For this assignment, you should access the C-roads World Climate simulator (either online or downloaded to your computer).
This can be found at:
On the site listed above, you will have the option to download the simulator or use the online option. I chose to download it to my computer.
Once you have accessed the simulation, I want you to explore (Inquiry-style) to see how certain changes you make in the simulation could achieve a limit to global warming.
Here is the challenge: what changes could you make to limit the average global warming to +2.0 degrees Celsius by 2100? How you get there will be your choice. The simulation offers you advanced features to alter the model (see in the menu at the top where it says ‘simulation’ and go to ‘assumptions’). This model has certain assumptions for the basic physical processes of global temperature (including such factors as ocean mixing, climate sensitivity, Biomass loss from afforestation, etc…). If you want to you can alter these assumptions, but keep in mind that these parameters are probably set based upon empirical evidence and scientific measurements – so as a scientist you’d have to have a pretty good justification for altering them. But it’s worth thinking about. Every model is based on assumptions – and if those assumptions are incorrect the model won’t be of much use. Sometimes little errors in our model assumptions can have big effects on the accuracy of the prediction – just some food for thought as we go about exploring the simulation (and also consider the intense political debates on this subject). Solutions to the problem of global warming will involve considerable investment and economic sacrifice world-wide, so it’s no wonder that it has become a political issue.
So unless you are really gung-ho, you might just choose to not alter the basic assumptions. But if you want to experiment with those, I will be curious to hear what you find.
Here is what you will do:
With the goal of limiting global warming to +2.0 degrees C, you should tweak the numbers for the six key players (US, EU, Other Developed countries, China, India, Other Developing Countries) to get to +2.0 degrees C or less by 2100. How will you do it?
· Try changing ‘Emissions Peak Year’ to some year earlier than 2100.
· Once you change the Emissions Peak Year, you can change ‘Reductions Begin Year’ and then set the level of reduction per year (some percentage)
· Try preventing deforestation (by altering percent) or increasing afforestation (also by percent).
Once you have played around a bit, you should write up a brief (1 page report) on the project. How did you limit the increase in global temperature? Were there any key methods that altered the balance in your favor? Once you describe what you did, I want you to write about the actual practicalities (in the real world) of what you did. In other words, would it be possible to implement the changes you made in our world of real people? What economic sacrifices would have to be made by different countries to achieve your plan? What would be the biggest challenges politically in implementing your goal? Do you think your plan would have a chance of being enacted in our real world? Other things you might write about in your one page report could include what your energy sources of choice would be? Would you use all renewables? Nuclear power? Would poor countries be allowed to burn coal at all? These are just some suggestions for where you might go with this.
You should include:
· A data table showing the years and percentage changes you used in reaching your goal (just like the one in the simulation)
· Two references to popular science articles about the challenges of slowing down global warming.