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INTRODUCTION Week 6 - Week 6 Earth's Climate System 1...

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Week 6: Earth's Climate System 1 INTRODUCTION Week 6: Earth's Climate System Through the exploration of Earth science in this course, you have learned about Earth's various processes and systems and how they interact. In our final week we study Earth's global climate system, global air circulation, climate regions, and how the climate has changed over time. Earth's climate, like its weather is complex and dynamic. Since the advent of the industrial revolution 150 years ago there has been a new factor at play in the climate system. The Nobel Prize winning 2007 Fourth Annual Assessment Report from the World Meteorological Organization's Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change states: "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid- twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human caused] green house gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes, and wind patterns." Carbon dioxide gas generated from human combustion reactions is accumulating in the atmosphere and driving global temperatures upwards via the greenhouse effect. This week we investigate both the natural and the human factors driving the planetary climate system. In place of an Application, there is a Reflection assigned for this week. In this Reflection, you will be asked to reflect on what you have learned throughout the course and the ways it has affected how you see the world. By the end of this week, you should be able to: Predict global climate change scenarios Synthesize key learning in the course Readings Course Text: The Good Earth o Chapter 16, "Earth’s Climate System" (pp. 451–485) In this chapter, you will learn about the Earth's climate system, global air circulation, climate regions, and how the climate has changed over time. o Chapter 17, "Global Change" (pp. 495- 511) In this section, you will learn about the human role in Earth's climate system, the carbon cycle, and the greenhouse effect. o In Chapter 6, review "6.8 The Rise and Fall of Mountains and Temperatures" (pp. 175–177) Web Sites World Watch Institute: Climate Change.
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