Sections Review

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carbon cycle (carbon dioxide cycle) dissociation photosynthesis
runaway greenhouse runaway refrigerator  

Review Questions

  1. What distinguishes Venus from the rest of the planets? Why is Venus so hot?
  2. What is a runaway greenhouse?
  3. How does the ultraviolet-water interaction explain why Venus is so dry? How is the same process prevented on the Earth?
  4. What major geological event occurred on Venus over half a billion years ago? How do we know?
  5. If Mars' atmosphere is over 90% carbon dioxide like Venus', why does it have such a small greenhouse effect?
  6. What atmospheric phenomenon can quickly wipe out any view of Mars' surface from above? What causes this phenomenon?
  7. Why does Mars have such a thin atmosphere? What is the runaway refrigerator?
  8. How does liquid water remove carbon dioxide gas from an atmosphere?
  9. Why does Titan, a moon of Saturn less massive than Mars, have a more extensive atmosphere than Mars and Earth? (Recall the factors that affect atmosphere thickness.)
  10. How do we know that liquid water once flowed on the surface of Mars?
  11. If life exists on Mars today, where would it be found and why?
  12. Where is water ice found today on Mars and how do we know? How deeply is it buried?
  13. What distinguishes Earth from the rest of the planets? What is so unusual about its atmosphere and what produces this unusual feature?
  14. What are the different ways that life removes carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere?
  15. Where do coal, oil, and natural gas come from? What happens when they are burned?
  16. What is a natural (non-human) way that most of the carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere on Earth?
  17. How does plate tectonics regulate the climate of the Earth?
  18. What is the interaction of plate tectonics and liquid water?
  19. What is a non-natural, human activity that returns a lot of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?
  20. How do we know that the increase in the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide is due to fossil fuel burning?
  21. How much difference could just a few degrees change in the global average temperature make in our climate? How could that affect our civilization?
  22. What have climate scientists found about the effect of humans on global climate?
  23. How are climate models tested?
  24. What are the benefits of the presence of the ozone layer?
  25. Is the greenhouse problem on Earth different from the ozone problem? How so?

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last updated: June 10, 2010

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Author of original content: Nick Strobel