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APES Study Questions – Chapter 23: Atmosphere, Climate and Climate Change

1. How has a decline in Arctic Sea ice affected the population of Polar Bears in the
western Hudson Bay area? Why is this population responding differently than the
population of Polar Bears in the eastern Hudson Bay area?
2. Describe the chemical composition of dry air, with percentages of each
3. How has life affected the atmosphere over the past 4.5 billion years?
4. Name and describe the layers of the atmosphere, including what percent of the
atmosphere’s weight each layer holds, how many km each layer extends,
characteristic temperature range, and location of features such as the Jet Stream,
clouds and weather, and the ozone layer.
5. Describe atmosphere pressure and temperature.
6. What 3 characteristics are used to characterize air?
7. What 2 processes result in global atmospheric circulation in the troposphere?
8. Draw a diagram of the Earth, including the belts of prevailing winds, their
directions, and their names.
9. Why are rainforest found at the equator and deserts at 30oN and 30oS?
10. Name and describe the four processes that remove materials from the
11. What is the difference between weather and climate?
12. Draw a climatogram for Palo Alto (see Figure 23.3).
13. Describe how the Earth’s climate has changed over the past 100,000 years.
What are the main types of climate seen at this scale?
14. Describe the general trends in climate from 1850’s to the present. What global
events influenced these trends?
15. Describe the evidence for human-induced global warming.
16. Why does natural climate change occur?
17. Describe the ocean conveyor belt, what drives it, and how it affects the climate
of Northern Europe.
18. Describe Earth systems science, how it is carried out, and the 3 major tools
19. Describe 3 ways the Earth’s geologic record can be studied.
20. What does the graph of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 500 years look
21. What 2 trends have been observed in the carbon dioxide levels taken at Mauna
Loa since 1960? Why are the equivalent seasonal measurements made in Antarctica
smaller in amplitude?
22. Describe global circulation models.
23. Define global warming.
24. What four factors determine the temperature at the Earth’s surface?
25. Describe the Earth’s energy balance in terms of percent of energy absorbed and
26. List the types of electromagnetic radiation in order from lowest energy to highest
energy. Which type does the Sun primarily emit, and which type does Earth primarily
27. What is the greenhouse effect? Which gases are responsible for the greenhouse
28. What is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming?
29. Why is the greenhouse effect important?
30. Which 2 main processes are responsible for the anthropogenic greenhouse
31. What is the atmospheric window? How do CFC’s and ozone affect this window?
32. List the major anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the human activities that
release them to the atmosphere, and the percentage of global warming that is
attributed to them.
33. What is the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global
mean temperature?
34. What is forcing? What forcing variables influence global warming?
35. Describe the 8 feedback mechanisms concerning global warming. State whether
the feedback is positive or negative, and describe the processes involved.
36. What would our planet be like if there was no greenhouse effect?
37. Describe how solar forcing, aerosols, and volcanic forcing affect global climate.
38. Describe global dimming, what causes it, and some of its effects. How does
global dimming affect global warming?
39. Describe normal conditions between Peru and Australia, and how they change in
an El Nino year. What are the effects of El Nino on Australia and Indonesia, Peru,
and California?
40. How will global warming affect El Nino?
41. Describe the mechanisms of methane forcing and their results.
42. At our current level of carbon dioxide emissions, when will atmospheric levels
have doubled from pre-Industrial levels, and what global temperature change is likely
to occur?
43. Why does global warming affect the poles more?
44. List and describe the predicted consequences of global warming.
45. What are the 2 main adjustments we can make to global warming?
46. How can we mitigate global warming?
47. Describe the global meetings and accords that have been established regarding
greenhouse gas emissions. Are these legally binding? How are they enforced? Has
the US agreed to sign on to them? What about India and China?
48. Describe the ways carbon emissions could be reduced.
49. Describe geologic carbon sequestration. Where is this proposed? What amount
of our carbon emissions could Texas and Louisiana store?