JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Global Warming"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Margaret Kneller
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:30-9:45 AM

The class will examine the chemical, biological, physical, and geological processes involved in that climate change, already evident in the 20th century, and predicted for the 21st century. The human impact upon the “greenhouse effect” is explained, the merits of the scientific theory are examined in light of available evidence to date. Climate changes apparent at the century time-scale, and longer, are introduced; the physical forcings responsible for these changes are presented. The international treaties (the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol) that address anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are introduced, along with local to regional initiatives developed by the private and public sectors.
Lectures and Discussion will address the following:
Greenhouse Effect, Global Warming, and Climate Change…what do they mean?
What are the Primary Controls, or Forcings, of Earth’s Temperature?
What is the Temperature on Earth?
What is the Carbon Atom?
Basic Chemical Equations with Carbon.
What are the Greenhouse Gases?
The Global Carbon Cycle.
What are “normal” precipitation patterns?
What key role are Aerosols playing?
Doesn’t the earth’s climate always change?
What are the predictions for climate change in the 21st century?
What are “impacts?”
How do Human Activities produce greenhouse gases?
What is a Greenhouse Gas Inventory?
How much greenhouse gas do I produce?
Which international treaties address greenhouse gases?
What is currently “being done” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
The class provides the non-science oriented student with a basic scientific understanding of climate change and the greenhouse effect. The student is also introduced to some of the policy instruments being developed, to address climate change.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science BasisStocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)Cambridge University Press9 also available on line, see syllabus

4 short Assignments and/or Research PapersStudents will compose 4 short papers/assignments, on an assigned topic related to climate change or greenhouse gases. The use of up-to-date reference materials, from original sources, is required. Correctly citing sources is important, the bibliography is important. The Results of your research will be presented in 1 to 2 pages of text (up to 1200 words approximately), followed by the bibliography. TurnitIn may be used. Also, your assignments will be uploaded to Moodle. LATE Papers: if you miss the due date, then you risk that I will not grade your paper. 30% (7.5% times 4)
FinalThe Final will be based upon definitions, short answers, and descriptions of graphs and figures30%
Participation and AttendanceClassroom discussion related to material presented.10%
MidtermThe Midterm will be based upon definitions, short answers, and descriptions of graphs and figures.30%

AWork of this quality shows an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and a respect for evaluating data. There is clear evidence of full comprehension of the readin
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Class attendance is required, more than four unexcused absences will lower the grade by one whole point (e.g. from B to C).
Please refer to the university catalog for the attendance and absence policy
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Which text do you read? Read from the www.ipcc.ch since the report was written for professionals and academics; the J Houghton (JH) book is written at a college undergraduate level (usual non-science majors can understand this book), and is from 2009.  
You reach the IPCC Reports, year 2013-2014, here: https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar5/ 
We use the FIFTH ASSESSMENT REPORT, from 2013 and 2014, for most reading.
IPCC has three Working Groups (WG): WG1 studies Physical Science, WG2 studies Impacts, WG3 studies Mitigation.
SPM is Summary for Policy Makers.
FAQ is Frequently Asked Questions.
IPCC WG1 “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis” report: http://www.climatechange2013.org/report/full-report/
FAQ for IPCC WG1 is linked at from above.
The IPCC WG2 “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” report is here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/. We look at the “Summary for Policy Makers,” page down to find the link.
Page numbers in the “Readings” column refer to report page number (not the adobe pdf page numbers).
The schedule is divided into 18 sessions, sessions will usually be covered in 1 to 2 class periods. 



Reading listed here, plus Material/Links in Presentations 

Assignment: exact due date decided in class.

Overview of Course, Intro to the IPCC

 IPCC WG1 AR5, GRAPHICS: http://www.climatechange2013.org/report/reports-graphic/report-graphics/
JH: Chap.1



Surface Air Temperature, Global Average

* WG1AR5_SPM:  p 5-8
JH: p 70-79



Surface Air Temperature, Ocean Temperature, station data

IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: Figs. 1.12, 2.24, & FAQ 2.1, 3.1

Reuters Special Report, Ocean Shock: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/ocean-shock-warming/
JH: end p 124 to beg p 128
OTHER: “BEST Temperature Record”  (Moodle)


Atmospheric Composition, Greenhouse Gases, CO2concentration

* WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL:  p 11-12 (SPM)
JH: p 34-49
OTHER: online <NOAA greenhouse gas index> and <NOAA trends atmosphere carbon dioxide>

Temperature, exercise with gistemp or BEST


Earth’s Energy Balance, Radiative Forcing, EM Spectrum, Albedo

* WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL:  p 13-14 (SPM)
IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: FAQ 5.1
JH: p 63-64
OTHER: “Climate Forcings Industrial Era” (Moodle)


Aerosols : Natural and Anthropogenic (Volcanos)

IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: FAQ 7.2, 11.2, Table 7.2
JH: p 57-62+
OTHER: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/earthmatters/2018/03/30/a-is-for-aerosol/



Carbon and CO2, Emissions vs. Concentration, Sources and Sink in the Biogeochemical Cycle

IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: Fig. 6.1, 6.8, and Table 6.1—and the related text, also FAQ 6.2 and BOX 6.1
OTHER: use the U.S. NOAA CarbonTracker < www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/faq.html> and its Mauna Loa CO2 data < http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/index.html>


Greenhouse theory, electromag. spectrum

JH: Chap. 2
OTHER: Greenhouse_Effect_from_Mitchel.pptx (Moodle)
EXTRA: “The Discovery of Global Warming, the Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect” by Spencer Weart, at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm , and the EM spectrum at https://science.nasa.gov/ems

Carbon Cycle Questions


Methane and Review Questions

IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: Fig. 6.2—and the related text
JH: relevant parts of Chap.3







Introduction to ClimateImpacts

 IPCC ... ar5/wg2/: Parts A, B and Supplementary Material of the WG2 “Summary for Policy Makers.”
Atlas: Glaciers, Extremes (p.24-27), JH: p Chap 7



Climate Impact: Less Arctic Sea Ice

“Artic Sea Ice News”  at the US NSIDC: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

 Climate Impacts: Short Paper


Climate Impacts: Hydrological Cycle, Tropical Cyclones

IPCC ... ar5/wg2/: Parts A, B and Supplementary Material


Climate Impacts: Sea Level Rise, the Uncertainty

IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: FAQ 13.1 and 13.2
OTHER: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/sea-level-rise-what-the-experts-expect/ and http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/ 



Climate Mitigation: the UNFCCC, Rio to Paris

OTHER: Kyoto and Lima articles, update to Paris 2016, http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php  (Moodle has older documents)



Climate Mitigation: Ocean, Hydropower, Wind Power, Solar Power

Ren21 global status report, summary findings, at http://www.ren21.net/ren21activities/globalstatusreport.aspx

 Climate Mitigation Short Paper


Climate Mitigation: Fuel Efficiency  and Future Climate Change: scenarios

<IPCC Scenarios> excerpted from IPCC web site (this is heavy reading, we will concentrate on a few key figures)