Earth system feedbacks, cycles, and tipping points

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What is the cryosphere?
sea-ice, glaciers, and ice caps
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What determines the amount of incoming solar radiation?
the sun's intensity/Earth's distance from the sun
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What determines the amount of reflected solar radiation?
The Earth surface's albedo (e.g. affected by the presence of ice)
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What is back radiation, and what is it governed by?
the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the earth's surface - dependent on emissivity (increases with less greenhouse gas emissions)
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What is a sunspot?
A patch on the sun's surface that appears dark by contrast to the rest of the sun
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What is Maunder Minimum and what did it cause?
a prolonged sunspot minimum (1645-1715) - coincides with Little Ice Age
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What 3 components of Earth's system contribute to the formation and disassociation of ice ages?
incoming solar radiation (S), albedo (alpha), emissivity
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Define "precession"
axis tilt relative to orbit
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Define "obliquity"
axis tilt & seasons
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Define "eccentricity"
Earth's orbit around the sun
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How do ice age cycles relate to carbon dioxide variations?
Lower concentrations indicate colder peiods
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In which period did snowball Earth occur?
Triassic
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What is the 8.2 ka event?
The most recent abrupt climate cooling in the North Atlantic
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What is the last Deglaciation?
abrupt climate changes introduced large amount of fresh water from glacial bodies into the northwest Atlantic
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What are Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events?
rapid climate change fluctuations during the last glaciation
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What is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum?
One of the most intense intervals of global warming (believed to have caused changes to the carbon cycle - increase in lysocline)
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What triggered changes in the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum?
Changes in ocean circulation warmed deep waters, destabilised methane hydrates
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What happened to carbon and oxygen concentration during the paleo-eocene thermal maximum?
lighter carbon isotopes increased as heavier isotopes decreased, oxygen isotope rations increased
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Evidence for a snowball Earth
dropstones, paleomagnetic data, decrease in carbon isotope radios (extinction of photosynthetic life),
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What is the temperature threshold of a snowball Earth?
minus 10 degrees C.
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What does the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship state?
The saturation vapour pressure of water increases with temperature (non-linear)
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Describe the Hot limit's positive feedback loop
increased temperature holds more water vapour, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, causing further heating and evapouration.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What determines the amount of incoming solar radiation?

Back

the sun's intensity/Earth's distance from the sun

Card 3

Front

What determines the amount of reflected solar radiation?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is back radiation, and what is it governed by?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is a sunspot?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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