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.

 

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HIGH SCORES

Rank Name Score
1st K.B 30
2nd POW 29
3rd CEC 29
4th CEC 29
5th CEC 29
6th CEC 29
7th CEC 29
8th CEC 29
9th CEC 29
10th BJR 29

QUIZZES // Climate change

Q1. The Earth’s atmosphere is mainly made up of two gases – which are they?

Carbon dioxide and methane

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen

Nitrogen and oxygen

Oxygen and carbon dioxide

Q2. The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of several different layers. Which layer is closest to Earth?

mesosphere

stratosphere

thermosphere

troposphere

Q3. Which of these statements about Earth in space is untrue?

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

Q4. Which of these statements about the greenhouse effect is untrue?

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

Q5. Which of these statements about the greenhouse effect is true?

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.

Q6. Which greenhouse gas comes mainly from burning fossil fuels?

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Methane (CH4)

Nitrous oxide (N2O)

Water vapour (H2O)

Q7. How may volcanoes cause climate change today?

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

Q8. The Milankovitch Cycles are a natural cause of climate change. They are made up of:

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

Q9. Changes in solar output and the Milankovitch Cycles happen over regular periods – that’s why they’re called cycles. Can you identify which of these is the correct cycle length?

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

Q10. An asteroid 10km wide struck the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago. This probably caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, due to:

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

Q11. The last Ice Age was

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

Q12. Scientists have found good evidence for changes in the climate of the Middle Ages, 500 to 1,500 years ago. Which of these would not be a reliable source of evidence for them:

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

Q13. Carbon dioxide is the most dangerous greenhouse gas. Why is this?

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

Q14. Which country is the biggest CO2 producer overall?

UK

China

USA

India

Q15. Deforestation causes around 10% of climate change. This is because:

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

Finished!

You scored this time. The more correct answers you give, and the fewer incorrect answers you guess, the better your score.

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