This module was used as an introduction to the science of climate change, with the goal of detecting trends in temperature change providing motivation for later course material on climate adaptation and mitigation.
Adapted from: Global Temperature Change in the 21st Century (Abstract) | TIEE v 1.0
The module was implemented at Fairfield University by James Biardi.
- Course: BI/CH 76, Environmental Science
- Course Level: This course is for non-science majors, and forms part of their distribution requirements for the bachelor’s degree
- Instructional Setting: Lecture only, but with requirement for experience in data collection and analysis
- Implementation Timeframe: The course ran 150 min/week for 15 weeks. The module was implemented during weeks 11, 12, and 13 of the course.
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The student handout was used unmodified from the original module. Exercises in the original module were completed in order each week, with data files shared via the course management system between class sessions.
Data files and assignment requirements were distributed by the course management system, by group for Exercise 1 and 2, and for the entire class for Exercise 3. Groups submitted their analysis in the form of an Excel spreadsheet annotated with their notes on the assessment questions given in the handout.
On the final exam students were asked two short answer questions based on this activity:
- “Why do climate scientists give a range of predictions for the amount of temperature change we should expect by the end of the century?” and
- “Choose one area of impact from the IPCC AR4 WG2 report (water, ecosystems, food, coasts, or health) and describe the impacts we should expect to see by the end of the century after a predicted 2–4°C increase in temperature.”