From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

Lesson 1 Summary


We have reviewed the essential basic concepts necessary for understanding climate change and global warming, including:

  • The concepts of climate, climate change, and global warming;
  • The components of the Earth's climate system: the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and biosphere;
  • The structure and composition of the Earth's atmosphere;
  • The concepts of radiation and energy balance;
  • The nature of the circulation of the atmosphere and the oceans;
  • The concept of radiative forcing;
  • Climate feedbacks and climate sensitivity;
  • Carbon cycle feedbacks and the Earth System sensitivity.

We are now well-equipped to begin digging into the details.  Our first foray will be into the world of climate observations. What data are available that can inform our understanding of how climate has changed over historic time? What indirect data are available that place historical observation in a longer-term context? How do we analyze such data to assess whether there is indeed "climate change"? This will be our next topic.

Reminder - Complete all of the module tasks!

You have finished Lesson 1. Double-check the list of requirements on the first page of this lesson to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before beginning the next lesson.