The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process that aids in heating the Earth's surface and atmosphere. It results from the fact that certain atmospheric...
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Fate of the OilLast Updated on 2015-02-02 17:02:07Summary
The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig led to the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. Federal government officials estimated that the deepwater well ultimately released (over 84 days) over 200 million gallons (or 4.9 million barrels) of crude oil. Although decreasing amounts of oil were observed on the ocean surface following the well’s containment on July 15, 2010, oil spill response officials and researchers have found oil in other places. A pressing question that has been raised by many stakeholders is where did the oil go?
On August 4, 2010, the federal government released an estimate of the oil spill budget for the Deepwater Horizon incident. On November 23, 2010, the federal government released a peerreviewed “Technical Document” that further explained how the estimates were derived, and in some cases, modified the... More »
ClimateLast Updated on 2014-10-01 10:48:54
Climate is the typical pattern of conditions of the earth’s atmosphere over a given region, as defined by factors such as temperature, air pressure. humidity, precipitation, sunlight, cloudiness, and winds. The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as "the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time," where an appropriate period is typically at least thirty years. Climate can be assessed at different, overlapping geographic regions. For example, Earth is thought to have a climate that is distinct from that of other planets, while different regions of Earth are also thought to have distinct climate types. Climate is often described as the "average" conditions; however, since daily and seasonal variability (including extremes) are critical determinants, using the term... More »
Module: Recent Climate ChangeLast Updated on 2011-08-04 00:00:00
This is a data-driven module designed to address key questions about the stability of the Earth’s climate in the past and the factors that drive climate change. This information is essential for students who want to study current climate change using NASA data, and interprets this in a correct historical context
· Students will investigate how land surface and ocean surface temperatures have changed since 1840.
· This exercise asks students to consider two contrasting interpretations of climate change over the last 2,000 years.
· Both interpretations use a range of proxy data, but the Loehle data specifically excludes tree ring data. Investigate how the level of CO2 level in the... More »
Methane: Greenhouse Gas Enemy Number TwoLast Updated on 2010-12-16 00:00:00
Methane (CH4) is second only to carbon dioxide (CO2) in its contribution to the greenhouse effect and accounts for about 15% of anthropogenic warming.  Moreover, sudden release of CH4 from the melting of seabed methane hydrate is implicated in such cataclysmic events as the Great Dying and the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum. Once in the atmosphere, CH4 oxidizes to CO2 in about a dozen years.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of humans do not release CH4 when they pass flatus gas  — this provides yet another reason why attempts to ignite these emissions are seldom worthwhile. Other human activities, however, do emit large amounts of CH4. Over 75% of the world’s rice is grown in flooded paddies. Soils during flooding soon become anaerobic, and soil microbes generate CH4, or “marsh gas,” through anaerobic respiration. Clearing of agricultural... More »
Lecture: Stephen Schneider Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Video Last Updated on 2010-10-07 00:00:00
This video is of a lecture that Stephen Schneider presented a number of times. It covers climate change from a risk perspective, discussing the underlying science, uncertainties, and implications of different possible decisions. Here is it captured with many (although not all) of his graphics. It is a well organized, evenly presented lecture that carefully differentiates questions of "what we know" from "what we should do." It presents data and modelling at a level appropriate for undergraduates.
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