How much do you know about the greenhouse effect, global warming, sunspots, the Earth’s orbit, Ice Ages and asteroid strikes? Try this 15-question GCSE quiz to test your knowledge of how physical and human processes and activities affect climate change.
If you haven’t already done them, work through these units: ‘The greenhouse effect and natural causes of climate change’ and ‘The evidence for climate change and its human causes’. Or look at them again to fill in any gaps in your understanding.
Carbon dioxide and methane
Carbon dioxide and nitrogen
Nitrogen and oxygen
Oxygen and carbon dioxide
Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours
Earth orbits the Sun every 365.25 days
Earth’s axis tilts 22.5 degrees
Earth’s orbit takes it closer to the Sun in January and further from the Sun in July
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that keeps the planet warm
The greenhouse effect is being enhanced by human activity today
The greenhouse effect is caused by gases in the atmosphere that trap radiation from Earth
The greenhouse effect is a completely natural process that keeps the planet warm
Short-wave radiation from the Sun crosses space – it warms Earth’s atmosphere as it passes through, keeping the Earth’s temperature at an average 14.5ºC.
Short-wave radiation from the Sun warms the Earth. Earth radiates long-wave radiation back into space; some is trapped by the atmosphere, keeping the planet warm.
Heat released by burning fossil fuels for energy is warming the Earth, adding to the greenhouse effect.
Long-wave radiation from the Sun warms the Earth. Earth radiates short-wave radiation back into space; some is trapped by the atmosphere, keeping the planet warm.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Water vapour (H2O)
By releasing gases and particles of ash into the atmosphere, reflecting sunlight back into space, so cooling the Earth
By releasing gases and particles of ash into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect and so warming the Earth
By erupting masses of hot lava, so warming the Earth
By releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, leading to global warming
Changes to sunspot activity and the tilt of Earth’s axis
Changes to Earth’s orbit and distance from the Sun
Changes to the Earth’s orbit, rotation and the tilt of its axis
Changes to the distance of Earth from the Sun and sunspot activity
Orbital geometry – changes over 100,000 years
Axial tilt – changes over 46,000 years
Axis rotation – changes over 11 years
Sunspot activity – changes over 26,000 years
Its massive energy, causing shock waves that shook the planet
Fireballs that burned everything to a cinder
Huge amounts of debris falling to Earth, killing the dinosaurs outright
Large amounts of dust and soot ejected into the atmosphere
A time when the River Thames froze and people held frost fairs
Caused by the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, a large volcano in Indonesia
Between 70,000 and 10,000 years ago
Between 10,000 years and today
Records of thermometer readings showing monthly temperature changes
Ice cores showing weather conditions from year to year
Rings in trees and old timber showing weather conditions from year to year
Documents such as tax records, paintings and diaries
CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years
CO2 levels are rising
Human activity is creating large amounts of CO2
All of these
Burning trees releases the carbon stored in their trunks into the atmosphere as CO2
Vegetation absorbs CO2 in their leaves and releases oxygen into the atmosphere
Deforestation changes the land use – usually farming takes over the land
All of the above
You scored this time. The more correct answers you give, and the fewer incorrect answers you guess, the better your score.