Seminar on Global Climate Change
03535 GEOL 2500 - Global Climate Change
- 1 credit
Wednesday 12-12:50 (bring lunch),
Instructor: Harmon D. Maher Jr.
Geologic history speaks clearly - global climate has changed
in the past. A large diversity of data indicates it is in the
process of changing now. Large erratics here in Omaha, Nebraska
are just one indication of a very different climate in geologically
recent times. Debate as to whether the earth is warming has decreased
as supporting data has increased in the past several years. But
there is still vigorous debate on the associated causes and effects.
The debate is of the magnitude where it effects global politics.
This seminar is geared to giving participants a better understanding
of the science behind the debate. There are no prerequisites,
other than interest.
- Week 1 - Course introduction.
What are the effect of greenhouse gases on climate? A general
model for climate change.
- Week 2 - Contrasting the
climate history of Mars and Venus, a broader perspective and
- Week 3 - The carbon cycle.
What are earthly greenhouse sources, reservoirs?
- Week 4 - How do you take
the temperature of the earth?
- Week 5 - Computer models
for global climate.
- Week 6 - What is the effect
of volcanism on global climate?
- Week 7 - Historical behavior
of climate - where is the record? How quick is the change?
- Week 8 - Historical behavior
of climate - what can ice cores tell us?
- Week 9 - What is the role
of ocean basins in local and global climate?
- Week 10 - Models for
'catastrophic' climate change. Extraterrestrial causes for climate
- Week 11 - What are possible
consequences of global climate change?
- Week 12 - What are possible
consequences of global climate change (2)?
- Week 13 - Is
human activity contributing to global warming?
- Week 14 - Science in the poltical arena?
- Week 15 - Wrap up discussion - where to go from here.
There will be no text. Instead readings will be given for each
week. A discussion question based on the week's reading will be
assigned, and a 250 word response collected each week. Overall
time commitment should be roughly 3 hours per week, 1 hour
of lecture/discussion and 2 hours reading and writing. The first
half of class will be informative lecture, and the second half
will be participatory discussion. The grade will be based
- 25% on a final, take-home, essay exam.
- 50% on weekly assignments of 250 words responding to a discussion
question on the reading.
- 25% participation in discussion.
from Mark Chandler for Pliocene (before the last ice age) showing
predicted difference from todays mean temperatures.
Any questions contact Harmon Maher at 402 554 4807