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Professional Paper 1386–A

Chapter A-1 (Figures 1–16)

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Figure 1.—Conceptual diagram of the Earth System showing the four subcomponents of the geosphere (lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere), the biosphere (terrestrial and marine), climatic processes, hydrologic cycle, biogeochemical cycles, and solar energy. Designed by Jim Tomberlin, U.S. Geological Survey.

Figure 2.—Fractal snowflake diagram of the Earth’s cryosphere showing its four elements: glaciers, snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost. Designed by Jim Tomberlin, U.S. Geological Survey.

Figure 3.—Photograph of the Earth, taken by geologist/astronaut Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt in December 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photograph no. 72-HC-928, courtesy of NASA Public Information Office, Washington, D.C.

Figure 4.—Graph of the “Keeling Curve,” the instrumental record of the measurement of the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere at the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii from 1958 (313 ppm) to 2009 (390 ppm). From figure at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site: [].

Figure 5.—Graphs showing fluctuations of temperature, concentration of methane (CH4), and concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in ice core from Vostok, Dome “C,” Antarctica for the last 160,000 years. Modified from figure 4.4 in Houghton (1997, p. 54).

Figure 6.—Global rates of extinction for birds and mammals during 1650 to 1960. From Figure 3.51 in Steffen and others (2004, p. 118).

Figure 7.—Conceptual diagram of the hydrologic cycle modified from U.S. Geological Survey Web site: [http://ga.water.usgs.

Figure 8.—Graph showing fluctuation in glacier ice volume on the Earth’s land areas during the last 600,000 years [through six glacials (lower sea levels) and interglacials (higher sea levels)]. Maximum volume of glacier ice on land drops sea level approximately -125 m below today’s sea level; minimum volume of glacier ice on land, with maximum carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere of about 280 ppm, raises sea level approximately 6 to 7 m. Modified from figure in Houghton (1997, p. 55)

Figure 9.—Three bar graphs showing percentages of land mass versus 5 major oceans at maximum glacial (land, about 37 percent), present day (land, 29.1 percent), and no glacier ice on land (land, about 25 percent). Between maximum glacier ice on land and no glacier ice on Earth, the land area fluctuates between 37 percent and, 25 percent, respectively.

Figure 10.—Mean standardized departures of annual maximum, median, and minimum daily streamflow for 400 sites in the conterminous United States (1941 to 1999). Modified from McCabe and Wolock (2002).

Figure 11.—Trend in combined annual discharge from the six largest Eurasian Arctic rivers (1936 to 1999). Figure modified from Peterson and others (2002); reproduced with permission.

Figure 12.—Trend (1950 to 2000) in the difference between annual precipitation and annual stream discharge for selected major river basins in the United States: Mississippi, Columbia, Colorado, Susquehanna, Sacramento, and Southeast Basins. Data were area-weighted averaged. Figure modified from Walter and others (2004); reproduced with permission. [mm, millimeters; mm a-1, millimeters per year’]

Figure 13.—Trend in seasonal [A, summer; B, winter] and [C] cumulative mass balances for about 300 mountain and subpolar glaciers, not including the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. Figure based on Dyurgerov (2003).

Figure 14.—Salinity difference (1985 to 1999) minus (1955 to 1969), by depth, along a western Atlantic Ocean meridional transect from lat 80° N (Fram Strait) to lat 64° S (Antarctica). Figure based on and updated from Curry and others (2003).

Figure 15.—Graph of global annual surface temperatures from 1880 to 2007, relative to the annual mean temperature and 5-year mean temperature. Graph is based on data compiled by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies at (see also McCarthy, 2008, p. 60).

Figure 16.—Graph of mean global temperatures for the last 160,000 years, and theoretical projection 25,000 years into the future, showing an enhanced “global warming” at the end of the Holocene Epoch (interglacial) before the start of the next glacial. Modified from Imbrie and Imbrie (1979, p. 186).

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