Skip to content

Climate change

1320_effects-image

Key idea Specification content
Climate change is the result of natural and human factors, and has a range of effects.

 

Evidence for climate change from the beginning of the Quaternary period to the present day.

Possible causes of climate change: • natural factors – orbital changes, volcanic activity and solar output • human factors – use of fossil fuels, agriculture and deforestation.

Overview of the effects of climate change on people and the environment.

Managing climate change involves both mitigation (reducing causes) and adaptation (responding to change). Managing climate change: • mitigation – alternative energy production, carbon capture, planting trees, international agreements • adaptation – change in agricultural systems, managing water supply, reducing risk from rising sea levels

Climate change refers to significant and long-lasting changes to the weather systems of our planet. Evidence for these changes can be seen across our climate system including increased temperatures, shrinking glaciers and reducing Arctic sea ice. (GeoActive)

Objective – to understand that climate change is the result of natural and human factors, and has a range of effects.

Within scientific journals, global warming refers to surface temperature increases while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas levels affect. A related term is “climatic change“.

Readings

Read the following GeoActive worksheet and answer the questions that follow.

Read the Wiki article on climate change

Objectiveto provide evidence for climate change from the beginning of the Quaternary period to the present day.

Reading

Six irrefutable pieces of evidence that prove climate change is real

Use the PowerPoint below (TES) – four pieces of evidence will provided namely, rising sea levels, temperature record, melting ice sheets and ice cores.

Lesson-1—Evidence-for-and-Causes-of-Climate-Change

Objective – to understand the possible causes of climate change:

Watch the embedded BBC video on climate change

• natural factors – orbital changes, volcanic activity and solar output

volcano

• human (anthropogenic) factors – use of fossil fuels, agriculture and deforestation.

human causes

The word document (below) is to be used in conjunction with the text book.

Climate change causes – natural and human

The greenhouse and the enhanced greenhouse effect

“ Our planet is only able to support life as we know it because of the greenhouse effect.” (GeoActive)

Natural Vs Human Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Additional – how can tree rings provide evidence of climate change? CLUE 

Objective – to understand effects of climate change on people and the environment.

Global climate change will affect people and the environment in many ways. Some of these impacts, like stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves, could be life threatening. Others, like spreading weeds, will be less serious. And some effects, like longer growing seasons for crops, might even be good! However, as the Earth keeps getting warmer, the negative effects are expected to outweigh the positive ones.

cc-impacts-in-Europe.png

Objective – To understand that managing climate change involves both mitigation (reducing causes) and adaptation (responding to change).

Click on the link below for the worksheet for the following this objective:

Climate change – managing

Managing climate change:

mitigation – alternative energy production, carbon capture, planting trees, international agreements. (mitigation = the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.)

renewable_energy

Case study: changing energy use in UK

The UK government wants to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. It also wants to increase the amount of energy which comes from renewable sources.

By 2020 European Union targets state that 20% of energy must come from renewable sources. Each member state of the EU may have a different target, as 20% is an average figure for the EU.

The UK has a target of 15% of its energy consumption being sourced from renewable energy. (In 2009 only 3% of energy came from renewable sources in the UK). Sweden has a target of nearly 50% whereas Malta has a target of 10%.

The EU also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.

There are two ways the energy use can change in the UK:

  • Reducing the demand for energy
  • Increasing the supply of renewable energy

Reducing energy demand

The demand for energy in the UK varies. This is because of:

  • Economic factors: For example during the recession energy demand did not increase as predicted
  • Seasonal factors: For example the demand for domestic energy over winter is greater than over the summer.
  • Temporal factors: For example at night there is surplus energy on the national grid because demand is lower

Regulations have forced vehicles to become more energy-efficient and give off less atmospheric pollution. The government has also continued to increase fuel and road taxes. Even so, the use of transport is rising so fast that the amount of CO2 given off by transport vehicles continues to rise.

There are also incentives to save energy – for example grants are available to help make a home more energy efficient.

Renewable power

Wind

UK power companies are now investing hundreds of millions of pounds in renewable power. The greatest amount of renewable energy in the UK comes from wind generation. In 2010 the world’s largest offshore wind farm was opened in Thanet, on the Thames estuary.

Biomass

Production of energy from biomass is expanding. In 2011 a new biomass energy centre was opened in Chilton, Durham. The supply of energy for biomass is more predictable than other forms of renewable energy. However people are concerned about how sustainable the sourcing of biomass is.

Wave and tidal

Energy from wave and tidal power could be developed more.

adaptation – change in agricultural systems, managing water supply, reducing risk from rising sea levels. (adaption – the action or process of adapting or being adapted – change or alter).

Adapting to climate change. Adaptation is the principal way to deal with the impacts of a changing climate. It involves taking practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities and strengthen the resilience of the economy. Adaptation refers to dealing with the impacts of climate change.

thames barrier

Adaption – changes in agriculture, managing water supply and reducing risk from sea level rises.

Readings

Read the following worksheet: Sea-level change – impacts and consequences (GeoActive)

Guarding against sea levels rising – read the article  – Four Ways to Guard Against Sea Level Rise

sea levels

Exam questions

Click on the link (below) for examples of exam questions:

Exam type question

Climate-Kiribati-slide-V1X0-jumbo

 

%d bloggers like this: