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Collection: Vital Climate Graphics

Vital Climate GraphicsVital Climate Graphics
UNEP has been active in disseminating information for decision-making and promoting awareness of climate change. In cooperation with the Convention's secretariat, UNEP is taking action to promote the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention, which addresses public awareness, education and training. As part of this effort, UNEP's Global Resources Information Database (GRID) office in Arendal conceived an idea to develop an information package called Vital Climate Graphics. This first set of graphics focuses on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change. The graphics are based primarily on the IPCC's Second Assessment Report (SAR), especially the contribution of Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change and on the IPCC Special Report on Regional Impacts of Climate Change. It is our hope that these Vital Climate Graphics find a wide and receptive audience.
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/climate
Sea level rise due, past and scenarios due to global warming Sea level rise due, past and scenarios due to global warming
Over the last 100 years, the global sea level has risen by about 10 to 25 cm. Sea level change is difficult to measure. Relative sea level changes have been derived mainly from tide-gauge data. In the conventional tide-gauge system, the sea level is measured relative to a land-based tide-gauge benchmark. The major problem is that the land experiences vertical movements (e.g. from isostatic effects, neotectonism, and sedimentation), and these get ...
01 Oct 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Climate change impact on mountain vegetation zones Climate change impact on mountain vegetation zones
The figure shows a comparison of current vegetation zones at a hypothetical dry temperate mountain site with simulated vegetation zones under a climate-warming scenario. Mountains cover about 20% of the Earth's continents and serve as an important water source for most major rivers. Paleologic records indicate that climate warming in the past has caused vegetation zones to shift to higher elevations, resulting in the loss of some species and ecos...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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CO2 emissions from industry CO2 emissions from industry
This map depicts the unequal distribution of industry in the world. The significant part of carbon dioxide emissions comes from energy production, industrial processes and transport. The industrialised countries consequently must bear the main responsibility of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Main greenhouse gases Main greenhouse gases
The table lists some of the main greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and freons) and their concentrations in pre-industrial times and in 1994; atmospheric lifetimes; anthropogenic sources; and Global Warming Potential. Greenhouse gases are a key factor in global warming, as they trap the radiating heat in the atmosphere, reflecting it back to the atmosphere.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (1959-1998) CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (1959-1998)
CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been measured at an altitude of about 4,000 meters on the peak of Mauna Loa mountain in Hawaii since 1958. The measurements at this location, remote from local sources of pollution, have clearly shown that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are increasing. The mean concentration of approximately 316 parts per million by volume (ppmv) in 1958 rose to approximately 369 ppmv in 1998. The annual variation is d...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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The carbon cycle The carbon cycle
The global carbon cycle shows the carbon reservoirs in GtC (gigatonne= one thousand million tonnes) and fluxes in GtC/year. The indicated figures are annual averages over the period 1980 to 1989. The component cycles are simplified and the figures present average values. The riverine flux, particularly the anthropogenic portion, is currently very poorly quantified and is not shown here. Evidence is accumulating that many of the fluxes can fluct...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Climate scenarios for cereal production Climate scenarios for cereal production
The figure shows change in cereals production under three different GCM equilibrium scenarios (percent from base estimated in 2060). While there are still uncertainties about whether climate change will cause global agricultural production to increase or decrease, changes in the aggregate level of production are expected to be small or moderate. The result of the studies that have been conducted so far vary depending on such variables as the trad...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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World ocean thermohaline circulation World ocean thermohaline circulation
The global conveyor belt thermohaline circulation is driven primarily by the formation and sinking of deep water (from around 1500m to the Antarctic bottom water overlying the bottom of the ocean) in the Norwegian Sea. When the strength of the haline forcing increases due to excess precipitation, runoff, or ice melt the conveyor belt will weaken or even shut down. The variability in the strength of the conveyor belt will lead to climate change in...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Projected changes in CO2 and climate: assumptions in the IPCC 1992 scenarios Projected changes in CO2 and climate: assumptions in the IPCC 1992 scenarios
Projected anthropogenic CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use, deforestation and cement production are shown for some of the IPCC emission scenarios. The highest emission scenario - IS92e - assumes moderate population growth, high economic growth, high fossil fuel availability, and a phase out of nuclear power; and the lowest emission scenario - IS92c - assumes low population growth, low economic growth, and severe constraints on fossil fuel suppli...
06 Nov 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Potential climate change impacts Potential climate change impacts
If greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising, climatic changes are likely to result. Those changes will potentially have wide-ranging effects on the environment and socio-economic and related sectors, such as health, agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal areas and biodiversity.
23 Feb 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Potential impact of sea level rise: Nile Delta Potential impact of sea level rise: Nile Delta
Rising sea level would destroy weak parts of the sand belt, which is essential for the protection of lagoons and the low-lying reclaimed lands in the Nile delta of Egypt (Mediterranean Sea). The impacts would be very serious: One third of Egypt's fish catches are made in the lagoons. Sea level rise would change the water quality and affect most fresh water fish. Valuable agricultural land would be inundated.
17 May 2005 - by Otto Simonett, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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IPCC and UNFCCC - Institutional framework IPCC and UNFCCC - Institutional framework
In 1988, UNEP and WMO jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as concern over changes in the climate became a political issue. The purpose of the IPCC was to assess the state of knowledge on the various aspects of climate change including science, environmental and socio-economic impacts and response strategies. The IPCC is recognized as the most authoritative scientific and technical voice on these issues, and it...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Greenhouse effect Greenhouse effect
Human activities are causing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to increase. This graphic explains how solar energy is absorbed by the earth's surface, causing the earth to warm and to emit infrared radiation. The greenhouse gases then trap the infrared radiation, thus warming the atmosphere.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Freshwater stress and risk Freshwater stress and risk
One study suggests that although global water conditions may worsen by 2025 due to population pressure, climate change could have a net positive impact on global water resources. NB! Note that other studies indicate that with present consumption patterns, 2 of every 3 persons on Earth will experience water stress by 2025. The diagram on the left side shows the result of this particular study, indicating the water availability for the population...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Temperature and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere over the past 400 000 years Temperature and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere over the past 400 000 years
Over the last 400,000 years the Earth's climate has been unstable, with very significant temperature changes, going from a warm climate to an ice age in as rapidly as a few decades. These rapid changes suggest that climate may be quite sensitive to internal or external climate forcings and feedbacks. This figures have been derived from the Vostok ice core, taken in Antarctica.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Impact of Temperature Rise on Robusta Coffee in Uganda Impact of Temperature Rise on Robusta Coffee in Uganda
Developing countries, whose economies often rely heavily on one or two agricultural products, are especially vulnerable to climate change. This graphic shows that with an increase of only 2 degrees Celsius, there would be a dramatic decrease in the amount of land suitable for growing Robusta coffee in Uganda.
17 May 2005 - by Otto Simonett, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Trends in the ice-breaking date in the Tornio river, Finland Trends in the ice-breaking date in the Tornio river, Finland
The icebreaking date for the Tornio River in Finland has been recorded since 1693. With the increased greenhouse effect, impacts on the cryosphere are likely. One impact will be less ice on rivers and lakes. Freeze-up dates will be delayed, and break-up will begin earlier. The period of river-ice could be shortened by up to a month. Many rivers within the temperate regions could become ice-free or develop only intermittent or partial ice coverage...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Thinning of the Arctic sea-ice Thinning of the Arctic sea-ice
Sea-ice draft is the thickness of the part of the ice that is submerged under the sea. Comparison of sea-ice draft data acquired on submarine cruises between 1993 and 1997 with similar data acquired between 1958 and 1976 indicates that the mean ice draft at the end of the melt season has decreased by about 1.3 m in most of the deep water portion of the Arctic Ocean, from 3.1 m in 1958-1976 to 1.8 m in the 1990s. In summary: ice draft in the 1990s...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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IPCC structure IPCC structure
In 1988, UNEP and WMO jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as concern over changes in the climate became a political issue. The purpose of the IPCC was to assess the state of knowledge on the various aspects of global change including science, environmental and socio-economic impacts and response strategies. The IPCC is recognized as the most authoritative scientific and technical voice on these issues, and its...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability Sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability
The potential impacts of climate change on the environment and socio-economic systems can be understood in terms of sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability of the system, and this figure defines these terms.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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