Review Material for Spring 2009
have five questions, and you must answer four of the questions. Each
answer should be a paragraph or two in length. You can include hand-drawn
figures in your answer to clarify the answer.
Good answers are built on evidence, either data or published
opinions of experts.
Good answers are carefully written and use words
Poor answers include unsupported opinions.
Poor answers are editorials not carefully reasoned statements.
Poor answers use words improperly. Examples:
"The atmosphere wants to allow..."
"Fuels are released to the atmosphere..." instead of "burning of fossil
fuels releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere."
"The atmosphere is composed of greenhouse gases."
"Greenhouse gases absorb sunlight."
Here are questions I
have asked in the past:
- Web Sites. You have looked at many web sites.
How do you know if the information at the site is correct?
- Feedback Loops: Give an example of a positive
feedback loop in the climate system. Please don't use any example
discussed in class.
- Global Warming, the Importance of the Problem: An important
question being widely debated these days is: Is the surface
of earth warming? There are lots of
weather stations on land reporting surface temperature,
but 70% of earth is covered by oceans.
- Roughly how much has
the land or the ocean warmed over the past century?
- What measurements
have been used to determine if the sea surface has
been warming over the last
century? Please state what
was measured, and who made the measurements.
- Do you trust the measurements? Please
state your reasons for trusting or not trusting the
- Global Warming, Cause and Effect: Why
do some scientists think that earth's surface temperature will
2°- 4° C warmer in a hundred years?
- Please state what might
cause the increase.
- Please state how the cause will produce the
- Ocean Surface Temperature. How do we know if
the average temperature of the oceans has increased over the last
- What measurements have been made?
- What is the biggest source of error in
the calculation of average surface temperature of the oceans?
- How much has the average surface temperature
of the oceans increased?
- Global warming, the Role of the Ocean: How is
the ocean involved in global warming?
- What is the importance
of deep circulation in the ocean? There are at least
two major influences.
do oceanic processes influence earth's carbon
budget (the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere)?
- Does global warming influence hurricanes?
- How do oceanic processes lead
to a warm Europe?
- Global Warming, Past History: What do we know
about earth's surface temperature over the past
- Please variable was measured to obtain information
- Please state how the measurement is related
- Global Warming, the Role of the Ocean: The
ocean involved in global warming.
- Why does Wally Broecker expect
global warming might push the world into the next
- In answering
a) please explain what process(es) in the
ocean is involved, and how warming will influence
- What evidence do we have that Broecker is
- Greenhouse Gases. Explain very simply, in one or
two paragraphs, how greenhouse gases increase earth's surface temperature.
- Influence of the Ocean in Global Warming. Please
describe two important ways the ocean will influence possible global
warming due to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Climate. Explain how the North Atlantic influences
climate, especially abrupt climate change.
- Climate. Do you have confidence in the forecasts
of earth surface temperature made by climate models.
- Please explain your answer.
- Global warming, Policy: How will governments
solve the problem of global warming?
Global Warming, the Influence of Currents: Ocean currents
redistribute heat throughout the oceans.
- Is there any international
agreement on what to do? What has been agreed?
- What measures might
help reduce the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?
- What are some important arguments against taking steps to reduce
- How are currents measured? Please list the
important ways we
can obtain global maps of currents.
- How do satellite altimeters produce maps of
currents? What do
they measure, and how is the measurement related to currents?
do they measure?
Why is El Niño important?
After all, is it just anchovies off Peru?
- Pretend your
are writing a letter to a friend. Explain
in a few paragraphs the cycle
of events in a typical El Niño.
- Now explain why El Niño is
important. Why might your friend care whether
or not El Niño will
return next winter?
- Why is weather in various parts of
the world related to events in the equatorial Pacific?
- What are a
few of the important teleconnections?
El Niño. Explain in a
few paragraphs why El Niño
in the Pacific influences global weather patterns.
Fisheries: The number of fish
in the ocean varies from region to region.
The populations are not uniformly distributed.
- Where are fish most common?
- What biological factors influence the
distribution of fish?
- What physical factors influence the distribution
of fish? Please
list the physical processes that influence the distribution,
and the why these
processes are found in specific regions.
Many experts state that over fishing is an example
of the "tragedy of the commons".
is meant by this phrase?
- How does it apply to fisheries?
- What can the state of Texas do to
mitigate the tragedy of the commons for the shrimp industry?
Coasts continually evolve.
- Please describe the seasonal cycle
of coasts along a barrier island
or sandy coast such as Cape Cod.
are the dominant processes causing
changes of the physical structure of coasts?
- What is the dominant result of man-made structures
Fisheries and Weather: Fisheries are not
uniformly distributed in the
ocean. Some areas have far more fish than others.
- In what geographic areas are fish common?
- How do winds influence local
16 December, 2008