(Issued Mon., Feb. 26 for classes starting on Friday, March 2)
Pre-class Quiz #2, which is based on these reading
questions (and on Reading Assignment #2), is posted on iLearn. (A "non-interactive" version of Pre-class Quiz #2, suitable for printing and use while you do the corresponding reading, has been posted on both iLearn and the backup class Web site.)
From The Earth System, 3rd Ed., Chapter 3:
"Global Energy Balance: The Greenhouse Effect" (pp. 48-53)
- Key Questions: #3 (p. 36).
- Physical Causes of the Greenhouse Effect (pp. 48-50)
- To what gases is the greenhouse effect primarily attributable?
Molecular Motions and the Greenhouse Gases H2O
- What is the defining property of a greenhouse gas?
- What determines the wavelengths of radiation that a molecule can absorb
- What wavelengths of radiation does H2O
vapor absorb well?
- What wavelengths does CO2 gas absorb
- Where does the earth's wavelength of peak emission lie relative to the
wavelengths absorbed well by H2O and
CO2? Why is this important for earth's
Other Greenhouse Gases
- Besides H2O and CO2,
what other gases in the earth's atmosphere contribute to the greenhouse
- Why do these other gases contribute to the greenhouse effect to an extent
disproportionate to their very small concentrations relative to H2O
and even CO2?
- What is the window region in the atmospheric absorption spectrum?
- Do nitrogen gas and oxygen gas (O2
and N2, respectively), the dominant
constituents of the atmosphere by far, contribute to the greenhouse effect?
Why or why not?
- Effect of Clouds on the Atmospheric Radiation Budget (pp.
- What other atmospheric constituents besides gases contribute to the greenhouse
Types of Clouds
- Why are the contributions of clouds to the greenhouse effect hard to
- What basic types of clouds are identified by our text? [There are a number
of other types not identified at this point in the text.]
Opposing Climatic Effects of Clouds
- What are the two primary, opposing mechanisms by which clouds affect
- With clouds, the earth's albedo averages about 0.3 (that is, the earth
reflects about 30% of the solar radiation striking it). Without clouds,
what would the earth's albedo probably be (all else being equal)?
- How much warmer would the earth's effective radiative equilibrium temperature
be without clouds (all else being equal)?
- Would the earth's average surface temperature be warmer by the
same amount? Why or why not?
- Why are cloudy nights warmer than clear nights, all else being equal?
- Different cloud types affect climate differently. What effects on the
earth's surface temperature do low, thick clouds (such as stratus clouds)
have compared to high, thin clouds (such as cirrus clouds)?
Earth's Global Energy Budget
- The details of the earth's energy budget described in this subsection
and shown in Figure 3-19 (p. 52) are covered in class by Lab
Activity #5. However, the materials for Lab
Activity #5 come from a different text; are the two sets of energy budget
values consistent with each other? (What is the publication date of the source for Figure 3-19?)
- What is the principle of planetary energy balance?
Introduction to Climate Modeling (pp. 52-53)
- How do climate scientists try to predict the change in the greenhouse
effect that would arise with changes in the concentrations of greenhouse
- What is a general circulation model (GCM) or global climate
- As climate prediction tools, what is one of the drawbacks from which GCM's
One-Dimensional Climate Models—RCMs
- What is a radiative-convective model (RCM)? What advantage does
it have over a GCM?
- Why are RCMs referred to as "one-dimensional"?
How are RCMs structured?
Radiative Effect of Doubling Atmospheric CO2
- What do the best current RCM's predict will happen to the earth's global
average surface temperature if atmospheric CO2
concentrations were to double from current levels?
- What general kinds of effects do RCMs not account for?
- Chapter Summary: #'s 2 and 3 (p. 55).
- Review Questions: #'s 9-11 (p. 56).
- Critical Thinking Problems: #6 (p. 54)
[Note: this is not homework to turn in.]
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