral reefs which are important
for tourism and fishing.
The effects of climate change and global warming on the Caribbean

 As oceans get warmer, tropical storms

could become more violent and
hurricanes could produce more powerful
 Increased evaporation, lower rainfall
could hold back crop growth.
Hurricane Maria destruction in Puerto Rico
Damage to St Georges
after Hurricane Ivan
Impact of a storm surge
The consequences of climate change in the USA
Agriculture and fisheries
 Severe warming, floods and drought may reduce crop
 Livestock may be at risk from heat stress and from
reduced quality of their food supply.
 Fisheries may be affected by changes in water
The consequences of climate change in the USA
 Mountain and arctic ecosystems and species
are particularly sensitive to climate change as
they do not have areas where they can seek
 Projected warming could greatly increase the
rate of species extinction.
The consequences of climate change in the USA
 Climate change may change the frequency of
wildfires, storms, insect outbreaks and the
occurrence of invasive species.
 Forests may change from being productive thus
limiting the amount of carbon dioxide in the
Wild fire in the United States of America
The consequences of climate change in the USA
 Climate change is likely to damage roads, bridges,
railroads from more severe storms and higher storm
 Climate change may allow some diseases to spread
more easily.
 Sea level rise could erode and drown coastal areas
and vegetation.
CXC Summary on the consequences of climate change in the Caribbean and either United
States of America (USA) or the United Kingdom (UK)

 Sea level rise- examples of increased incidence of

coastal flooding.
 Impacts on coral reefs
 Impacts on coastal wetlands and settlements
 Changes in weather patterns and their impacts
Measures to reduce the effects of climate change in the caribbean, USA/ UK

We need to do the following:

 Raise environmental awareness through education
 Create laws to protect the environment, for example, impose stricter
penalties for removing trees, or reward efforts to replant
 Recycle and reduce waste
Measures to reduce the effects of climate change in the caribbean, USA/ UK

Find alternative sources of energy, for example, renewable
sources like hydro, solar and tidal power
 Raise consumer awareness, encouraging people to refuse to
buy some products
 Improve domestic use of energy, eg, conserving electricity.
Measures to reduce the effects of climate change in the caribbean, USA/ UK

Improve public transport so as to reduce the use of

private vehicles
Practise sustainable forestry , for example, Guyana
has negotiated a US$250m REDD+ agreement.
CSEC Geography Examination questions (Test 2)
 Define the following terms:
 Global warming (2 marks)
 Insolation (2 marks)
 Discuss THREE ways in which global warming may have an
impact on the Caribbean. (6 marks)
 Describe THREE measures taken by the Caribbean/ USA to
reduce the impact of climate change. (6 marks)
CSEC Geography Examination questions (Test 2)
 What is meant by the term greenhouse effect? (3 marks)
 Describe THREE major causes of global warming. (4
 List THREE main green house gases (3 marks)
END- Good luck!