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HARVARD EPS 5 - Environmental Science

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Environmental Science: Atmosphere, Ocean, Biosphere • What changes are occurring in the global environment, how do we know? • Can we discover why these changes are taking place? • What are the consequences? • EPS 5 starts at the beginning—the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmosphere, land, and oceans—and finishes at the threshold of the science—society interface.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCCInsert a news item showing that increasing numbers of the public think "Climate Change" is a hoax, or too uncertain to inform policy, etc.• What changes are occurring in the global environment ? • How do we quantify these phenomena ? • Can we discover why these changes are taking place ? • What are the consequences ? • To answer these questions, we must start at the beginning, learning the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmosphere, land, and oceans—in order to reach threshold of the science—society interface.EPS 5: organization Prof. Steven C. Wofsy Prof. Daniel J. Jacob [email protected] [email protected] Science Center Hall E 1:00 – 2:30 PM Tuesday and Thursday EPS 5 explores some of the most prominent and difficult environmental problems of the 21st century, arising from the global imprint of people on the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere: climate change (human-caused and otherwise), global changes in the chemical and biological functions of the atmosphere and oceans, modification of major geochemical cycles.The course consists of lectures (3 hr/week), sections (1 hr/week), laboratory demonstrations (during the lecture periods), and a reading/writing project conducted throughout the term, using primary scientific articles on climate and environment. Note: Attendance at lectures and sections is required. Students are requested not to use laptops or cell phones during class. Participation 10% Homework 20% Midterm Exam 15% Final Exam 30% Writing Project 25%• Online Sourcebook: Material such as scientific articles for writing assignments and secondary sources for help with the subject matter, available on the website. Items will be added during the term. • Textbook: The Atmospheric Environment : Effects of Human Activity by Michael B. McElroy • Teaching Fellows Eloise Marais Archana Dayalu Patrick KimStudents are encouraged to form study groups and to discuss EPS 5 concepts and materials with their fellow students. However, all submitted work must be carried out by the student submitting the work. Joint submissions of a collaborative product (problem set, written assignment, term paper), or use by one student of material authored by another, are not permitted. Student work in EPS 5The EPS 5 Writing Project is different from most course term papers in structure and purpose. • Students prepare a term paper (6-10 pages, due at the end of the first week of reading period) by conducting in-depth analysis of a topic using primary sources from the scientific literature. A structured set of assignments leads up to, and is incorporated into, the term paper. Students will get credit for completing and receive detailed feedback on their short assignments, but only the comparative critical summary and term paper will be given letter grades. • The writing assignments build towards the term paper. Students develop new skills for critical analysis of science/societal questions, and new insight into the process of understanding and analyzing primary sources in general, while preparing a paper on a compelling scientific issue that is developing at the current time. EPS 5 Writing Project informationTopics for EPS 5 Writing Project in 2010 (fall) 1. Changes in Sea Ice: Arctic and Antarctic The floating ice in the polar regions represents a sensitive indicator of climate change that contributes to feedback in climate system and to regional effects. What do we know about changes in sea ice in each of the polar zones in the recent past and over longer time intervals? What do we learn about observations, climate models, and feedbacks from studies of sea ice? 2. Changes in Atmospheric Composition : Reconstructing the Record Greenhouse Gases over Time. Atmospheric concentrations of important greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) have changed markedly over time scales of years, decades, centuries, millennia, and longer. What measurements have revealed these changes, how reliable are they, what do we know about the mechanisms causing GHG concentrations to change, what is unknown?The heavier temperature lines from 160,000 BP to present reflect more data points for this time period, not necessarily greater temperature variability. Climate and Atmospheric History of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok Ice Core, Antarctica, by Petit J.R., Jouzel J., Raynaud D., Barkov N.I., Barnola J.M., Basile I., Bender M., Chappellaz J., Davis J. Delaygue G., Delmotte M. Kotlyakov V.M., Legrand M., Lipenkov V.M., Lorius C., Pépin L., Ritz C., Saltzman E., Stievenard M., Nature, 3 June 1999. Paleoclimate data from Antarctic Ice CoresIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)"DT Law Dome -1 0 +1 oC Climate has been warming… N. HEMISPHERE TEMPERATURE: THE PAST 1000 YEARS Antarctic Temperature: past 1000 yearshttp://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Are these changes "natural"? Climate has been warming, and sea level rising…Weather statistics on the monument at Great Blue Hill changed from the first 100 years. For the 125-year period from 1885-2009 the new statistics are: • Average Temperature: 47.5 deg F [old value is 47.1 deg F] • Average Precipitation: 48.58 inches [old value is 47.44 inches] • Precipitation Annual Maximum: 71.00 inches, 1998 [old value is 65.51 inches in 1972] • Average Seasonal Snowfall: 60.7 inches [old value is 60.1 inches] • Average Wind Speed and Direction: 14.9 mph, W [old value is 15.4 mph, W]Recent trends in T and precipitation at the Great Blue Hill, Milton, MA. What processes might influence these data? • Land use change • Urban energy use • Instrumentation, station • Global climate trends • Changes in ocean currents1979 2007 The Arctic Ocean has been covered by floating ice for all human history… …until What do these changes mean for climate, forests, crops?Sea Ice thickness declined dramatically starting in the mid 1980s.Rate of Ice volume


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