By Michael C. MacCracken

ISBN-10: 0470853603

ISBN-13: 9780470853603

Quantity one in every of this Encyclopedia bargains with the actual and chemical dimensions of the Earth procedure, together with for instance the ambience, the oceans, the cryosphere, and people facets of the land floor really proper to interactions with different parts of the Earth procedure. It makes a speciality of the main dynamic points of the method, at the components and strategies that produce switch, and at the courses and person scientists such a lot interested in measuring and figuring out switch. the quantity starts off with a bunch of prolonged evaluation essays, through shorter articles on numerous features of the historical past, present country, and attainable destiny states of the Earth method, together with the interactions one of the parts of the program. professional contributions characteristic on: historic developments in numerous environmental symptoms, either some time past century and lengthening again via geological time What we've discovered, and the instruments used to realize wisdom concerning the functioning of this complicated approach, from box courses to mel simulations results of human intervention on weather swap and stratospheric ozone depletion information of equipped overseas gazing, info administration, and examine courses within the Earth sciences short biographies of a variety of top scientists This quantity represents a uniquely worthy resource of targeted, well timed, and authoritative info when it comes to the problems of worldwide environmental switch. it's been built extensive adequate in scope to light up each nook of the correct geophysical sciences, whereas ultimate concise and simply usable through the non-specialist.

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Consequently, precipitation over land exceeds evapotranspiration by this same amount (34). Not surprisingly, perhaps, the average precipitation rate over the oceans exceeds that over land by 72% (allowing also for the differences in areas). It has been estimated (Trenberth, 1998) that on average over 80% of the moisture precipitated out comes from locations over 1000 km distant, highlighting the important role of the winds in moving moisture around. The Role of Oceans The oceans cover 70% of the Earth s surface and through their fluid motions, their high heat capacity, and their ecosystems play a central role in shaping the Earth s climate and its variability.

Figure 9 shows that small trends in global mean values are not readily perceived in regional or local values, simply because of the large natural weather-related variability; this has implications for predictability. The latter depends on the size of the signal from some climate forcing versus the noise of natural variability. As indicated above, the noise (variability) is large locally but can be reduced by spatial and temporal averaging. Consequently, random weather variations mean that local predictions for a month are less reliably determined than averages over large areas and over longer times.

The main direct effect of aerosols is the scattering of some solar radiation back to space; which tends to cool the Earth s EARTH SYSTEM PROCESSES surface. Aerosols can also influence the radiation budget by directly absorbing solar radiation leading to local heating of the atmosphere and, to a lesser extent, by absorbing and emitting thermal radiation. A further influence of aerosols is that many of them act as nuclei on which cloud droplets condense. A changed concentration therefore tends to affect the number and size of droplets in a cloud and hence alters the reflection and the absorption of solar radiation by the cloud.

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Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change by Michael C. MacCracken

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