The layers of gases/air around us.
The layer of water
The very thin layer of living things on the crust.
The rocks of the crust and deeper towards the core.
How are we damaging each of the spheres?
Atmosphere  releasing CO2 into.
Hydrosphere  using too much water in some areas
Biosphere  deforestation (chopping down the trees)  animals extinct.
Geosphere  using up fossil fuels
The layers of the earth…
The lithosphere (which is solid and brittle) is split into tectonic plates.
These move slowly (2-5cm/yr) on top of a layer called the asthenosphere (which is like porridge)
The mantle is divided into a solid upper part and a semi-liquid lower part
The core consists of a liquid outer core and a solid inner core made out of iron and nickel
CONTINENTAL CRUST = land, low density, thick.
OCEANIC CRUST = under the oceans, thin, dense (heavier than continental therefore sinks)
What are the main differences between the lithosphere and asthenosphere?
The lithosphere is the uppermost part of the Earth, comprising the crust and very top of the mantle. It
is cool and brittle with a temperature up to 900 degrees Celsius. It is solid and made up of two parts,
identified by the rocks granite (continental) and basalt (oceanic).
The asthenosphere is the top part of the mantle. It is below the lithosphere and is partly molten. It
contains peridotite. It has temperatures of 900-1600 degrees Celsius and a higher density than the
lithosphere. It is made of molten rock.
Meteorites give us a clue as to what the core is like.
How do we know that the inside of the earth is hot?
 lava from volcanoes
 hot springs, geysers
Geothermal heat…
Heat from the inside of the earth. Produced by the radioactive decay of uranium etc in the core
and mantle.
As heat rises from the core it creates convection currents in the liquid outer core and mantle.
These convection currents move the tectonic plates on top of them.
PLUMES = where heat moves to the surface e.g. hotspots like Hawaii.
Why tectonic plates move …………
Uranium in the Earth’s
core is unstable and
therefore generates
heat (this is called
radioactive decay)
The magnetosphere….
The earth is surrounded by an invisible magnetic field –made by the outer core (liquid iron) – protects
the earth from harmful radiation from space/the sun.
The continents were once all joined together – Pangea. How do we know this? Identical fossils and rocks
have been found in western Africa and Eastern South America for example.
Today the lithosphere is split into 15 tectonic plates. Where 2 plates meet together = plate boundary.
Constructive plate boundary…
Where two oceanic plates are moving apart from each other.
Rising convection currents pull the oceanic crust apart
forming a volcanic ridge.
 New oceanic crust is forming constantly in the gap created.
 The magma is injected between the two plates. As it cools it
forms new oceanic crust.
 The magma is runny. Shallow sided (shield) volcanoes form.
 Example: Eurasian and North American plates.
 Small earthquakes are formed by friction as the plates tear apart.
 Volcanoes that are not very explosive/dangerous.
Examples are Iceland – the Mid Atlantic Ridge
Destructive plate boundary…
Where an oceanic plate meets a continental plate. They are
moving towards each other.
 The denser oceanic plate is subducted beneath the less dense
continental plate. As it subducts the oceanic plate melts due to
the higher temperatures within the lithosphere
 very destructive earthquakes
 tsunami
 very explosive, destructive (composite/cone) volcanoes which
cool to be steep sided. Examples are Andes mountains, Peru, Chile.
Tsunami formation…….
Where two plates collide (destructive plate boundary e.g.
Pacific Plate & Philippine Plate) the denser oceanic plate will
begin to subduct because it is heavier. As the oceanic plate
subducts the continental plate is dragged down with it. Tension
and pressure builds. Eventually the continental plate is released
(during an earthquake) and jolts upwards, displacing water
upwards and creating tsunami waves in all directions. In the
open ocean the wave height of a tsunami is less than 1metre,
but as the waves approach the coast they slow down, bunch up
and wave height increases up to 30 metres (due to the seabed
becoming shallower).
Convection currents from the
mantle bring magma towards
the surface. Magma is forced
between the plates, cools and
forms new oceanic crust.
Conservative plate boundary…
Formed where two plates are sliding past each other.
 destructive earthquakes
 small earth tremors daily.
 no volcanoes
Example is San Andreas Fault, California
Collision Zone
A type of destructive boundary where two continental plates move
towards each other. As they meet they push upwards forming mountain ranges
e.g. Himalayas.
 destructive earthquakes
 landslides  volcanoes are rare
Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI)
Measures the destructive power of a volcano on a scale from 1 to 8.
0 equals a non-explosive volcano, 8 equals a mega-colossal volcano!
Volcanic Hazards:
Pyroclastic flows – fast flowing, deadly clouds of hot ash and gas.
Lahars – volcanic mudslides
Lava flows
Ash builds up on the roofs of houses  buildings collapse.
Acid rain is created.
volcanic case study)
Where is Montserrat located?
Montserrat is a small island situated in the Caribbean Sea. To the north-west are Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There is a
volcanic area located in the south of the island on Soufriere Hills called Chances Peak.
What plate boundary does it lie upon?
The Caribbean island of Montserrat is situated on a destructive plate boundary. As a result an oceanic plate (South American) is
being subducted below the Caribbean plate causing destructive volcanoes/earthquakes.
When did the volcano first show signs of erupting and at what stages did it get worse?
Before 1995 it had been dormant for over 300 years. The eruption of Chances Peak Volcano started on 18 July 1995 and
continued for many years afterwards. On 25 June 1997 at about 1 p.m. it erupted catastrophically.
What hazards were associated with it the eruption in 1997?
A pyroclastic flow was sent down the side of the volcano towards the north of the island.
5. What were the immediate responses to the volcanic eruption?
Emergency shelter was given to people whose homes were destroyed, but this was often poor quality and people remained
in shelter for a long time
Emergency services tried to rescue people who were trapped
Medical treatment was given to people who needed it
People were evacuated from areas at risk
What were the long term responses?
£41 million was given in aid by the British Government although riots occurred as locals complained that the British were
not doing enough to help the island. Money was given to individuals to help them move to other countries. The MVO
(Montserrat Volcano Observatory) was set up to study the volcano and provide warnings for the future. A Risk assessment
was done to help islanders understand which areas are at risk and reduce problems for the future.
Primary impacts
(Impacts caused straight away by
the eruption)
Secondary impacts
(These impacts came in the
days, weeks, years
following the eruption)
2/3 of the island was covered in ash
As most of the southern
area was destroyed any
remaining inhabitants have
had to endure harsh living
conditions in the North.
50% of the population were
evacuated to the north of the island
to live in makeshift shelters
23 people died in 1997
Plymouth - the capital became a
ghost town
Floods as valleys were blocked with
The airport and port were closed
Transport remains a
problem for people
travelling to the island as
the port and airport remain
The tourist industry is still
suffering with few visitors
except for cruise ships
looking at the volcano
Farmland was destroyed
Social impacts
(People impacts)
50% of the population
evacuated to the north of
the island in makeshift
23 people died in the 1997
Many schools and hospitals
Between 100 -150 houses
were destroyed
Economic impacts
(The impacts on jobs,
trade and money
The airport and port
were closed
Farmland was
The tourist industry is
still suffering with
few visitors except
for cruise ships
looking at the
Over half the population left
the island and have not
Many schools and hospitals were
Sakurajima, Japan (MEDC)
Stratovolcano/ composite volcano (steep sided)
Destructive plate boundary
Can erupt 200 times a year.
 40% of the land is fertile, volcanic soil 
can grow rice and tea.
 Hot springs are a tourist attraction.
 Sheltered bay is good for the fishing
 7000 people live at the base (are
 There are lots of urban areas around the
 The volcano hurls bombs of lava.
 Pyroclastic flows and ash erupting.
Managing the threat:
 Japan is a developed country so has money…..
 Aircraft monitor the amount of gas being given off.
 Tiltmeter detects swelling of magma in the rocks.
 Boreholes measure the temperature of the water.
 Hotsprings are monitored
 Seismometers monitor earthquake activity.
 Concrete shelters protect people from bombs/ash.
 Concrete lahar channels divert dangerous mudflows.
 Evacuation routes clearly sign posted.
 Evacuation drills.
Why are people in developing countries at greater risk from tectonic
hazards than people in developed countries?
More live in risky conditions – no where else for them to live.
Can’t afford safe, well built houses  they collapse easily
Don’t have insurance
Governments don’t have the money to provide aid.
Poor communications – no warning or evacuation.
African rift valley
Constructive boundary
2002 hot and runny lava poured out. A river of lava 1000m wide flowed 20km into the city of
 14 villages destroyed
 100 died – due to poisonous gas and trapped in the lava flow.
 12 500 homes destroyed
Was predicted – 400 000 were evacuated
Refugees created (people forced to move due to natural hazards or war)
(help given by organisations/countries to help those facing an emergency).
 United Nations sent 260 tonnes of food.
 UK TV appeal
 Governments around the world gave $35 million
 Emergency measles vaccinations by the World Health Organisation.
 most fled with nothing
 it was months before they could start rebuilding.
EARTHQUAKES can’t be predicted!
Underground plates try to push past each other– builds up pressure – suddenly released along faults
(cracks in the crust). Energy is sent out in all directions.
Magnitude = power of the earthquake
Seismometer measures the power on the Richter scale
NAMED EXAMPLE: Niigata, 2007 AND
Kobe 1995, both Japan, how
Both earthquakes were the same magnitude but…
Niigata, 2007, Japan
 City of 90 000 – low population density
 11 died
 1000 injured
 Epicentre was offshore (out to sea) so less
shaking of the land.
 6pm. People were alert and remembered
their drills.
Kobe, 1995, Japan
 City of 1.1 million ( high population density)
 5000 died
 26 000 injured
 Soft ground made the shaking worse
 6am so people asleep and confused.
Long term planning…
There is a 70% chance of a huge earthquake hitting Tokyo. No way to predict it so….
 Earthquake drills
 Emergency services practice rescuing people
 People keep emergency kits at home – water, torch, radio, food.
 Strong, double glazed windows – stop the glass from shattering.
Shock absorbers
 Strong steel frame
Cross bracing
Very deep foundation
Earthquakes in the developing world (LEDC)…….
Very high death tolls
china 2008
 8.0 on the Richter scale
 Collision zone where the Indian and Eurasian plates are colliding.
 No warning
PRIMARY EFFECTS (Caused instantly by the earthquake)
70 000 died
400 000 injured
5 million made homeless
$75 billion damage
SECONDARY EFFECTS (in the days and weeks following the earthquake)
Lots of aftershocks  buildings collapse
 Prime minister flew in
 50 000 soldiers helped dig for survivors
 Helicopters used to reach the isolated
 $1.5 billion aid from the Chinese people
 Some countries sent money – UK $2 million
 Finland sent 8000 tents
 Indonesia sent medicines
 Rescue teams from Russia and Hong Kong
Richter Scale
Time of day
Plate boundary
Number killed
Number injured
Property damage
Primary impacts
Secondary impacts
Sichuan, China 2008- LEDC (developing)
Collision zone (Indian plate and Eurasian
5 million homeless
$75 billion rebuilding
70,000 died
375,000 injured
5 million building collapsed include
Roads blocked by landslides
Communication disrupted
1 million people lost their jobs
420,000 building collapsed in 6.2
Kobe, Japan, 1995- MEDC (developed)
Subduction zone (Philippine plate below
$100 billion
5000 people died
26,000 injured
Bridges and roads collapsed
Train lines damaged
Communications links destroyed
$100 billion of damage
Many fires broke out across the city caused
by broken gas pipes.
Businesses affected for many weeks.
Homelessness, disrupted schooling, stress
and unemployment.
Other key facts?
1 million people lost their jobs
Response/ management
Local: 50,000 soldiers were sent to help
dig for survivors
Chinese people donated $15. Billion.
Helicopters were used to reach the most
isolated areas.
International: UK gave $2 million, Finland
sent 8000 six-person tents, Indonesia
sent 8 tonnes of medicines, rescue flew
from Hong Kong and South Korea.
Epicentre 20KM from Kobe (population 1.5
million). High population density
Friends and neighbours looked for survivors.
Motorola maintained free telephone
Railways 80% operation in a month.
WEATHER = short term, day to day changes in the atmosphere.
CLIMATE = the average weather conditions over 30 years.
How do we know climate was different in the past?
Fossils of animals and plants that no longer live in the UK.
Landforms left by glaciers
Samples from ice sheets in Antarctica. Ice sheets are made up of layers of ice, a layer for each
year. Trapped in the ice sheets are air bubbles. Climatologists study the CO2 levels to
reconstruct past climates.
INTERGLACIALS = warm periods
GLACIALS = cold periods  ice ages  ice sheets 400-3000m thick extended across the northern
How do we know climate has changed in the more recent past?
Old photos, paintings
Recorded dates of blossom and migration of birds.
Theories used to explain why climate has changed in the past (Natural
ERUPTION THEORY – very large and explosive volcanic eruptions change earth’s climate. Ash
and gas spread around the stratosphere and stop sunlight reaching the earth’s surface 
cools the earth. Example is Mt Pinatubo, 1991, Philippines – reduced global sunlight by 10% and
cooled the earth 0.5 degrees for a year.
SUNSPOT THEORY – black areas on the sun’s surface. Sometimes there are more then they
disappear. Spots mean greater activity and more solar energy being sent towards the earth 
ORBITAL THEORY/MILANKOVITH CYCLES – Changes in the way the earth orbits the sun
from circular to ellipse alters the amount of sunlight the earth receives.
Viking Greenland
In 982 Vikings moved to Greenland and found it free of ice. This was the
Medieval warm period. During this time Greenland had
- A POPULATION OF 3,000-4000 Vikings
- Trade links with Iceland and Norway
Summer hunting expeditions north of the Arctic circle to hunt seals and
The Greenland Vikings survived for 4 centuries but after 1410 they died
out due to the start of the Little Ice Age.
NAMED EXAMPLE: the Little Ice age
Greenland Vikings ran out of food and died as temperatures fell.
In England there were ‘frost fairs’ on the river Thames when it froze.
Crops failed
‘Great famine’
Farmers died of hunger
Glaciers in the Alps grew and destroyed villages
They had to change their crops from wheat to potatoes
Ecosystems – where plants and animals interact with each other and their environment in order to
survive. Can be small e.g. pond or large e.g. Tropical Rainforest.
How were ecosystems affected by climate change in the past?
The dinosaur extinction was possibly caused by a massive asteroid hitting Mexico and a huge
volcano in India combining  dust, ash, gas into the stratosphere  blocks the sun  cools the
climate  plants don’t grow  dinosaurs have no food……..knock on effect through the food chain.
Megafauna extinction – big animals like the woolly mammoth. The climate was warming so they
had to find new areas to live where the climate suited them. This disrupted food chains. Humans
also hunted them to extinction.
How is our atmosphere being changed by human activity?
Greenhouse gases (CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, Methane from paddy
fields and cattle, Nitrous oxide from aircraft engines and fertilisers) trap heat from leaving the
atmosphere and re-radiate that heat back down to earth. The greater the concentration of
greenhouse gases, the more heat is trapped and the warmer earth becomes.
We need the NATURAL greenhouse effect – it makes the planet 16 degrees warmer. Without it
the earth would be too cold for us to survive.
The extra greenhouse gases produces by humans  burning fossil fuels  power stations,
transport, industry, homes.
Most greenhouse gases are produced by developed countries – the EU, USA, Japan.
The average person in the developing world
produces 1 tonne of CO2.
The average person in the developed world
produces 10-25 tonnes of CO2.
We are worried about increasing emissions. Issues we need to think
 how can we decrease emissions in the developed world.
 how can we persuade developing countries e.g. China, India to slow their CO2 emissions.
 how do we protect vulnerable people from the impacts of climate change?
GLOBAL WARMING = a warming of the earth’s temperatures caused by the ENHANCED
greenhouse effect (human’s have polluted the atmosphere so it is working more strongly).
 Global temperatures increase.
 sea levels rise  THERMAL EXPANSION (water droplets expand as warm) and glaciers and ice
sheets melt.
What evidence is there of Global Warming happening?
19 out of 20 warmest years on record since 1980.
Sea ice in the Arctic shrank.
90% glaciers shrinking.
Scientists disagree – are human actions the main cause of global warming OR is it mostly natural??
Predicting future Global Warming is hard….as we don’t know:
What the future population will be.
If we will continue to use fossil fuels or change to cleaner fuels e.g. solar, wind power…
If we will change our lifestyles  recycle  use public transport etc.
The UK Climate
The UK has a temperate climate – mild temperatures relative to latitude and rainfall most months of the
year. The difference between seasons is relatively small. The Uk’s climate is infludenced by a warm
ocean current called the North Atlantic drift which makes the UK warmer than other places on the same
The UK’s climate is also influenced by the polar front. In Winter the polar front moves south bringing
polar and arctic air masses. In Summer it moves north allowing tropical air masses to move in. The polar
front is hard to predict and helps to explain why the Uk’S weather is unpredictable.
Maritime climates – are found close to the sea.
Continental climates occur far from the sea in the middle of continents – climates are more extreme.
How might the UK be affected by Global Warming?
1. Likely to be WARMER:
Summer drought and water shortages,
especially in the south.
More illnesses e.g. sunstroke, skin cancer.
Roads melt, railway lines buckle.
Farmers change crops to those that need
less water and more sun.
Extinctions of some plants and animals as it
gets too hot.
Winter heating costs and the costs of
gritting the roads fall.
Tourism increases – good for the economy.
Fewer deaths in winter especially the
elderly from the cold.
More land can be farmed at higher
2. Getting cooler
Some scientists believe that the Polar front could move south causing the UK to become cooler and
bringing more rainfall as warm moist air meets polar air. This could lead to:
 Low lying coasts could flood
 Greater erosion e.g. Holderness
 Sea defences and flood barriers eg Thames barrier would cost £millions.
Some scientists believe global warming will lead to wilder weather in the UK
 Heatwaves
 Floods
 Storms
Extreme weather is hard to predict and costly.
The Stern Review 2005
We should spend 2% our GDP now, reducing pollution OR the effects of global warming could decrease
our GDP by 20%. ‘Spend now or pay later’.
What can we do?
Decrease fossil fuel use.
Switch to ‘green energy’ – wind, solar, tidal.
Recycle more
Use cars less and public transport more.
1997 Kyoto Protocol= international agreement to cut CO2 emissions.
Some countries e.g. UK have cut emissions, others e.g. China haven’t. We need ALL countries to sign up.
NAMED EXAMPLE: Egypt – the possible
impacts of Global Warming
A developing country
Low greenhouse gas emissions – 2.6 tonnes per person per year (world average = 6.8)
Produce less than 1% all greenhouse gases.
99% of Egypt’s people live in 5% land area as so much is desert.
Average rainfall = less than 10mm/yr
The River Nile is an important water supply.
With Global Warming…
 If sea levels rise 50cm, 1/3 of the city of Alexandria would be under water.
 10% Nile Delta would flood  7 million people would have to leave their homes.  farming would
be hit.  there would be less food famine.
 Less and more unreliable rainfall  water shortages.
 Desertification
 Heatwaves  illness and death.
 Malaria increase.
Water Wars??
86% of the Nile’s water starts its journey in Ethiopia.
Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia are all building huge dams for Hydro Electric Power (HEP).
This could have a serious impact on the amount of water reaching Egypt.
This could lead to conflict and war.
Egypt has a debt of $30 billion. It may not be able to cope with the impacts of global warming.
Bangladesh has 150 million people living within it, with average income of £1 per day, therefore they are
vulnerable to global warming. It is a low lying country that is already experiencing many problems from
coastal and river flooding.
Agricultural land lost to rising sea
levels. Therefore, employment also lost
within agriculture.
Fishermen are also losing their jobs, as
floods have destroyed harbours and
fishing boats.
Loss of mangrove forest on the south
coast. Being killed by the increasing
salinity of the water due to rising sea
River flooding would become worse
from heavier rains and sea level rise.
Rising river levels makes the transport
of goods difficult (can’t get under
Tropical storms could become even
more frequent and may move inland,
doing more damage.
More river flooding would mean more
damage to people’s homes and more
disruption to lives and the economy.
The dry season is already getting
longer and this could cause more
The cost of protecting homes and
businesses from flooding
Ecosystem = is a unit made of living things and their non-living environment, including the
climate. They can range in size.
The world has 9 major biomes – determined by climate:
 Temperature – length of the growing season
 Precipitation
Global factors affecting biomes
Why does climate vary around the world?
At the equator the sun’s rays hit the earth at right angles, therefore
concentrating the insolation and making it very hot. At the poles the rays hit at a
greater angle, so the insolation is spread out over a greater area and is much less
At the equator the air is always rising = LOW pressure = clouds and rain =
At 30 degrees north and south of the equator the air is always sinking = HIGH
pressure = no clouds and no rain = deserts.
At the polar front warm air meets cold air = LOW pressure = clouds and rain =
deciduous forest.
At the poles the air is always sinking = High pressure = no clouds and rain = desert
Local factors affecting biomes include:
ALTITUDE: (height of the land) – as height increases so the climate gets increasingly cold and wet.
Temperature decreases 1 degree for every 100m of height.
Distance from the SEA: keeps places near the coast cooler in summer and warmer in winter (as water
heats up and cools down more slowly than the land) this is called continentality.
PREVAILING WINDS: If the most common winds come from across the land, the climate = dry. If
across the sea, the climate – wet. From the poles = cold, from the equator = warm.
A climate graph…
The RED line graph = average temperature for each month.
The BLUE bar graph = average rainfall for each month.
TEMPERAURE RANGE = difference between min and max temperatures.
The biosphere as a life support system:
Goods and services
GOODS = things of value to us
SERVICES = things that satisfy our needs
Fruit, nuts
Food crops
Meat, fish, wood
Biomass for energy
Drinking water, water for farming
Gene pool
Pollination for food webs
Climate regulation
Atmosphere gas balance (trees remove co2 and
give out oxygen)
Recreation – tourism
Homes for humans and wildlife
Biodiversity – the range of animals and plants
NAMED EXAMPLE: conflict in THE
TRF indigenous people (lived their for many generations) - almost everything provided by the rainforest:
 Wood for cooking and building
 herbs for medicine
 food – nuts, fruit, meat, fish
 grow crops – shifting cultivation (sustainable process)
 TNC’s (giant companies operating in many countries) exploit the TRF:
 logging for timber/paper
 farming – palm oil for example
 cattle ranches
 mining for oil
 governments building dams for HEP
 roads
This means…
 The soil is eroded and washed away  floods.
 Wildlife loses habitats
 Rivers become dirty and polluted
PLAYERS… Different people and organisations who use the biosphere in different ways.
NAMED EXAMPLE: The Rondonia region of
the Amazon rainforest, Brazil
Brazil’s fastest area of deforestation since the 1980s. There have been many groups with
conflicting interests.
 Indigenous tribes clashed with logging companies over land claims
 Logging companies clashed with eco-tourism developments
 Mining companies clashed with logging companies
The area has been developed for protection/conservation and production.
How is the biosphere being degraded by human actions?
Every year the ‘red list’ of endangered animals is produced.
Increasingly, habitats are being damaged and destroyed  this leads to increased threat of species
Immediate causes = logging, tourist pressures, overfishing, pollution
Root causes = increasing populations, poverty and debt e.g. Indonesia – uses logging as a way of improving
their economy and increasing wealth.
Certain species and places are particularly under threat.
There are 25 ‘hotspots’ where there is greatest concentration of biodiversity (number of plants and
This can cause the extinction of
wild animals e.g. Krill
MINING: Cuts away
whole hillsides.
e.g. oil drilling in the
water pollution
from oil, farming
and industry
increased flooding and increased soil
erosion e.g. Amazon Rainforest.
Threats to the biosphere…
New species often
breed well and take over
to farmland/urban –
destroys the ecosystem
Mass tourism disturbs wildlife.
How have ecosystems changed over time?
MASS EXTINCTION = extinction of a large number of species in a short time.
Are we heading towards another mass extinction? We are threatening the ability of the biosphere to
provide goods and services due to:
 Population growth
 Using more food, oil, water, minerals
 Human induced change (global warming)
Impacts of indirect degradation of the biosphere: climate change
Habitats change due to increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels
Extreme weather = more common
Oceans = more acidic as more freshwater is added. Kills coral reefs.
Increased pests and diseases.
Species face extinction
Krill numbers falling
Glaciers melting
Emperor penguins decreased 50%
How can we conserve the biosphere?
Should we save the hotspots or a representation of all of the biomes?
Should we restore devastated areas?
Should we conserve high profile animals or keystone species (have a large effect on other living
things e.g. bees)
GLOBAL ACTIONS… (countries working together)
 RAMSAR  conserving wetlands. Involves 163 countries. Each country agrees to:
Identify important wetland areas and to manage them carefully
Use them wisely – fishing and tourism should be sustainable
Co-operate with other countries when wetlands go across borders
 CITES  stop ivory trade/crocodile skins. It is very difficult to manage.
NATIONAL ACTIONS… (a particular country)
 National Parks England and Wales – protected areas e.g. The Peak District. They have detailed
planning restrictions and try to limit pressures from tourism.
 Community Forests – e.g. White Rose Forest between Leeds and Sheffield = new areas of trees
near cities
 Paying farmers to replace hedgerows
 SSSIs – areas where rare species are protected from development by law. Restricted access
LOCAL ACTIONS… (local area)
 Biodversity action plans e.g Havering Wildlife Trust, Bedfords Park.
meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
Tropical Rainforests – make sure it isn’t used faster than it is renewed.
In the 1980s people realised that closing off great areas of forest to try to protect them was not a
success. People still carried out illegal logging/poaching/harvesting. Another form of managing these
areas was needed.
Sustainable management can be thought of as a middle way between total protection (no-one has access)
and total exploitation (no protection at all).
Ways to do this…
 Zoning of areas – zones are used for different purpose (see below)
 Educating local people
 Ecotourism
 Only cut large trees
NAMED EXAMPLE: Klum, Cameroon
Republic: Sustainable Forest
An area of mountain forest, and home to 35 communities from 3 tribes (250,000 people). The
government/Kew Gardens, London/local people have worked together to:
create zones used for different purposes and have different levels of protection (see below)
develop an area of selective logging and rules for its sustainable use
 create tree nurseries to replace trees cut down (afforestation)
 promote ecotourism
 mark out protected areas and set up a unit to monitor the forest
 educate local people to grow crops beneath the trees instead of cutting them down.
Key Question: Why is water important to the health of the planet?
The hydrological cycle is a CLOSED SYSTEM – A finite amount of water going round and round. None is
added or lost.
STORES: rocks (can be stored for 100’s yrs), soil, lakes, oceans (97% water stored BUT too salty to use)
The soil, lakes and rocks hold relatively small amounts of fresh water – but are in high demand as
sources of water..
TRANSFERS/FLOWS: Surface runoff, throughflow, groundwater flow, infiltration, precipitation.
Intercepts precipitation
½ is evapotranspiration without ever reaching the
ground = GREEN WATER
Drips from leaves and infiltrates the soil
Water Crisis
Demand increases as population increases.
Increased demand from agriculture – irrigating their crops uses huge amounts of water.
Supplies are increasingly unpredictable
Possibility of water wars – Middle East – fighting over water.
Economic development – China, India – increased demand for water
Rising living standards = use more water e.g. showers, washing machines etc.
Only ½ freshwater runoff (BLUE WATER) is used.
Most is inaccessible.
WATER STRESS = when demand is greater than supply or when it is not of good enough quality to use.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the most water stressed countries in the world  they use huge
quantities for irrigating cotton crops.
SW USA, Central Asia = PHYSICAL WATER SCARCITY – Demand > availability
Sub Saharan Africa = ECONOMIC WATER SCARCITY – supply available but people can’t afford to
exploit them. Lack of money to build storage facilities or distribute water.
Belt of semi-arid land south of the Sahara, Africa.
Rains usually 1 or 2 months a year. Total 250-450mm/yr.
Since 1970 rainfall has been below average. Some years 25% less than average.
Sometimes rainfall is so heavy when it does fall that most is lost as surface runoff leading to
Other years there is no rain at all  rivers dry up  water table falls  farmers crops fail 
animals die  desertification  decreased food supplies  famine.
Global warming means…
Less rain for some areas
Increased rate of glacier melt
More extreme weather events  floods and storms and droughts.
Richer countries e.g. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (profit from oil) can buy their way out of trouble e.g.
desalination  turning sea water into fresh water (very expensive).
Developing countries rely on rainfall for their crops  + unstable  food insecurity and famine.
Key Question: How can water resources be managed sustainably?
Threats to water quality…
People can suffer economic water stress if water isn’t safe. Pollution can be: domestic, industrial,
agricultural, transport related.
Eutrophication- This is the process where ecosystems (usually lakes) become more fertile as fertilizers
and sewage flow in. The loss of oxygen in the water kills off all species
Developing countries…
 The highest levels of pollution are found in rapidly developing countries like India and China – they
put economic growth before environmental protection.
 Rapidly growing cities means slums  streams = badly polluted as no sewage systems in place.
 Chemicals added to crops = runoff….
Developed countries…
 E.g. UK, Japan – have taken big steps to control pollution.
 Tertiary and quaternary industries cause less pollution than primary and secondary.
– Japan – ‘60’s = heavily polluted rivers and lakes. 70’s
government introduced standards to improve water quality. Now much better.
Impacts of pollution…
Diseases e.g. cholera
Eutrophication – fertilisers make algae grow really fast – takes all O2 out of water – all living
things in river/lake die.
Cancer (Erin Brokovitch)
Interfering in the hydrological cycle…
We use water for: farming, drinking, washing, industry, habitats for plants and animals, power
generation (HEP), waste disposal.
How people intervene in the water cycle:
1. CLOUD SEEDING: making it rain
2. DEFORESTATION: Decreased interception  increased flooding
3. URBANISATION: Increased impermeable surfaces
4. OVERABSTRACTION: taking too much water from rivers and lakes
6. GLOBAL WARMING: melting glaciers
OVERABSTRACTION: Too much water is being taken from the river/lake/water source.
Thames Valley, S. Eng.
 Dramatic decrease in river flow
 Tributaries dried up
 Ecosystem damaged
Droughts and increased demand from more homes  increased use of groundwater supplies  falling
water table so the store of water is not used sustainably.
 most water companies now have strict policies CAMS for managing water levels.
RESERVOIR BUILDING: Adds a new store to the hydrological cycle. But….brings
 loss of land – drowns villages, farmland
 disease – stagnant water  mosquitoes
 vegetation drowned releases methane = greenhouse gas
 Water supply
 Recreation – fishing, sailing, walking, wildlife
Fewer trees = less evapotranspiration. Less green water recycled = less rain.
Soil left exposed to the sun and rain
Less nutrients in the soil
Raindrops wash out the finer soil, leaving coarse, heavy surface.
Less interception  greater flood risk
Solutions to the water crisis…
If we use water faster than it can be replenished this is not sustainable
Large scale water management projects: Big dams
 Increased water supply
 Recreational use
 HEP – Industry
 Habitat for water birds
 Fishing
 loss of farmland/villages
 less navigation
 people have to be relocated
 disease – stagnant water
 loss of cultural sites
 interferes with fish migration
NAMED EXAMPLE: china: south to
north water diversion project
To transfer water from the south to the dry north.
Complete 2050
Loss of ancient sites, displaced people
NAMED EXAMPLE: three gorges dam
To provide HEP and prevent flooding
Impacted biodiversity
1.4 million people had to be relocated
NAMED EXAMPLE: Hoover dam, USa
The most expensive engineering project in US history $49 million
Virtually none of the Colorado River reaches the sea
The estuary of the river is dead which impacts the birds and fish
In 2010 lake mead had only 40% full- the water is running out!
Small scale solutions…
NGO’s (Non Governmental Organisations) e.g. WaterAid develop small scale solutions.
APPROPRIATE/INTERMEDIATE SOLUTIONS: Schemes that meet the needs of local people and the
environment in which they live. Within their technical ability – they can operate and maintain the scheme
themselves. They can continue to run it when the NGO has left e.g RAINWATER HARVESTING – using
guttering to collect rainwater and divert it into a tank. TUBE WELLS – to pump up water. LOW COST
Old Zhimkhana – slum on disused railway station. No safe water or toilets.
WaterAid constructed 6 tube wells and 2 new sanitation blocks
 people are no longer continually ill
they can run facilities themselves
 moving out of poverty
In the past women had to walk long distances to get water. Now they have safe water for drinking,
cooking, washing and personal hygiene.
Problems of small scale schemes…
A huge number of people suffer from HIV/AIDS  too ill to operate.
In general, Intermediate technology is more sustainable than large scale schemes.
THE COASTAL ZONE = the zone between the land and sea.
Coasts are always changing.
Soft rock coasts (easily eroded by the sea, such as clay):
May be high but less rugged and less steep than hard rock coasts
Will have piles of mud and clay on the face and at the bottom of the cliff
Will have very few hard rocks at the foot of the cliff
Hard rock coasts (very resistant to erosion by the sea, such as granite):
Will be high, steep and rugged
Will have a bare cliff face
Will have some rocks and boulders at the foot of the cliff
Will have erosional features such as caves, arches and stacks
EROSION: The process of wearing the cliffs away.
The power of water/waves
forced into cracks and
forcing the rocks apart
Rocks are hurled against
the cliff. They scour away
like sandpaper.
Two rocks crash into each
other and break down into
smaller pieces.
Some rocks are very resistant to erosion e.g. granite.
Some rocks are least resistant e.g. clays and will erode quickly.
Coastal Landforms…
Wave Cut Notch/Platform
The sea attacks the base of the cliff forming a
wave-cut notch.
The notch increases in size causing the cliff to
The process repeats and the cliff continues to
A wave cut platform is left at the bottom. Exposed
at low tides.
Caves, Arches, Stacks and Stumps…
ROCK STRUCTURE = the way rock types are arranged. Usually in layers (strata).
Concordant and Discordant coastlines:
DISCORDANT coastline
– different layers of rock
at right angles to the coast.
CONCORDANT coastline – the rock type is the same
along the whole coastline.
NAMED EXAMPLE: Concordant coast:
lulworth cove
The weaker rock here is limestone. The hard rock here is sandstone. The soft rock erodes much faster
than the hard rock creating bays. The more resistant rock is left sticking out as headlands.
Weaknesses in the rock can be:
 JOINTS: small, natural cracks
 FAULTS: larger cracks caused in the past by tectonic movements
The wind blows across the sea. Friction between the wind and water creates waves. The size of the
waves depends on:
 The strength of the wind
 How long the wind blows for
 The length of water the wind lows over (the fetch). This is why Cornwall
has the biggest waves in England.
Wave length and amplitude…
How waves break…
1. Out at sea the wind creates a wave shape.
2. Within a wave each water particle moves in a circular movement and returns to the start.
It is only energy and not the water itself that is moving forward.
3. When the wave reaches shallow water the wave is distorted from a circular shape to an
ellipse shape until it becomes so top heavy that it ‘breaks’.
4. it is now not only energy but also water that moves forwards.
Swash and backwash…
The waves come up the beach (swash) in the direction
of the prevailing wind.
The waves go back down the beach (backwash) at right
angles due to gravity.
Summer waves = constructive waves:
long wavelengths
low amplitudes
strong swash so transport sand up the beach and deposit it – builds up the beach.
Winter waves = destructive waves:
taller (larger amplitude)
closer together (shorter wavelength)
plunging waves = dangerous as are so quick the backwash has to flow under the incoming wave = rip
current = dangerous to swimmers as can drag them out to sea.
strong backwash – erodes sand from the beach and carries it out to sea where it is deposited.
Steep beach is formed
Coastal landforms of deposition…
SEDIMENT = tiny clay particles, sand, silt, pebbles, boulders.
Longshore Drift…
The particles of sand or shingle are transported along the
beach in a zig zag movement, carried by the swash and
backwash. As the prevailing wind is usually in the same
direction so LSD usually is too.
Sand Dunes…
Strong onshore winds blow the sand inshore.
At a corner in the coastline LSD
continues to deposit out to sea
forming a neck of sand and
The end is curved round by the
wind and waves.
Salt marsh forms in the shelter
of the spit (due to deposition)
A tombolo is where the
sediment joins the
mainland to an island.
A bar joins two sections
of mainland.
Dune Plants…
Plants that grow on the sand dunes need to be tough…
 Long roots to hold them in place during strong winds
 Tough, waxy leaves
 Can survive being sprayed with salt water
 E.g. marram grass
Coasts and the Changing Climate…
With increasing sea levels due to thermal expansion (water particles expand as they warm up) and the
melting of the ice sheets. Low lying coastlines e.g. Bangladesh, Essex, Pacific islands = at risk.
 The gravity of the moon creates tides. Twice a day we have high tides which gives raised sea
 A few times a year we have ‘spring tides’ which are very high.
 If a spring tide and low air pressure coincide = a STORM SURGE = huge waves flooding the coast.
 Global warming could make depressions more powerful and therefore storm surges more common.
 Higher sea levels and more storms would = faster erosion rates.
 Current sea defences would be useless and we would have to spend a lot of money on new ones.
Why do cliffs collapse?
1. MARINE (sea) processes – the base of the cliff is eroded by hydraulic action and abrasion.
2. SUBAERIAL processes – weathering and mass movements – weathering (the breakdown of rocks
where they are) = freeze thaw, chemical. Mass movements (movement of materials downslope) 
heavy rain saturates the rock. The water infiltrates and adds weight to the cliff, making it
3. HUMAN ACTIONS – building on the top of the cliff – heavy load pushes
down on the cliff.
During a big storm heavy rain saturates permeable rock. There is erosion by the
sea aswell  a chunck of cliff gives way and slides down the cliff as a
Coastal Management…
HARD ENGINEERING – traditional, building structures, costly, ugly.
SOFT ENGINEERING – working with nature. Cheaper, less intrusive.
reflect the waves back out to sea
Makes it hard to access the beach
The wall itself erodes = high maintenance costs.
Trap and stop the longshore drift from moving along. Builds up a nice
big sandy beach. This is the best form of protection against erosion –
the wave moves around every grain of sand, taking lots of energy out of
the wave (energy is dissipated).
Good for tourism
Has a negative impact down the coast which is starved of sediment –
here the beach becomes smaller and offers less protection so erosion
rates increase greatly. This = conflict.
Big boulders placed at the base of the cliff – dissipate the energy of
the waves.
Looks natural.
Makes access to the beach difficult.
Can be hard to transport the boulders into position.
 Locals want hard engineering – it looks like
something serious is being done to protect
 Local businesses e.g. caravan parks, hotels.
 Local politicians who want the residents
 Local taxpayers who don’t live at the coast.
 Environmentalists – worry about habitats
being destroyed.
 People who live down coast negative
Modern management…
Holistic management  managing the whole stretch of coast and not just one place. Holistic
management takes into account:
 The needs of different groups of people
 Economic costs and benefits
 The environment of land and sea
ICZM – Integrated Coastal Zone Management
SMP – Shoreline Management Plans – for long stretches of coast. This should stop one place building
groynes if it will effect down the coast.
Council choices…
Councils have 4 choices of how to manage the coast:
1. HOLD THE LINE: use defences to stop erosion and keep the coast where it is. Expensive.
2. ADVANCE THE LINE: move the coast further into the sea. Very expensive.
3. STRATEGIC RETREAT: gradually let the coast erode and move people/businesses away as
necessary. Compensation has to be paid.
4. DO NOTHING: let nature take its course.
NAMED EXAMPLE: North Norfolk
Hold line
Do nothing
Hold line
Maintain existing
Do nothing
defences. Strategic
retreat when these fail
Soft engineering approaches:
Planting vegetation – make the cliff more stable
Beach nourishment – pump sand onto the beach, having dredged it from under the sea, to make a
nice big sandy beach. Has to be maintained as LSD moves the sediment down the coast all the
Offshore breakwaters – force the waves to break before they reach the beach.
In cliff drainage to prevent saturation.
Some places are not protected as…
Too expensive to
The value of the land/buildings doesn’t justify the cost
Defences may cause erosion down coast
May be impossible to soon due to global warming and sea level rise.
In some places defences are being abandoned and nature let take its course.
 at the moment the government thinks it is too expensive to protect farmland/isolated houses.
 conflict
 hard to convince people who’ve lived there all their lives that protecting their property is not
 We don’t know the impact rising sea levels will have so planning new defences is difficult.
NAMED EXAMPLE: Holderness coast
(between flamborough head & spurn
Holderness coast
60km of coastline in East Yorkshire
Low cliffs of soft boulder clay with narrow beaches. Easily eroded and prone to slumping when
saturated e.g. Barmston
Cliff line retreating at nearly 2m per year.
Most erosion during storms and tidal surges
Management: groynes and rock armour in Mappleton (£2 million) have been successful
Barmston (do nothing approach)
Why is cliff erosion such a problem on the Holderness coast?
• The cliffs are made of a soft glacial clay
• The coast is very exposed, and waves have a long fetch over the North Sea
• As sea-levels rise more of the cliffs come under attack from the waves
• The waves are mainly destructive ones
• Most of the material which falls into the sea as the cliff collapse is washed out to sea. The
rest is moved along the coast by longshore drift. So the beaches are narrow and give little
protection to the cliffs.
Exam question example - Explain the costs and benefits of using hard engineering techniques to protect a
coastline from erosion. (6 marks)
In Bridlington a sea wall have been built. Although the wall was expensive to build it encouraged
development of the sea front as businesses felt confident that erosion and flooding had been controlled.
Due to the size of the sea wall, access to the beach can be difficult, particularly for older people. Some
local residents feel that the sea wall has became an ugly barrier keeping tourist away from one of the
resorts main attractions (6 marks).
The polar regions and hot arid areas are known as extreme environments because of their
special characteristics. You need to be able to describe the climate of both polar and hot arid
environments. Polar regions are located in areas of high latitude. In contrast, hot arid areas
cover more latitudes but most are located within the tropics.
Polar climate
Cold because of high latitude
Winters are very cold (down to -5O degrees Celsius) with few or no hours of light
Dry, with less than 300mm of precipitation per year falling mostly as snow
Summers are short with many hours of light; this is the growing season for tundra
The coldest glacial regions support no life at all
Hot arid climate
Cold night temperature because there are very few clouds to keep heat in
Dry, with sometimes less than 250mm precipitation per year
Occasional intense downfalls of rain that cause flash flooding
Hot day time temperatures, often above 30 degrees Celsius
There is very little seasonal change in very arid areas – slightly more in semi-arid areas
The hottest arid environments support little plant, animal and human life
Variation – There is a lot of variation within extreme environments
Glacial = ice covered e.g. Greenland
Tundra = frozen soil e.g. Alaska
Hot arid
Deserts = less than 250mm rain per year e.g. Sahara
Drylands = 250-500mm rain per year e.g. Sahel
Why are extreme climates fragile?
How plants (flora) have adapted to a polar environment
How animals (fauna) have adapted to a polar environment
Small ears
reduces heat
Strong legs for swimming
and running helps them
catch their prey
Fur on the soles of the feet better
grip on ice and for insulation
Large feet spreads the load on
snow and ice
Thick layer of white fur insulation against the cold, and
for camouflage
Thick layer of blubber – fat.
Provides insulation and a
store of energy
Polar species are vulnerable to global warming because……………
Warmer temperatures disrupt flowering times
Migrations and hibernation
Animals rely on floating sea ice to move about, but this is melting
Arctic tundra could be squeezed out as coniferous forests move north
Solifluction – in tundra regions, large areas of soil melt and move like a landslide, destroying
vegetation in its path
How do plants and animals survive in the Australian Outback?
SUCCULENCE  plants store water in fleshy leaves, stems and roots.
 Water is captured and stored
 They quickly absorb water through their long roots and store it for long periods.
 Waxy stems and leaves make them waterproof.
 Metabolism slows during times of drought. Growth stops.
 Spikes/toxic/camouflage  protect them against animals wanting to eat them.
 During drought they shed their leaves
 Become dormant (asleep)
 Deep roots to get to underground water
 Most of these survive one season, rapid life cycle and die after seeding.
 Seeds last years and only germinate when soil moisture is high.
THE BILBY – small mammal with a pouch.
 Nocturnal  shelters from the heat to avoid dehydration
 Burrows for moister, cooler conditions
 Obtains enough moisture from food  bulbs, insects etc
 Digs burrows
 Hibernates May-Aug to avoid cold
 Low moisture needs
 Hops (fast, energy efficient travel)
 Feeds at dawn and dusk – air is cooler
 Sleeps during the heat of the day
 Dew = water intake
 Rain triggers hormones so breeding only occurs during rains
In hot arid environments, climate change can lead to ………….
Extreme drought which even the specially dapated flora and fauna can’t survive
Desertification (where the area of desert increase) – Animals and plants that live in
what used to be sem0-arid areas cannot adapt and they die
People and extreme environments
People can adapt to the challenges of extreme climates. You need to know about the adaptations
people have made to living in both extreme polar and hot arid climates. You also need to know
about the special cultures of some of the people living in these areas.
Polar people
The Arctic has a permanent population, unlike Antarctica, spread across several countries.
There are two main types of people: Indigenous groups who still live traditionally in some places,
although may have moved into towns. Immigrants who have moved into the region to work in
mining, oil and gas drilling and other industries.
Building styles
Triple glazing and very think insulation is needed to keep heat in, and cold out.
Roofs need to be sloping to shed heavy snow (see
diagram). Traditionally houses were either
temporary igloos or mobile animal skins.
Farming and food
Arable farming is not possible in polar areas, but reindeer herding is traditional among the Sami
people of Arctic Europe. The traditional Inuit diet (40% protein and 50% fat) included seal,
whale, polar bear and caribou, as well as berries and seaweed. In many areas ice fishing is also
an important food source. Most food has to be imported these days, and is expensive.
Use of geothermal power
Oil and gas are the main energy sources, because renewable energy such as solar and
hydro-electric power (HEP) is unsuited to polar areas. Energy demand for heating and
transport is high.
Driving is easier in winter, when the ground is frozen solid. In summer it is boggy and unstable.
Skis, traditional dog-sleds and modern snowmobiles are often used. ‘Ice roads’ cross frozen
lakes, rivers and even the sea, allowing heavy goods to be transported on trucks in the winter.
Traditional Inuit clothing is made from animal skins sewn together with sinew; today modern hitech insulated clothing has replaced this. Gloves, hats, and multiple layers are essential to
protect against frostbite and hypothermia.
Threats to polar regions
You need to know about the main threats to extreme environments and climate change could
have an impact on traditional economies in these areas
Impact in Alaska (polar)
Oil spills e.g. Exxon Valdez have caused environmental catastrophes in Alaska in
the past
Permafrost melting due to buildings heating up land, especially around big urban
Loss of native languages and cultural traditions – influence of Western culture is
People, especially the young, are moving away due to lack of social and employment
Land degradation
Cultural dilution
Effect of climate change on extreme environment result in warm
summers that……………………
Changes in sea ice cover
Glacier retreat
Species migration
Permafrost melting
Sea level rises results in ………………………………………………………
Coastal flooding
Ecosystem change
All the above make life more uncertain for polar people, and causes
many to migrate
How do people cope in the Australian Outback?
The problem is making a living. The soil is poor. There is little grazing. In the Outback the farms
are therefore very large.
Recent droughts = pressure on the landscape. The grass soon starts to die. With no roots to bind
the soil together it erodes.
Underground water stores are overused and the water tables are falling
Managing Water Supplies…
Farmers have dams and reservoirs to store water for cattle and sheep to drink.
Boreholes used to tap underground water (aquifers beneath the ground are rocks that store
Most people don’t farm, they work in the mines.
They need a lot of energy to run air conditioning needed to make life more bearable.
1 Metre below the ground – cooled by the surrounding rocks.
Solar panels for electricity  lights and fans
Kitchen and bathroom water is recycled and used to water the gardens
Life expectancy of 52 instead of 78 for white Australians
Worst drug and alcohol abuse
Homelessness = a problem
Traditional lifestyle disappearing
FRUIT = Bush tomatoes, desrt limes, native peaches, bush bananas.
SEEDS: Wattle seeds, sandalwood nuts
GRUBS: witchetty grubs
MEAT: Wild animals e.g. crocodile, kangaroo
BELIEFS AND LIFESTYLE – The land is sacred and to be protected.
 Hunting and gathering
 Create conditions for grubs
 Dam rivers to catch fish
 Use fire to drive animals out so they can be hunted
 Craft based on hunting (boomerangs) or music (digeridoos)
 Customs and stories never written down
 Ayers rock is a sacred site for the Aborigines. It is also the most visited spot in Australia.
World Heritage Site
 Aboriginal paintings etc
 The number of visitors increases rapidly. 60% are from overseas.
What problems do tourists bring?
 Aboriginal culture exploited for entertainment
 People come for the experience – climb the rock etc rather than to learn about the Aborigines.
 Aborigines have no part in management of the tourist resort
 Tour guides ignore ‘awkward’ aboriginal history e.g. children taken forcibly from their parents
until the ‘70s.
 a new Aboriginal culture centre  educates people about aboriginal peoples
 charges an admission fee which then goes to the community
 creates jobs
 tourists do not climb Ayers rock (as it is sacred)
The threat of Climate Change…
Global temperatures are rising. If outback temperatures rise it would make it very difficult to live in.
 more frequent droughts
 more evaporation
 more bushfires
It is estimated that rainfall will fall in Southern Australia, especially the southwest. The southern
desert boundary will move 100-200km.
Most of central Australia has less than 25 ‘rain days’ a year.
The threat of El Nino (the reversal of normal air currents across Australia which brings
drought to Australia every 5-7 years)
 Every 5-7 years instead of winds bringing rain from the Pacific, El Nino reverses everything. The
winds blow WE and by the time the winds reach the east = dry = drought. Most severe droughts
are linked to El Nino. EL Nino is intensified by global warming, that means droughts are getting
worse in Australia.
The impacts of 2006/7 drought (short term):
Severe water shortages Queensland
More dust storms and bush fires for New South Wales
Farmers New South Wales lose 80% income
Melbourne and Sydney = water restrictions
Crops failed in Western Australia
The impacts of climate change (long term):
Farms abandoned and rural communities destroyed
Landscape change – native plants e.g. eucalyptus die
Rainfall decresed20-40% by 2070
In 2002 drought reduces exports $1 billion (Australian dollars)
14% bird species and 25% mammals could be extinct by 2100.
How LOCAL ACTIONS can help protect people against climate change
Sustainable management is needed if extreme environments are going to survive. You should know about
a range of local actions aimed at achieving a sustainable future.
Sustainable management:
Make sure an environment can recover quickly from any use
Prevents damage to the environment
Helps local people get benefit from their environment
Helps local people understand the benefits
Sustainable management in hot arid regions
In poorer areas of hot arid regions e.g. Tanzania in east Africa, water management is very challenging.
Large scale projects are generally too expensive and do not always meet the needs of local people. The
most sustainable solutions involve intermediate technology (appropriate for the people and climate). This
includes building lining wells with concrete that avoids sewage contamination. Hand pumps pump water
from deeper underground and the top of the well can be capped with a concrete cover to prevent
contamination. Water can be safely stored in rain barrels for later use too.
Sustainable management in the Australian Outback
Use renewables to generate electricity. For example, use solar panels, solar hot water
systems and wind turbines to generate energy and heat.
Make sure buildings are design to collect any rain water. Flat roof buildings and water
harvesters (intermediate technology) should be used
PV cells should be used to power transport
Farmers should be encouraged to use solar bores and wind pumps to extract artesian
water from the ground. No petrol or diesel pumps should be used.
To reduce the impact of desertification farmers should be encouraged to diversify their
practice. Relying on sheep farming alone results in soil erosion and then desertification,
this process is being made worse by global warming. Introducing high-speed broadband
may be a solution?
NAMED EXAMPLE: the sahel
One of the poorest regions of the world
50 years of rapid population growth, deforestation, overgrazing and drought  barren land.
Soil is poor and water scarce
Trees usually protect the soil from wind. They are disappearing as they are cut for fuelwood.
Grassland is under pressure – grazing too many cattle. Farmers have to grow food for more people
so = +intensive  squeeze all they can out of the soil.
Rainfall varies greatly year to year = major cause of poverty in the Sahel
If the rains don’t come, the grass dies and exposes the soil to be blown away by the wind.
When the rains do come, heavy rain erodes and washes away the soil.
NAMED EXAMPLE: siguin vousse,
Burkina faso, Africa, sahel
Badly affected by drought
Deforestation and over use of the land  unable to grow enough food to feed themselves. No
trees to bind the soil together so when it rained the soil was washed away.
 in 1979 Oxfam project  prevent further soil erosion, preserve as much rainfall as possible.
 farmers encouraged to build diguettes – a line of stones across the land. Slows rainwater and lets
it soak in. trap soil and decrease soil erosion.
 The diguettes were a success. Almost everyone in the village had improved
crop yields.
 Families now feed themselves
 1 bag of groundnuts has become 2 bags
 It’s an example of intermediate technology – little know how needed.
Materials found locally. Labour free. Cheap solution.
Sustainable management in polar regions
Use geothermal power where available e.g. Iceland & Alaska
Have conservation zones to protect Arctic flora & fauna
Promote eco-tourism (promotes local cultures e.g. traditional performances and art to
attract tourists)
Protect the environment from pollution
Promote native cultures
The Kyoto Summit
 In 1997 to cut greenhouse gases by 5.2% by 2012
 141 countries signed up. 181 by 2008.
GROUP 1 = signed and meeting targets e.g. UK, France
GROUP 2 = siged but not meeting – Canada, Denmark
GROUP 3 = Signed but not set targets – China, India and other LEDC’s. MEDC’s produce most emissions
and LEDC’s ought to be given time to develop targets.
GROUP 4 = didn’t sign e.g. USA (the world’s biggest polluter) and Australia (later signed when they had a
change of Prime Minister)
Restricts commercial development
Extended Antarctic Treaty with rigorous protection. No new activities allowed in Antarctica
unless very low impact.
Since 1994 aimed to combat land degradation, reduce poverty and develop sustainable solutions
Promotes bottom-up solutions: local people get funding and advice
195 countries agreed to give money, share information and act together
2010Cancun Agreement
Funds to help develop clean technology and help developing countries cut emissions. Problems:
Only agreed to make plans. Many had hoped for a binding agreement that ensure countries
would stick to tough limits.
2011 Durban Agreement
190 countries (including US and China) agree to legally binding emissions cutting targets.
Problems: Doesn’t come into force until 2020m when many fear it will be too late
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