What Should We Do About Global Warming?
Module written by Sharon Anthony, Thomas
W. Brauch, Elizabeth J. Longley
SESSION 1: Is the Climate Changing?
This session introduces the controversial issue of cliamte change. You will analyze data to determine if and how the climate is changing, learn about personal causes of climate change, and identify other information you will need to defend your opnion about global warming.
Exploration 1A: Is the Climate Changing?
Figure 1.1 in the module (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-1.htm)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary
Physical Basis of Climate Change http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm (2007)
Summary for policy makers (2007. 3.7 MB)
Technical Summary (2007, 18.6 MB)
Frequently Asked Questions (2007, 7.2 MB)
Climate Change Impacts http://www.gtp89.dial.pipex.com/chpt.htm (2007)
Effects of Climate Change
NASA Top Stories
Press Briefings on Global Warming NASA-TV
Scientists Report Increased Thinning of West Antarctic Glaciers, September, 2004
Frozen North May Accelerate Climate Change, October, 2004
Greenland's Ice Thinning More Rapidly at Edges, December, 2004
US Environmental Protection Agency (http://epa.gov/climatechange/index.html)
Exploration 1B: Why is the Temperature Rising?
Exploration 1C: What's the Connection Between Greenhouse Gases and Global Temperature?
SESSION 2: What Is A Greenhouse Gas?
Visible and Infrared Spectroscopy
You will use visible and infrared spectroscopy to investigate the absorption characteristics unique to greenhouse gases. A brief analysis of the nature of the electromagnetic spectrum and the interaction of light with matter will accompany the spectroscopic investigation.
Properties of Gases
Kinetic Molecular Theory (Molecules in Motion Applet)
SESSION 3: What Determines Whether A Gas Is A Greenhouse
Lewis Structures and VSEPR, Polarity and Infrared Activity
You will be introduced to the nature of chemical bonding and molecular shape. You will also explore polarity and how molecular shape influences the absorption of infrared light.
Exploration 3A: How are the Atoms in Greenhouse Gas Molecules Connected?
Exploration 3B: What Are The Shapes of Greenhouse Gas Molecules?
Exploration 3C: What Determines Whether a Gas Absorbs Infrared Radiation?
SESSION 4: How Much Are Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
You will graphically interpret the behavior of greenhouse gas concentrations as a function of time. Conversion between different units of measure will be necessary for comparison of the concentrations of different greenhouse gases.
SESSION 5: Why Are Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Rising?
To understand why greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, we need to understand how these gases are created and destroyed. In this session, you will research the sources and sinks of the greenhouse gases and develop a qualitative understanding of why the concentrations are rising. In the process, you will develop skills in formulating and balancing chemical equations and in literature and world wide web research.
Exploration 5A: Is There CO2 in your Breath?
Exploration 5B: What are the Sources and Sinks of Greenhouse Gases?
Exploration 5C: How Do We Balance the Relevant Equations?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
US Greenhouse Gas Inventory Reports (http://epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html) or Summary or copy.
Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the US (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/summary/index.html) or pdf file
Greenhouse Gases Online (http://ghgonline.org/)
SESSION 6: What Are Your Personal Contributions to Greenhouse
Moles and Stoichiometry
You will use laboratory investigations and stoichiometric calculations to determine whether you personally are a significant source of greenhouse gases. You will examine your daily activities to estimate which ones have the greatest impact on greenhouse gas levels. For instance, are you responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions if you drive to Boston or fly? Balancing equations, mole calculations, stoichiometry, unit conversions, experimental design, and order of magnitude estimation are skills that will be developed during this session.
Exploration 6A: What Are Your Personal Contributions to CO2
Exploration 6B: Which Daily Activities Contribute to Rising Greenhouse Gas Levels?
EPA Personal Greenhouse Gas Calculator (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html)
State of the World (http://www.worldwatch.org/node/3894)
SESSION 7: What Should We Do About Global Warming?
In this culminating activity, you will be asked to conclude what we should do about global warming. This activity will require you to articulate what you have learned during the module and to support your conclusions with scientific and quantitative data. Your instructor will decide the format of this activity; papers, debates, posters and discussions are possibilities. Several options are given as examples so you can start to think about how you will respond.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Effects of Climate Change
Living on Earth, National Public Radio
August 10, 2007 Bush Climate Talks (UNFCC)
January 27, 2007 Climate Change Predictions (IPCC 2007 report)
January 27, 2007 States Crack Down on CO2 (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative)
March 17-May 19, 2006 Early Signs: Reports From a Warming Planet (7 part series)
September 10, 2004 Changing Views on Climate Change
Our Changing Planet, the US government report (timecode 0:00-5:35)
Balance as Bias interview with Jules Boykoff (timecode 5:35-12:45)
Climate Change in the Press interview with Andrew Revkin, New York Times, and Bill Allen, National Geographic (timecode 12:45-25:07).
Timecode 12:55-18:45 is a good segment for class use and refers to Global Warning in the September, 2004, issue of National Geographic.
May 28, 2004 Climate Change (New York City)
March 5, 2004 Abrupt Climate Change
Kyoto Protocol (http://unfccc.int/essential_background/kyoto_protocol/items/1678.php)
Kyoto Ratification Update
Kyoto-related emissions by country