Atmosphere

Ge-Ge O'Malley
Flashcards by , created over 6 years ago

Environmental Studies Flashcards on Atmosphere, created by Ge-Ge O'Malley on 04/17/2013.

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Ge-Ge O'Malley
Created by Ge-Ge O'Malley over 6 years ago
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Question Answer
Describe the composition of the atmosphere Nitrogen - 78% Oxygen - 21% Carbon Dioxide - 0.004% Other gases - 1%
Which form of Ultra Violet light is considered in ozone depletion? UVB
Why is it difficult to predict the changes associated with global climate change? Some of the changes occur naturally Historical data may be incomplete, unreliable or indirect (e.g.tree rings) Some changes are very slow so cannot be seen directly Changes occur at different rates, in different locations all the time
Which process in the sun releases energy and in what form is it released? Nuclear fusion in the sun releases energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation (made up of visible light, infrared and UV)
Define the greenhouse effect The natural processes by which atmospheric gases allow visible light to pass through, but absorb infrared and UV causing heating
Name a human source of the following greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and CFCs Carbon dioxide - combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation Methane - livestock farming, anaerobic bacteria in paddy fields Nitrogen oxides - Oxygen and Nitrogen react in high temperatures of car exhausts and power stations CFCs - Aerosols, refrigerators, solvents
In which section, or 'sphere', of the atmosphere is the ozone layer found? The stratosphere
How will global climate change affect sea levels and what impact will this have on wildlife? Thermal expansion - the heating of oceans causing the expansion of water and thus rising sea levels Melting land ice - increased temperatures melt ice on land which flows into seas Habitat loss through flooding, increased salinity of estuaries and melting permafrost Contamination of freshwater stores Greater storm damage from larger, more powerful waves
How will global climate change affect climate systems and what impact will this have on wildlife? Wind patterns - changes in velocity, frequency and direction. Rain patterns may be affected by wind distribution Precipitation levels change - higher temperatures increase evaporation/precipitation rates Increased storm damage due to changes in wind speed Flooding/drought in areas due to changes in precipitation
How will global climate change affect El Niño and La Niña and what impact will this have on wildlife? El Niño occurs more frequently (drought in Australia, floods in S. America) La Niña occurs more frequently during 'normal' current direction flow (drought in S. America, floods in Australia) Plants with shallow roots cannot cope in droughts Flooding/drought ruin habitat Timing of ecological events (flowering/migration) change - ruins the interdependent relationships
Why is chlorine not found in the stratosphere? Chlorine is very reactive, so will react in the troposphere before reaching the stratosphere
Define and give two examples of positive feedback mechanisms Where an environmental change causes other changes that increase the effect of the original change. + temperatures mean melting permafrost, this releases stored methane bubbles (a greenhouse gas) + temperatures melt area of ice/snow which reduces Earth's albedo causing more solar heating
THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL (1987) An international agreement to phase out the manufacture and use of CFCs and other ozone depleting substances. Alternative products were to be used instead such as alcohols and HCFCs which break down before they reach the stratosphere so cannot damage the ozone layer.
Define and give two examples of negative feedback mechanisms Where an environmental change causes other changes that decrease the effect of the original change + temperatures increase photosynthesis, meaning more carbon is stored at biomass so levels in the atmosphere are reduced (cooling it) + temperatures increase evaporation, increasing cloud cover which increases Earth's albedo; thus reflecting more sunlight (cooling it)
Identify one method of reducing human levels of the following greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and CFCs Carbon dioxide - Use of alternate energy sources, afforestation Methane - Reduced waste in landfill sites, reduced livestock production Nitrogen oxides - catalytic converters in cars, increased public transport CFCs - use of replacements e.g. HCFCs or alcohols in solvents
THE KYOTO PROTOCOL (1997) MEDCs who signed up were set emission limits of the 6 main greenhouse gases. Failure to meet targets resulted in harder targets, however falling below the quota means 'points' can be sold. LEDCs do not have limits as this would hinder development. Aim of the protocol is not to reduce emissions but encourage methods of doing so.
Describe the strategies to cope with the consequences of climate change Agriculture - cultivate warm climate/drought resistant crops, store water for irrigation in drought Building design - better ventilation to reduce air conditioning reliance, paler materials reduce heat absorption Flooding - riverbank defences, moving population from flood plains, use of dams to regulate river flow Coastal erosion - improved coastal defences, managed retreat (prioritise areas) Storm damage - stronger buildings
Why is there concern about ozone depletion? If UVB is not absorbed by the atmosphere then it will be absorbed by living cells causing mutations/cancers
Which two processes are key in maintaining the natural dynamic equilibrium of the atmosphere? Photosynthesis and Respiration
What were sources of CFCs and why are they so damaging to the atmosphere? CFCs were useful solvents, aerosols and refrigerants in the 1920s. CFCs are extremely stable, so take a long time to break down once in the atmosphere. When they absorb UV light they break down to release chlorine which causes the damage.
How does temperature change as we move up through the atmosphere? Temperature decreases through the troposphere because it is moving away from its heat source (the ground) The temperature then increases in the stratosphere due to heating from UV trapped by ozone The temperature decreases in the mesosphere due to the lack of ozone to trap heat and increasing altitude Finally the temperature increases in the thermosphere due to trapping of light by oxygen
Describe and explain the changes in levels of carbon dioxide and the causes of variation in water vapour levels over time Carbon dioxide levels increase at night due to respiration and lack of photosynthesis. During summer months the difference between night and day is greater due to increased photosynthesis during the day. Water vapour varies due to vegetation (levels of transpiration) and temperature (evaporation and precipitation)
Draw a diagram of the layers of the atmosphere - including labels of the '-spheres' and '-pauses' Atmosphere_structure.jpg (image/jpg)
Why is ozone depletion greatest in Polar regions? Chemical reactions between ozone and chlorine occur best at low temperatures with ice crystals as catalyst surfaces. In a polar spring the sunlight reacts allows the reactions to happen with the ice from winter in the atmosphere.
How does atmospheric pressure change as altitude increases? Atmospheric pressure decreases as altitude increases