All course content for GEOL 110 has migrated to UNLV Canvas as of 2019. This site will no longer be updated.

 

Full Course Description

GEOL 110 is an introduction to the science of global warming and corresponding climate changes. The course will include an in-depth investigation of the documentary and observational evidence of recent changes in the Earth's climate system and greenhouse gas concentrations (GHGs). The course will include an introduction to climate and weather. We will cover the role of atmospheric greenhouse gases in the modern climate and their role in warming the planet, as well as provide a past history of GHGs from ice cores. We will also investigate the role of positive and negative feedbacks in the climate system, and the difference between past climate changes and the current anthropogenic global warming. We will define the radiative forcing associated with GHGs, and look at how sensitive the climate system is to changes in GHG concentrations. The course will also include an introduction to Mitigation and the scientific basis of policy for dealing (or not) with climate change, and emphasize studies published in the peer-reviewed literature.

 

Course Outline

1.       Atmosphere and Surface

2.       Ocean

3.       Cryosphere

4.       Greenhouse Effect

5.       Energy Systems

6.       Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing

7.       Climate Models

8.       Detection and Attribution of climate change

9.       Near-term climate change

10.   Long-term climate change

11.   Sea level change

12.   Insights from paleoclimate

13.   Mitigation and Policy

 

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this class, students will have demonstrated proficiency in the following learning outcomes: 1) understand radiative properties of CO2, CH4, and other long-lived greenhouse gases; 2) understand the role of H2O as a short-lived GHG; 3) be able to discuss various positive and negative feedbacks in the climate system; 4) understand the difference between weather and climate; 5) be able to articulate how the atmosphere and ocean influence climate; 6) be able to summarize the key findings from ice cores, marine sediment cores, and other paleoclimate proxy evidence for past climates; 7) identify key areas, such as the Arctic, in the response of the climate system to anthropogenic GHG concentrations; 8) be able to discuss the workings of climate models and their output; 9) understand the link between climate and sea level; and 10) understand the fundamentals of the carbon cycle, and how energy use impacts GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. Student satisfaction of the learning outcomes will be assessed by in-class quizzes, exams, assignments, and participation.

 

 

Catalog Description:

Introduction to the science of global warming, and investigation of the wide array of evidence that documents global warming, including changes in the cryosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The course will also investigate the use of climate models to forecast climate under varying greenhouse gas concentrations.