The Critical Zone

Summary and Final Tasks


Earth's atmospheric processes and climate may be the most influential factors involved in soil formation in the Critical Zone because processes like precipitation and temperature control weathering over large geographic regions. Once we grasp their importance we begin to properly understand the varying effects of climate on the Critical Zone. In this lesson, you read a lot of material describing these processes, learned about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), performed a carbon footprint calculation, and applied knowledge gained during the calculation to consider Critical Zone-relevant issues of personal and societal behavior.

By now you should feel comfortable describing: components of the climate system and the basic natural and anthropogenic forces that affect the climate system; the carbon cycle and fundamental atmospheric chemistry; and radiative forcing of climate change. In the next lesson you will apply this knowledge to understanding paleoclimates (ancient climates), and from there determine how our knowledge of paleoclimates helps us to understand ongoing and future climate change.

Reminder—Review the Lesson 3 Overview

You have reached the end of Lesson 3! Double-check the list of requirements on the Lesson 3 Overview page to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there.

Tell us about it!

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