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2.1 How and why has climate changed in the past?
a Climate has changed in the past through natural causes, on timescales ranging from millions to hundreds of years. Using graphs to examine past climate changes on different timescales, eg ice ages in the Quaternary and UK climate since Roman times. Briefly considering the natural causes of climate change including orbital changes, volcanic activity and solar output.
b Natural climate change in the past has affected people and ecosystems. Examining the impact of a short-term, historical event such as the Little Ice Age on people and farming. Considering the role of geological climate events in past extinction events, eg the extinction of megafauna at the end of the last ice age.
2.2 What challenges might our future climate present us with?
a The Earth’s climate today appears to be changing as a result of human activity, and future climates are uncertain. Examining the sources of carbon dioxide emissions (activities and countries), plotting their rise since the mid 19th century. Considering the role of human activities in producing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and how they lead to the enhanced greenhouse effect.
b Future climates are likely to present major challenges, to the UK and especially to people in the developing world. A brief consideration of the range of projections for global temperature and sea level rise. Examining the range of possible economic and environmental impacts of future climate change in the UK, and in a named developing country, eg Bangladesh.
4.1 Why is water important to the health of the planet?
a The hydrological cycle regulates water supply and links the atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. Investigating the role of the biosphere and the lithosphere in regulating the hydrological cycle and ensuring water supply. Workings of the hydrological cycle, as a system.
b Changes to the hydrological cycle can affect both human and ecosystem health. Investigating the impact of unreliable and insufficient water supply on humans, using a case study from a vulnerable area, eg South-eastern Australia or the Sahel. Considering the impact of climate change on the hydrological cycle and ecosystems, in areas which may experience increased aridity.
8.1 What are the challenges of extreme climates?
a Extreme climates are located in polar regions and hot arid areas; each has key physical characteristics. Investigating the climate of one named extreme environment either polar, eg Alaska, Siberia, or hot arid, eg the Sahel or Kalahari. Examining how flora and fauna are successfully adapted to the chosen climate, but are also vulnerable to change.
b People adapt to the challenges of extreme climates in a variety of ways. Investigating the adaptations people make in one named extreme polar or hot arid climate, such as farming methods, building styles, clothing, transport, energy use. Considering the uniqueness and value of the culture of peoples living in the chosen extreme climate.
8.2 How can extreme environments be managed and protected from the threats they face?
a Extreme climates are under threat from a range of processes, which include climate change. Investigating the threats to people and natural systems in one named polar or hot arid extreme climate area, such as cultural dilution through tourism, pollution though resource exploitation, and land degradation through poor land management. Investigating how climate change could threaten people and natural systems, eg melting, desertification or species migration, in the chosen area.
b Sustainable management is needed locally and globally, if extreme environments are to survive. Assessing a range of local actions, eg intermediate technology, adaptation to changing climates for a named polar or arid extreme climate area. Assessing the role of global actions to protect extreme environments from the threat of climate change.
5.1 What are the environmental issues facing cities?
a Urban regions can generate huge ecofootprints. Assess the environmental impacts and footprints of different urban areas and activities.