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Ecosystems: Human Impact



Global warming and greenhouse gases

Human-caused atmospheric changes

The Ozone layer and CFCs

Global warming has not stopped

Global warming: Pause in the rate of temp rise

Global warming Industry knew of climate change

Global warming: Adjusted data sets are a normal part of science

Climate skeptics are not like Galileo.

Yes, the climate has always changed. But this shows why that’s no comfort: XKCD infographic

If all land ice melted how would coastlines change

Protecting cities from rising sea levels

Article archive

If we assume global warming is a hoax, what should we expect to see

Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise?

What’s the opposite of human impact on ecosystems? How ecology and geology impact humans. How elections are impacted by a 100 million year old coastline

Global warming GIF

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences: Global warming observed from 1980 to 2012

American Physical Society (APS)

Statement on climate change and science (April 2015)

greenhouse2 greenhouse 3

“Earth’s changing climate is a critical issue that poses the risk of significant disruption around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on the climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century. Although the magnitudes of future effects are uncertain, human influences on the climate are growing. The potential consequences of climate change are great and the policies of the next few decades will determine human influences on the climate for centuries.”

“As summarized in the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there continues to be significant progress in climate science. In particular, the connection between rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the increased warming of the global climate system is more certain than ever. Nevertheless, as recognized by Working Group 1 of the IPCC, scientific challenges remain to our abilities to observe, interpret, and project climate changes. To better inform societal choices, the APS urges sustained research in climate science.”

“The APS reiterates its 2007 call to support actions that will reduce the emissions, and ultimately the concentration, of greenhouse gases, as well as increase the resilience of society to a changing climate. Because physics and its techniques are fundamental elements of climate science, the APS further urges physicists to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines in climate research and to contribute to the public dialogue.”

– The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities.

Sample questions

Feb 2016 MCAS: Volcanic eruptions add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Which of the following also adds carbon dioxide directly to the atmosphere?

A. burning a forest
B. forming fossil fuels
C. evaporation of a puddle
D. erosion of igneous rocks


Learning Standards

Massachusetts Learning Curriculum

8.MS-ESS3-5. Examine and interpret data to describe the role that human activities have played in causing the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

HS-ESS2-6. Use a model to describe cycling of carbon through the ocean, atmosphere, soil, and biosphere and how increases in carbon dioxide concentrations due to human activity have resulted in atmospheric and climate changes.

HS-ESS3-5. Analyze results from global climate models to describe how forecasts are made of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

Next Generation Science Standards

HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

[Clarification Statement: Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).]

HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

[Clarification Statement: Examples of Earth systems to be considered are the hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and/or biosphere. An example of the far-reaching impacts from a human activity is how an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide results in an increase in photosynthetic biomass on land and an increase in ocean acidification, with resulting impacts on sea organism health and marine populations.]  [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include running computational representations but is limited to using the published results of scientific computational models.]

College Board Science Standards

ESM-PE.2.1.2 Make a claim, using representations and models of incoming solar radiation (insolation) and the greenhouse effect, how changes in the atmosphere (i.e., atmospheric composition, cloud coverage) and in Earth’s surface (i.e., glacial coverage) will affect the energy budget.

ESM-PE.2.1.2a Identify major greenhouse gases (e.g., water vapor, carbon, methane, ozone) and their natural and anthropogenic sources. Interpret the long-term annual flux of the Keelings Curve.

ESM-PE.2.1.2b Construct a graphic representation that shows the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is absorbed, reflected and scattered as it interacts with the atmosphere and surface of Earth.

ESM-PE.2.1.2c Explain, based on the mechanisms involved in the “greenhouse effect,” how the atmosphere is warmed.

ESM-PE.5.3.1 Construct a representation that illustrates the impact of human activities on climate and the impact of climate on natural and anthropogenic systems, as well as interactions that are positive or negative feedback loops.

ESM-PE.5.3.1a Evaluate uncertainties about the cause of Earth’s current and ongoing climate change. Evaluate and refine scientific questions that could assist in appraising the relative impacts of its contributing factors.



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