Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I –
Summarize the WG I report: The Physical Science Basis which explains the forcing mechanisms that have caused climate change. Be sure to explain which forcing mechanisms that scientists are most confident and least confident are causing climate change. Also explain how the various data were used to make these conclusions. Include any reasonable rebuttals of this report.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II –
Summarize the WG II report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerabilitywhich explains the ramifications of climate change. Explain which impacts that scientists believe are most serious. Also explain how the various data were used to make these conclusions. Include any reasonable rebuttals of this report.
El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and climate –
Explain the cause(s) of El Niño and La Niña and any cyclic pattern that has been observed. Explain the effects of these phenomena on climate, weather, and human activity. Summarize historic cases. Discuss the tools being used to forecast these events.
Discuss the various proxy data used to estimate climate before humans were around to make measurements. Discuss the accuracy of these climate indicators and detail some examples taken in the field that have been used to estimate past climates.
Impact of ocean circulation on long-term climate –
The 2004 Hollywood movie The Day After Tomorrow was based on the concept that global warming had disrupted the North Atlantic Conveyor Belt and the result was a mini-ice age for North America and Europe. Discuss the accuracy of this premise and, after watching the movie, explain any “bad science” portrayed by the movie. Also explain how changes in large-scale ocean circulations have caused climate change. Discuss the evidence that allows scientists to estimate ocean circulations in the past before they were directly measured.
Long-term climate changes due to changes in earth’s orbit and tilt –
Provide a detailed explanation of the Milankovitch Theory and the resulting climate changes on Earth.
Ice sheets/glaciers and their impact on and by climate changes –
Explain the climatic forces that cause icehouse eras vs. greenhouse eras. Also explain how ice sheets impact local and global climate change. Discuss how scientists are able to estimate the extent of ice on Earth in the past.
Sun-spots and climate –
Some scientists have hypothesized that the number of sunspots is directly related to climate change on Earth. Discuss the details of this hypothesis and provide any reasonable rebuttals of this hypothesis. Explain how sunspots form. Discuss any historical high or low sunspot counts that have been observed and the climate during that period.
Summarize the three attempts at classifying climate. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these three systems. Choose a location from each climate type and show how it fits into each classification scheme.
A summary of climate archives and models (Chapter 3) –
Discuss the various climate data archives and the various climate models used to predict past and future climates. Explain the accuracy of these models and the greatest limitations.
The Gaia Hypothesis –
Biologists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proposed in the late 1980s that life itself regulates Earth's climate. This is known as the Gaia Hypothesis. Explain this hypothesis which interpretations range between scientific and religious. How valid are the various interpretations?
Monsoons and climate: past and present –
Explain how a monsoon circulation develops and how monsoon data has been used to estimate past climates. Be sure to discuss the orbital monsoon hypothesis.
The Little Ice Age –
Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. Detail this mini-ice age and its impact on Europe. Describe the data collected that supports this ice age. Discuss any reasonable rebuttals to this ice age.
Impact of climate on humans: early humans to present day –
How has the evolution of humans been influenced by climate change? Discuss the supporting evidence and any reasonable rebuttals.
Air pollution and climate change –
How does air pollution impact climate change? Describe pollutants that cause global warming vs. global cooling. Discuss any steps taken to mitigate pollution and the economic costs of taking these steps or choosing not to.
Climate change due to volcanoes and large impacts –
Describe how volcanoes and large impacts (asteroids, comets, etc.) influence climate change. Discuss historical cases.
Hurricane climatology and pre-season prediction methods –
Atlantic hurricane frequency appears to be cyclical. What is this cycle and what are the forcing mechanisms that influence this cycle? How are scientists able to predict the next hurricane season? What is the prediction for next season and what were the determining factors?
The many climate types of the Hawaiian Islands –
The Hawaiian islands experience almost every climate type on Earth. Explain where these climates are located and what are the meteorological forcing mechanisms that cause these climates.
Climate change caused by large-scale land movement –
Explain the plate tectonic theory of climate change. Explain the BLAG hypothesis and the Uplift Weathering hypothesis for climate change.
Predicted climate change in the next 100 to 1000 years –
There are various predictions for how climate might change in the next 100 to 1000 years. Describe the range of predictions and how these predictions are achieved. Discuss the validity of the most conservative and most radical predictions. How has the mainstream prediction changed over the past few decades?