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The consequences of global warming

Group discussion : the impacts of global warming

In groups of 3-4, read the following extracts and then answer the questions that follow.

By 2050 Warming to Doom Million Species, Study Says

By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more than a million of Earth's land-dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction, according to a recent study. "Climate change now represents at least as great a threat to the number of species surviving on Earth as habitat-destruction and modification," said Chris Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

The researchers worked independently in six biodiversity-rich regions around the world, from Australia to South Africa, plugging field data on species distribution and regional climate into computer models that simulated the ways species' ranges are expected to move in response to temperature and climate changes. According to the researchers' collective results, the predicted range of climate change by 2050 will place 15 to 35 percent of the 1 103 species studied at risk of extinction.

National Geographic News, 12 July 2004

Global Warming May Dry Up Africa's Rivers, Study Suggests

Many climate scientists already predict that less rain will fall annually in parts of Africa within 50 years due to global warming. Now new research suggests that even a small decrease in rainfall on the continent could cause a drastic reduction in river water, the lifeblood for rural populations in Africa.

A decrease in water availability could occur across about 25 percent of the continent, according to the new study. Hardest hit would be areas in northwestern and southern Africa, with some of the most serious effects striking large areas of Botswana and South Africa.

To predict future rainfall, the scientists compared 21 of what they consider to be the best climate change models developed by research teams around the world. On average, the models forecast a 10 to 20% drop in rainfall in northwestern and southern Africa by 2070. With a 20% decrease, Cape Town would be left with just 42% of its river water, and "Botswana would completely dry up," de Wit said. In parts of northern Africa, river water levels would drop below 50%.

Less river water would have serious implications not just for people but for the many animal species whose habitats rely on regular water supplies.

National Geographic News, 3 March 2006

Discussion questions

  1. What is meant by 'biodiversity'?
  2. Explain why global warming is likely to cause a loss of biodiversity .
  3. Why do you think a loss of biodiversity is of such concern to conservationists?
  4. Suggest some plant or animal species in South Africa that you think might be particularly vulnerable to extinction if temperatures were to rise significantly. Explain why you chose these species.
  5. In what way do people, animals and plants rely on river water?
  6. What effect do you think a 50% drop in river water level in some parts of Africa would have on the people living in these countries?
  7. Discuss some of the other likely impacts of global warming that we can expect (e.g. sea level rise, melting of polar ice caps, changes in ocean currents).

Questions & Answers

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Link Reply
Independent variables in an experiment which influence the outcome results
Boss
Such as temperature when dealing with ohms law
Boss
variables whose amount is determined by the person doing the experiment
Clemencia
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Calculate relative atomic mass
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Chemical Bonding is a mutual attraction between two atoms resulting from the simultaneous attraction between their nuclei and the outer elections
Sydney
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Formula for concentration
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c=m/MV
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Lizoh
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Valerie Reply
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Lebo Reply
yes
Itumeleng
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Keaobaka
vector is the physical quantity with magnitude and direction Scalar is the Physical quantity with magnitude only
Bobo
Newton's second law of motion
Thelma Reply
Newton second law motin
Shife
Newton's second law of motion: When a resultant/net force acts on an object, the object will accelerate in the direction of the force at an acceleration directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.
Bobo
newtons third law of motion
Ayakha
when object A exert a force on object B object B SIMULTANEOUS exert a force of equal magnitude on object A
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Zivele

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 11 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11241/1.2
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