Dr. Jennifer Glass
Understanding Earth’s environment requires understanding how the whole Earth functions as a system. We will begin by considering external influences on Earth’s environment and reviewing the systems approach for studying interrelated phenomena, as well as the basic physics needed for such studies. We will then investigate four components of the Earth system in detail: the atmosphere, the oceans, the solid Earth, and the biosphere. We will explore how each component interacts with the others and how these processes control Earth’s climate. We will finish with a discussion of modern anthropogenic climate change. By the end of the course, students will understand the processes by which the dynamic Earth system operates, and will be able to critically evaluate the various natural and anthropogenic influences on the environment. Through the laboratory sessions and lectures, students will develop an understanding of the scientific method and scientific research. Through a semester-long Wikipedia editing project, students will gain experience in scientific writing on notable topics in environmental sciences of high interest to the public. The Wikipedia editing project will also provide students with experience in identifying an audience, citing literature, peer review, revising, and ethical standards to avoid plagiarism.