Future Learn Climate Change course Blog week one

  1. What the key scientific principles that explain climate change including the greenhouse (blanket) effect? the scientific principles are that heat is absorbed by earth’s surface (70%), heat reflected from earth’s surface (30%), heat radiation back to earth from ‘blanket’ of gases that absorb heat radiated from earth’s surface, such as CO2 , water vapour, ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide.  The system is changing as man’s activities increase the volume of greenhouse/ blanket gases and rises in temperature cause the ice to melt increasing the sea area which means more heat will be absorbed and less reflected
  2. What are the key feedback mechanisms that help to explain why our climate is able to “self-regulate”?   They are water vapour feedback, ice albedo feedback, and radiation feedback.
  3. How can our climate be conceptualised as a system containing a series of components that interact with one another? the components of the system are the atmosphere, including all the gases in the air,:  the hydrosphere– this is dominated by the oceans but also includes fresh water, rivers, lakes, and groundwater; the biosphere– all the living things and soils; the cryosphere– ice sheets, sea ice, and mountain glaciers; and finally the lithosphere– the surface of the Earth’s crust.

Also consider:

  1. What are the most important themes you have learned this week? That the greenhouse is not a good analogy for how climate system is regulated. Blanket is a better analogy. Also, that there is a range of greenhouse gases that make up the ‘blanket’, and that changes in the climate feedback cycles can affect the quantity of some or all of the gases in the blanket.
  2. What aspect of this week did you find difficult? I think I’ve avoided the difficult bits and just revised what I knew already
  3. What did you find most interesting? The presentation and the access to documents and the ease of storing them – I think i covered as much ground in a couple of hours as I would have in a term when I went to university.
  4. Was there something that you learned this week that prompted you to do your own research? Not yet – I need to get a routine in place to study properly
  5. Are there any web sites or other online resource that you found particularly useful in furthering your knowledge and understanding?  – I noted someone else had mentioned climatica.org.uk and skepticalscience.com – I must look at them
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