GC170A1 – Introduction to Global Change (3cr) 

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 12-12:50
Kuiper Space Sciences Building Room 308  [NO FOOD OR DRINK IN CLASSROOM]


Instructor:   Prof. Steve Leavitt

                     Office: Lab. of Tree-Ring Research- Room 301 Bannister Tree-Ring Building (map & directions)

Phone: 621-6468; Email: sleavitt@email.arizona.edu

Office hours: TBA and by appointment; e-mail queries answered rapidly


TAs:             TBA  

                     Office hours: TBA and additional office hours by appointment (send e-mail to one of us, or arrange in class).


Readings:    Required Textbook= Dire Predictions, Understanding Climate Change, by M.E. Mann & L.R. Kump, Pearson, 2nd Ed. 2016 (ok if either hard copy or ebook https://www.vitalsource.com/products/dire-predictions-michael-e-mann-v9780134343143?term=Dire+Predictions

                     Other required readings provided as PDFs or web links in D2L and as handouts


Homework Problem Sets: Assigned in class- to be worked on your own, but will not be graded


Course Content and ObjectivesThis course is your manual for operation of Planet Earth.

Anyone following current events cannot help but be aware of the growing number of reports about changes taking place on our Earth, for example related to atmospheric temperatures, forest decline, hurricanes, wildfires, glaciers and ice sheets, mineral and water resources, etc. Global Change Science is a rapidly developing multidisciplinary field that addresses (a) the natural operation of Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere, (b) the natural and human-induced ("anthropogenic") mechanisms by which these systems may be altered, and (c) the nature of the changes. The consequences of such changes, whether natural or anthropogenic, could clearly be important to climate, agriculture, commerce, and human health on our planet. This course takes an “Earth System” (rather than a strict “climate change”) approach to looking at our planet and past, present and future changes. Students will learn physical and chemical characteristics of Earth systems advanced in this class as a prelude to a more complete and thoughtful analysis of major global change issues. In addition to learning (1) the principles and jargon of global change science, and (2) our limitations in understanding of the Earth System, the course will promote improved writing skills and critical thinking in writing exercises, lectures, and group activities.


Grading:  Will be on a point system. You will accumulate points from exams, quizzes, essays, term paper, group activities and participation.  Extra credit opportunities will be offered to get additional points. Honors students will have additional activities and responsibilities.


Writing:  Writing is a requirement of Tier 1 General Education classes such as GC170A1 (http://gened.arizona.edu/content/writing-component).  Writing is promoted in this class through the specific assignments of two essays and the term writing project, as well as some writing in group activities.


Extra Credit (EC):

Relevant and approved TV specials (NOVA, Discovery Channel), special talks/lectures, documentaries, etc. can be viewed/read after which a 1-to-2-page double-spaced typewritten summary/critique must be submitted to Instructor within 1 week of opportunity, 6 EC points each. NOTE: Only 2 extra credit opportunities may be earned after April 3 and before 5pm on May 1, and none after May 1.  Instructors will advertise many opportunities on D2L, and you are encouraged to find others (but you must obtain prior approval from instructors before attempting to use them for extra credit).  It may be possible for responsible, motivated, astute Section 01 students to volunteer as regular or alternate group leaders to earn EC points.  Maximum total Extra Credit is 30 points (5 submissions at 6 pts each), and will be added on to your final class point total.