- To become better acquainted with aspects of climate change through critical
reading of scientific literature, supported by group discussions, one of which you will facilitate.
I. Reading, Discussing, and Summarizing Articles from the Literature.
I will provide you with (mostly) recent articles on four topics about climate and climate change (see below). For each topic this assignment consists of three parts, with a fourth part for one of them:
- Close reading of the articles. For each set of articles, I will provide you with a set of "Reading Questions" written to focus your attention on the most important aspects of the articles. You will
respond to each Reading Question by highlighting the one or more passages in the appropriate article that addresses the question and labeling the passage(s) with the (circled) number of the Reading Question. Be prepared to show your annotated copies of the articles on the day of the group discussion and turn them in with your 2-page (max) summary of the articles (see below). This should help you prepare to participate actively in the group discussion. (Your responses to Reading Questions for the articles collectively will constitute 15% of your course grade.)
- Participation in a round-table discussion of
the articles. In class I will provide you with several questions to help focus the discussion about the articles. In small groups of two or three you will develop responses to each of these questions, then we will discuss the articles as a class. Some of the articles are relatively challenging, so raising questions about them for others to respond to is one way to contribute to the discussion. (Your participation in discussions about the topics collectively will constitute 5% of your course grade.)
- Facilitating one of the discussions. In collaboration with one other student, you will take responsibility to facilitate one of the small-group discussions, on a topic that I will assign to you (with your input). To prepare, you will ideally meet with me beforehand. (More details about your role as discussion facilitator are forthcoming.) (Your discussion facilitation will constitute 5% of your course grade.)
- Summarizing the articles and the discussion. You will write a summary of the articles not to exceed about two pages long, due 4 -7 days following the discussion (depending on the particular date of the discussion). Your summary should convey the key ideas addressed by the articles to an audience comprising someone like yourself but who has not read the articles. Our in-class discussions of the articles, and the questions posed to help focus those discussions, should help you develop a summary of their key points, though we won't necessarily have time to address all key points in class. Given the brevity of the summary, in some respects it might resemble an extended abstract. (The summaries collectively will constitute 15% of your course grade.)
The tentative dates for the class discussions about these articles are:
More details about the written and oral components of this assignment are forthcoming.
- Friday, May 4:
Earth's orbit and the ice ages: Can variations in the earth's orbit around the sun account for Pleistocene glacial/interglacial cycles?
- Friday, May 11
Arctic and Antarctic climate change: Ice caps, sea ice, sea level rise, and climate instability in the high latitudes, where climate is changing at breakneck speed.
- Monday, May 14:
The jet stream storm track and global warming: Will the jet stream, which guides the path and determines the strength and persistence of midlatitude storms (and the dry periods between them) change as the world warms, and has it already?
- Monday, May 21:
Contemporary climate change: Causes and future scenarios: What recent trends have been observed, what are their causes, what are some projections, and how are projections made?
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