Syllabus: Climate Change 2: Past and Future
Instructor: Prof. Wolfgang H. Berger, Teaching Assistant: Patty Anderson
Confused about the Global Warming Debate? This is your chance to get the story straight from scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. This introductory on-line course presents Earth’s climate system and explores the science and politics of global climate change. This 5 week course consists of 12 lessons. Course topics include the greenhouse effect, El Niño, ocean circulation, the science and politics of global warming and climate change impacts on California. All the reading, course material and assessments are on-line, there are no regularly scheduled class meetings: learn where and when you want! Included are printable lecture notes, engaging discussion groups, weekly group assignments and links to additional material.
It is an introductory course; there are no prerequisites, although it is suggested that students have some knowledge of meteorology and/or have take the Earth’s Climate System course that we offer.
Text: Our courses are self-written and all lecture notes and reading material are available on-line as html documents and printable pdf files. There is no other required text.
Method of Teaching: This is an on-line course, all course materials are available on-line. Learning methods include printable lecture notes, asyncronous threaded discussions, weekly assignments, on-line short quizzes at the end of each chapter, and links to additional material.
- 20%: Thoughtful participation in on-line threaded discussions.
- 30%: Successful completion of short weekly assignments (i.e. writing a short essay or position piece, outside web-based research on a class topics, etc.)
- 50%: Short quizzes at the end of each chapter (multiple choice and short answer)
Topical Outline: The course is 5 weeks; we introduce 2-3 lessons per week for a total of 12 lessons. Each lesson requires about 2 hours to complete – including reading, a short assignment, discussion and a quiz.
- Lesson 1: The Ice Ages: An Introduction
-General Overview of the Ice Ages, Mystery of Mammoth Teeth
- Lesson 2: Discovery of the Ice Ages
-Discovery of the Great Ice Age, Multiple Ice Ages, Ice Age Record of the Deep Sea, Ice Age Climate Cycles
- Lesson 3: Ice Age Climate Cycles
-Milankovitch Theory Supported, Ice Cores, The Morvelous Speed of Deglaciation, Lessons from the Ice Ages?
- Lesson 4: Climate Through the Last 1000 Years
-The Last Millenium, A Tale of Viking Exploration, The Little Ice Age
- Lesson 5: Determining Past Climates
-Reconstructing Past Climate Change, Sories Told by Trees and Corals, Warning Since 1850 A.D., Statistics of Change
- Lesson 6: Causes of Millennial-Scale Climate Change
-Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions, Volcano Weather, Sun Cycles and Climate Change
- Lesson 7: Climate and CO2
-CO2 Through Geologic Time, CO2 Through the Ice Ages, Recent Rise in CO2
- Lesson 8: Recent Global Warming
-Climate in the Spotlight, Is the Climate Changing, Regional Problems Ahead
- Lesson 9: Climate Change and the Political Realm
-Kyoto and Den Haag: What is (not) Happening?, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Lesson 10: The Link to the Ozone Problem
-The Role of Ozone, Ozone Problem, CFC’s and Alternatives
- Lesson 11: Future Energy Use
-Attempts to Guess the Future, Future Use of Fossil Fuels, Future of Methane, Future of Nitrous Oxide
- Lesson 12: Outlook for the Future
-The Humpty-Dumpty Problem, Lurking Monsters, Stratifies for Coping, Technological Fixes, Business as Usual, Good News and the Role of Research.
Upon completion of this course students should be able to describe changes in the Earth’s climate through time, with special emphasis on the Ice Ages and the last 1000 years. Students should be able to identify basic methods for determining past climates. Students should be able to identify causes for climate change and to classify causes based on time-scales. Importantly, students will gain the historical perspective necessary to assess our recent changes in climate (i.e. global warming over the last 100 years) and the scientific basis to analyze and critique policy issues related to global warming.