Foothill CollegeApproved Course Outlines

Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering Division
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory.4 Units

Total Quarter Learning Hours: 72 (Total of All Lecture, Lecture/Lab, and Lab hours X 12)
 Lecture Hours: 3 Lab Hours: 3 Lecture/Lab:
 Note: If Lab hours are specified, see item 10. Lab Content below.

Repeatability -
Statement: Not Repeatable.

Status -
 Course Status: ActiveGrading: Letter Grade with P/NP option
 Degree Status: ApplicableCredit Status: Credit
 Degree or Certificate Requirement: AS Degree
 GE Status: Non-GE

Articulation Office Information -
 Transferability: BothValidation: 11/14/12; 10/01/13

Cross Listed as:BIOL 27
Related ID:

1. Description -
Cooking the Earth presents the science behind the Climate Change headlines and will answer the question “How does climate change work?” Explore changes that are occurring in the atmosphere due to climate change and their affect on Earth's ecosystems. Will also explore the predicted changes in Earth's systems over the next century. Does not require a background in physics or biology.
Prerequisite: None
Co-requisite: None
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in BIOL 27.

2. Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. How is climate defined?
  2. What is temperature?
  3. What are the drivers/determinants of climate including the greenhouse effect?
  4. What is the greenhouse effect?
  5. How does climate drive the biosphere?
  6. What is climate change and how is it measured over different time periods – proxies and models?
  7. Evidence for Modern Climate Change
  8. Solutions to modern climate change
3. Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Fully equipped multi-media lecture room. Students need internet access.

4. Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. What is climate science?
    1. Definition of climate
  2. What is temperature?
    1. Energy
    2. Heat capacity
    3. How heat moves
    4. Radiation, conduction, convection
    5. Flux
    6. Steady-state vs. equilibrium
  3. What are the drivers/determinants of climate including the greenhouse effect?
    1. Milankovitch cycles
    2. Solar activity
    3. Landmass position
    4. Ocean currents, global wind patterns
      1. thermohaline convection
      2. surface currents
      3. global wind patterns
    5. Atmospheric convection cells- Hadley, Ferrell, Polar
  4. What is the greenhouse effect?
    1. Radiation
      1. Transmission
      2. Absorption
      3. Reflection
    2. Conduction and convection
    3. Solar radiation
    4. Atmospheric gasses and their potential to affect climate
      1. Nitrogen gas
      2. Carbon dioxide
      3. Methane
      4. Nitrous oxide
      5. Ozone
      6. Water vapor
      7. Absorption spectrum for different materials
      8. Lifetime of different gasses in the atmosphere
    5. Ocean and land mass absorption and emission
  5. How does climate drive the biosphere?
    1. Biomes – aquatic and terrestrial
    2. Ecosystems
    3. Productivity – Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) and Net Primary productivity
    4. The relationship between productivity in ecosystems and organismal diversity
  6. What is climate change and how is it measured over different time periods – proxies and models?
    1. proxies used to assess climate change over geologic time periods
      1. Ice cores
      2. Isotopes
      3. Tree rings
      4. Pollen data
    2. Models are used to predict how climate is changing now.
      1. IPCC – International Panel on Climate Change models
  7. Evidence for Modern Climate Change
    1. Observed and Potential impacts
      1. Animals and plant distributions – some losers, some winners- biogeography
      2. Sea level Rise
      3. Environmental Refugees
      4. Agriculture
      5. Human health
  8. Solutions to modern climate change
    1. Prevention – is it too late
    2. Mitigation
    3. Adaptation
    4. Individual actions
5. Repeatability - Moved to header area.
6. Methods of Evaluation -
May include the following:
  1. One or more midterm exams
  2. Final examination
  3. Research Paper/ project/presentation
  4. Article analysis

7. Representative Text(s) -
Mackenzie, Fred T. Our Changing Planet: An introduction to earth systems science and global environmental change. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2011.

8. Disciplines -
Physics, Biology
9. Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Cooperative learning exercises
  4. Oral presentations
10. Lab Content -
Laboratory activities will incorporate making a hypothesis, carrying out an experiment, making observations, analyzing results, and forming conclusions in the following topic areas:
  1. Radiation
  2. Greenhouse Effect
  3. Ocean Currents
  4. CO2 absorption
  5. Proxies for Temperature and Data Analysis
  6. Carbon Calculations
11. Honors Description - No longer used. Integrated into main description section.
12. Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading Assignments. Reading of textbook chapters on a weekly basis. Students will also be required to read and evaluate reporting of current environmental issues in current periodicals.
  2. Students will research and design an advocacy campaign for an environmental issue
  3. Students will complete personal impact assessments (for example energy use, water use, ecological footprint analysis) at the beginning and end of the quarter and analyze changes
13. Need/Justification -
This course is a required core course for the A.S. degree in General Studies-Science

Course status: Active
Last updated: 2014-06-03 10:28:56

Foothill CollegeApproved Course Outlines