PHSC 13400: Global Warming

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Lecture 5: The Greenhouse Effect

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Lecture Details :

This 10-week course for non-science majors focuses on a single problem: assessing the risk of human-caused climate change. The story ranges from physics to chemistry, biology, geology, fluid mechanics, and quantum mechanics, to economics and social sciences. The class will consider evidence from the distant past and projections into the distant future, keeping the human time scale of the next several centuries as the bottom line. The lectures follow a textbook, "Global Warming, Understanding the Forecast," written for the course.

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Course Description :

Scope of the Class - Heat and Light - Blackbody Radiation & Quantum Mechanics - Our First Climate Model - The Greenhouse Effect - What Makes a Greenhouse Gas - Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere - What Holds the Atmosphere Up? - Why its Colder Aloft - Winds, Currents, and Heat - Six Degrees - Ice and Water Vapor Feedbacks - Clouds - The Weathering CO2 Thermostat - The Lungs of the Carbon Cycle - The Battery of the Biosphere - Coal and Oil - Oil and Gas - The Carbon Cycle Today - The Long Thaw- The Smoking Gun - The Present in the Bosom of the Past - Hot, Flat, and Crowded

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