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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Earth Sciences (EARTH)

EARTH 002 (GN) The Earth System and Global Change (3) An interdisciplinary introduction to the processes, interactions and evolution of the earth's biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere.

EARTH 002 Gaia - The Earth System (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

EARTH 002 is a broad introduction to the Earth and to the forces and processes that shape the present-day global environment. The course focuses on global-scale changes, both natural and human-induced. These include: global climate change, destruction of stratospheric ozone, and tropical deforestation, species extinction, and the loss of biodiversity.

The discussion of these modern environmental issues occupies about 40% of the course. Unlike other "environmental" courses, this one sets these issues in the context of the long-term evolution and natural variability of the Earth systems. Thus, the course is structured around three major themes--the issues of global change, time scales of change, and understanding the Earth as a system.

By the end of this course, we expect students to:

1) Recognize that:

- the Earth operates as a complex system,

- there is considerable interaction between the different components of this system (e.g. atmosphere, oceans, solid Earth, and biota),

- changes in one part of the system can be expected to impact all others to a greater of lesser degree.

2) Develop an understanding of how the Earth system operates at the global scale, and the consequences this has for regional variability.

3) Understand how this system has evolved through time.

4) Understand how to use systems and graphical analyses to predict system response to perturbations.

As a result of this course, we expect students to:

1) Synthesize this information to better appreciate the complexity of modern global change issues.

2) Be in a position to make more informed judgments on the nature and seriousness of these issues.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Fall 2007

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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