Goals and Objectives



  • Recognize the natural and human-driven systems and processes that produce energy and affect the climate
  • Explain scientific concepts in language non-scientists can understand
  • Use numerical tools and publicly available scientific data to demonstrate important concepts about the Earth, its climate, and resources

Learning Objectives

The global-warming story is huge. In this module, we will look at the physics, and the next module covers the history and the impacts.  Don't let it get you down; the basics are not nearly as hard as they might seem at first.

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Recall that carbon dioxide has a well-understood and physically unavoidable warming influence on Earth’s climate
  • Recognize that positive feedbacks amplify changes, and negative feedbacks reduce them
  • Recall that multiple independent records from different places using different methods all show that both CO2 and temperature are rising
  • Explain that patterns of global warming in the past century can only be reproduced by considering both natural and human influences on climate
  • Use a model to show that global climate always finds a steady state, but certain factors may influence how long it takes to get there
  • Demonstrate that greenhouse gases are the most significant factor controlling surface temperature