||Fiat Lux: Global Climate Change and Societal Response
||2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
EARTH, PLANETARY, AND SPACE
SCIENCES 19—Seminar 2
FIAT LUX FRESHMAN SEMINARS:
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND SOCIETAL RESPONSE
Geology 3645; Thursday 2:00—3:15 p.m.
Professor William I. Newman, 4640 Geology
Office Hours: T 2:00 P.M.; F 3:00 P.M. and by appointment
The scientific community has established with a remarkable degree of agreement that
global climate change is presently taking place at an unprecedented rate and caused
primarily by human activity. Carbon dioxide produced by homo sapiens, in particular, as
a product of fossil fuel burning has fundamentally altered our planet's atmospheric
processes. Prior to the industrial revolution, naturally occurring carbon dioxide by means
of greenhouse effect helped raise the temperature of our environment by nearly 60°.
(Greenhouse effect is the cause underlying why the interior of a car with windows closed
has its temperature rise when in sunlight.) Since then, humans have increased the quantity
of carbon dioxide in atmosphere by more than a third. Exploration of gamut of human
(anthropogenic) influences upon environment and outcomes that can be expected in our
lifetime. Students discuss effects on society, and each student provides a presentation
detailing one societal aspect
We will employ select readings from several books and, possibly, other sources as they
become available. The books have been selected to be understandable by non-scientists
and do not employ significant mathematics (although some quantitative reasoning will be
required for addressing the global and human energy budgets). The books include:
M.E. Mann and L.R. Kump 2009. Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming,
London: Pearson Education.
G. Schmidt and J. Wolfe 2009. Climate Change: Picturing the Science, New York: W.W.
Norton & Company.
B. Richter 2010. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st
Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
D.J.C. MacKay 2009. Sustainable Energy—without the Hot Air, Cambridge England:
UIT Cambridge. (available from http://www.withouthotair.com/ in PDF form
without charge; the other two texts are approximately $20 apiece)
FACULTY BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT:
Professor Newman has performed research in a number of fields including the
atmospheres and environments of the Earth and planets. His research related to this
seminar relates to the nature of the greenhouse effect and the effect of different
atmospheric constituents, the nature of clouds and how they influence radiation, and the
emergence of record-breaking statistics in temperatures measured on Earth. He is
currently teaching EPSS 13 "Natural Disasters," a course he created to address the need
for UCLA students to be better aware of the Earth and the dynamic forces that shape its
Grading for this course will be on a P/NP basis. Students are expected to attend all ten
lectures/presentations. (A maximum of two absences will be permitted; attendance will
be taken, as required for Fiat Lux seminars.) Further, each student will be expected to
present a 15 minute presentation (PowerPoint or PDF slides), plus a 2-page summary
handout, during the latter half of the course. The presentation topic should be cleared
with Professor Newman during office hours before February 5