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COURSE NAME: "Global Warming"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Margaret Kneller
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 10:00 AM 11:15 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
Various Titles, see the Schedule for Titles and LinksIPCC, Government research, other Academic SourcesIPCC, Government research, other Academic Sources123 4567890 See the Schedule, for Readings.

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 1000 words approximately), followed by the bibliography. TurnitIn may be used. Also, your assignments will be uploaded to Moodle, in a format that I can download (pdf or docx). 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.


IPCC reports are the main reference, then I also list other references.


All IPCC reports are accessed here, https://www.ipcc.ch/reports/  , or keyword <IPCC reports>.


Help with understanding the IPCC acronyms and abbreviations:

The IPCC FIFTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR5 acronym), from 2013 and 2014, is the most recent assessment,
IPCC has three Working Groups (WG): WG1 studies Physical Science, WG2 studies Impacts, WG3 studies Mitigation.


For example, IPCC AR5 WG1 means the Fifth assessment report, published in 2012-2014, by the Physical Science Working Group.


SPM is Summary for Policy Makers.

FAQ is Frequently Asked Questions.


Recent IPCC reports on specific issues: “Global Warming of 1.5 ºC” October 2018,” “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (acronym SROCC), published Sept 2019,” and “Climate Change and Land,” 2020.


IPCC page numbers that you see, refer to report page number (not pdf page number).

The schedule is divided into 18 sessions, sessions will usually be covered in 1 to 2 class periods.


(estimated classes):


Reading listed here, plus Material/Links given to you in Moodle, and Class Presentations

Assignment: exact due date decided in class.



Overview of Course, Keywords: IPCC, anthropogenic emissions, annual, GMST/SAT, 1.5°C, Impacts

Look at the Graphics in IPCC WG1 AR5: The 10 figures from the IPCC, 2013, SPM in Climate Change 2013: Physical Science Basis... http://www.climatechange2013.org/report/reports-graphic/report-graphics/

Understand Figures SPM.1, SPM.2, and Figure SPM.3a of the 1.5°C Report: accessed at https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/




Surface Air Temperature, Global Average

Read: WG1AR5_SPM:p 5-8
Read: 1.5°C Report, pages 53-59 (in Chapter 1.1, go to
https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/chapter-1/ )—Difficult reading—understand the main concepts, and types of data used.

Read: Article “BEST Temperature Record”(Moodle)

Temperature, exercise with gistemp or BEST



Atmospheric Composition, important Greenhouse Gases, CO2 concentration

Read: 2013 WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL: p 11-12
Look at DATA: online <NOAA greenhouse gas index> and <NOAA trends atmosphere carbon dioxide> <european environment agency trends atmospheric CO2 CH4 1800 2017>

Look at the Graphic for IPCC ... ar5/wg1/: Fig. 6.2 [Go to Graphics at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/carbon-and-other-biogeochemical-cycles/]



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

Read: 2013 WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL, p 13-14
Read: FAQ 5.1 in WG1AR5_FAQbrochure_FINAL.pdf
Read again: Article: “Climate Forcings Industrial Era” (Moodle)




Greenhouse theory, electromag. spectrum

Read: Greenhouse_Effect_from_Mitchel.pptx (Moodle)
EXTRA: “The Discovery of Global Warming, the Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect” by Spencer Weart, at

Helpful reading: EM spectrum athttps://science.nasa.gov/ems

Carbon Cycle Questions



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

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

Read IPCC WG1AR5: FAQ 6.2 (“What happens to CO2 after it is emitted ...”)

Read: Ocean Acidification, Carbon Uptake, C Storage, C Dynamics: the links to each chapter here https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Research

Extra on Ocean: Read all A points of SPM of the IPCC Ocean Report (on pages 6-10): https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/chapter/summary-for-policymakers/



Aerosols : Natural and Anthropogenic (Volcanos)

Read: IPCC ar5/wg1/: FAQ 7.2, 11.2, and Table 7.2
Read for Key Terms (since the text is difficult):

<Recent findings on the effects of aerosols on the climate – IPCC> at











(becoming more important, and very complicated)

Look at Fig. SPM.3A from IPCC Land 2020.Global Forest Watch: https://www.globalforestwatch.org/ and https://www.wri.org/our-work/project/global-forest-watch

Start here, Read based on your Interest: “Experts: How do diets need to change to meet climate targets?” by Carbon Brief, at https://www.carbonbrief.org/experts-how-do-diets-need-to-change-to-meet-climate-targets

Extra reading: Semba, R.D., de Pee, S., Kim, B. et al. Adoption of the ‘planetary health diet’ has different impacts on countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Nat Food 1, 481–484 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0128-4


9 (1)

Review & Midterm

Week 7




Introduction to Climate Impacts

IPCC ... ar5/wg2/: Parts A, B and Supplementary Material of the WG2 “Summary for Policy Makers.”

Read an Introduction to Impacts from the IPCC 1.5°C Report, Chapter 1.3 which is online here https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/chapter-1/




Climate Impact: Less Arctic Sea Ice

“Artic Sea Ice News” at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center: 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
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/sea-level-rise-what-the-experts-expect/ andhttp://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/


14  (1)


Ocean—the Huge Unknown

Look at all 5 storylines, Ocean Shock by Reuters, at https://www.reuters.com/investigates/section/ocean-shock/




Climate Mitigation: the UNFCCC, 1.5°C

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

Read about 1.5° C: in the IPCC 1.5°C Report, Chapter 1.2 which is online here https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/chapter-1/




Climate Mitigation: Wind Power, Solar Power

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

Climate Mitigation Short Paper



Climate Mitigation: Fuel Efficiencyand Future Climate Change: scenarios

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

     FINAL, Time and Placed decided by the Registrar