WCP Junior Seminar/ Global Climate Change: Past, Present & Future

Spring, 1998

R. Hays Cummins | Western College Program | Miami University

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Instructor: Dr. Hays Cummins, Teaching Philosophy & Other Syllabii
Office: Peabody, Rm 103
Boyd Hall, Rm 222
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 2-5
Phone: 529-1338

Welcome to our junior seminar on Global Climate Change. This is an ambitious treatment of the subject and we will do our best to cover as much material as possible on this exciting, interdisciplinary topic. We will learn about present climate and integrate, as much as possible given all of the unknowns, with the climate record of the past. We will entertain predictions for future climate and global change.

For this course format to work, everyone must participate to the best of their ability. Student activities will include the following endeavors:

Forecasting Skills

I encourage all of you to monitor the weather every day! This is very easy to do. You could begin with:

You will learn how to interpret weather phenomena and make predictions based upon computer models, NOAA weather discussions and other resources. Each week the class will be given a forecasting challenge which will be presented the following week. Your forecasts will be submitted and critiqued vis the Weather Feedback Site below. These submissions will serve as an important component of your weather journal!

Feel free to Browse the Weather Topic Submissions

 Weather Discussion Topics & Feedback:

 Search for Discussions Entered....

  Hurricanes and Tropical Weather   since I last checked
  Severe Weather Discussions in the last three days

Student Forecast Challenges

in the last week
  in the last 2 months

OR Enter your own Weather Discussion Topic by Category ...

Climate Change Queries

Search a Huge Database of links to climate and environment sites from around the world!

Enter some key words to search by:

Find pages with of these words and return results.

Detailed Results Search Phonetically Begins With Searching 

Writing Activities
Two World Wide Web pages will be created, one on present day weather and climate and the other on paleoclimate. Each web page will be graded on the quality of subsite (URL) selection and the aesthetics of the page layout. These pages will be posted on the World Wide Web upon completion. Your work will be added to the Global Change WWW Page .

Guides to the Internet, HTML, & Web Design

Symbol of a thunderstorm used by the Navajo of northern Arizona and western New Mexico (A Field Guide to the Atmosphere, Peterson Filed Guide Series, # 26).

- A Weather Journal will be kept detailing your daily weather and atmospheric impressions. Examples of entries might include the passage of cold fronts, wind speed and direction, interesting cloud formations, atmospheric clarity, amount of precipitation, a good night for stargazing, etc. I'd like to see photos of various weather phenomena including cloud types, and lightning, if possible. Have fun with this!

- A final report on research findings on a Paleoclimate research topic of your choice. The report will include actual research data obtained and analyzed from sources on the World Wide Web as well as the most recent and foundation literature sources that address your research interests on global change. The report will take the form of a professional journal article.

Library Skills
During the course of the semester, you will make three presentations using the very latest sources from the literature. This will require familiarity with searching for information using the computer and yes, even doing it the old fashion way, actually going to the periodicals in the library. Besides your research report (see above), you will seek out the most recent literature on "Hot Topics" in Climate/Global change. You will find three articles, twice during the semester, that are the most interesting to you and that will educate the rest of us on the latest developments in the field. These articles will be xeroxed and placed on reserve in the Peer Science Center along with your annotated bibliography . Using class discussion as a catalyst, we will come to a consensus as to which topics and articles we will use in each of our "Special Hot Topic Discussions." Here's a little something to get you started!!

Library Resources

Miami Link

Search Engines-Search Worldwide


Searching with WebCrawler(TM)


Discussion Leadership
Each student will get the opportunity to lead discussion at least twice during the semester based upon each weeks readings. I also expect each student to come to class with written questions to help facilitate our discussions. Each student, at least twice during the semester, will also lead a conversation on the past week's weather, henceforth known as Weather Week in Review, and make predictions on what the upcoming weather for the next week is expected to be. The course will close with a "Global Change Symposium."

The Earth's Orbit

Week-by-Week Schedule of Events:
Date (Week of) Topics Readings Student Disc. Leader Student Led Weather Week in Review
Week 1 Introduction to Course
Weather Maps
The World Wide Web
Forecast Wildcard
Week 2 Global Change
Earth & Driving Forces
Weather Maps
Weather Week in Review
Atmos Change Chap 1&2
Week 3 Atmos Radiation Budget
Atmospheric Circulation
Weather Maps
Weather Week in Review
Air Pressure
**Distribution of Literature for Discussion on 1/26 & An. Bibliogr.
The Atmosphere
Atmos Change Chap 3&4

Audubon Guide pgs.
Week 4 Aerosols
The Water Cycle & Climate
Weather Maps
Weather Week in Review
Atmos Change Chap 5&6

Audubon Guide pgs.
Week 5 Special Topic Discussion Based Upon Literature Search & Oral Report/Discussion
Atmospheric Stability
Forecast Challenge
Week 6 Chemistry of Atmosphere
Aquatic Chemistry
Weather Week in Review
World Wide Web Paleo Data
Atmos Change Chap 8&9
Audubon Guide pgs. 75- 92.
Week 7 Ancient Earth: Climate Histories & Chemical Histories
Weather Week in Review
Atmos Change Chap

Audubon Guide pgs.95- 106.
Week 8 Global Change: Last Few Centuries
Global Change: Last Several Decades
Weather Week in Review
Atmos Change Chap
Audubon Guide pgs.107- 128.
Week 9 Budgets & Cycles
Env Chem Models
Weather Week in Review
**Distribution of Literature for Discussion on 11/4 & An. Bibliogr.
Atmos Change Chap
Week 10 Regional Futures
Weather Week in Review

Atmos Change Chap
Audubon Guide pgs.129- 136.
Week 11 Special Topic Discussion Based Upon Literature Search & Oral Report/Discussion Forecast Challenge
Week 12 Global Futures
Weather Week in Review
Snowstorms/Ice Storms
Atmos Change Chap
Audubon Guide pgs.137- 146.
Week 13 Climate of the Far Future
Weather Week in Review
Atmos Change Chap
Audubon Guide pgs.147- 154.
Week 14 Surprise Weather Topic Don't Forget Forecasts!
Week 15 On Change & Sustainability
Weather Week in Review
Nuclear Winter
Atmos Change Chap
Week 16 Climate Change Symposium (12 Minute Student Presentations on Global Change) No Readings

There are two texts in this course:
1-Atmospheric Change: An Earth System Perspective by T. E. Graedel and Paul J. Crutzen
2-National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather , by David M. Ludlum

The Earth's Axis Wobbles like a Spinning Top. There are Two Periods (a wobble within a wobble): 19,000 and 23,000 Years.

The Earth's Axial Tilt varies from24.5 to 22.1 degrees with a Period of 41,000 Years.

Academic Honesty
Please read part V, Sections 501-507 of The Miami Student Handbook on Academic Dishonesty since the policy articulated pertains to all work done in this course.

Point Distribution is as follows:
Assignments Points Grading Distribution
Climate Web Page 150 A: > 1259 pts
PaleoClimate Web Page 150 B : > 1119 pts < 1259 pts
Weather Journal
Including Cloud Photos and ID
150 C: > 979 pts < 1119 pts
D: > 840 pts < 979 pts
F: < 840 pts
Discussion Leader 200
Weather Week in Review 100
Special Topics Discussion 100
Climate Change Symposium 200
Final PaleoClimate Report (Five Pages) 200
Participation 150 Total Pts 1400

Interdisciplinary Studies: Natural Science Program Teaching Philosophy

Click if you'd like to learn about our instructor and student generated labs, independent research & publications, the natural science database, opportunities for field research, writing in the sciences, the Julia Rothermel Peer Science Center, and tutor responsibilities.

To View Other Syllabii:

Return Home | Return to Top of Page | Weather Sites | Ecology, Earth Science Resources | Trop Eco Images | Discovery Labs | Science Autobiography | Vita | Astronomy Links | Global Change |

Any mail, comments or suggestions? You can Add to my Guestbook , View the Guestbook or e-mail me privately at HaysC@miamioh.edu .