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					                         Introduction



Mechanisms of Past Climate Change       Fall 2005
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                          Course Objectives

• To better understand some of the mechanisms
  that have been involved in climate changes in
  the distant past (i.e., paleoclimates).
• To explore the scientific process in which
  hypotheses to explain past behavior of the
  climate system are proposed and tested.
• To develop the ability to critically examine the
  content of scientific papers.
• To enhance scientific communication skills.

Mechanisms of Past Climate Change               Fall 2005
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                     Topics To Be Covered

• How are periodic fluctuations in Earth’s climate related to
  slow changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit?
• How sensitive is Earth’s climate to radiative forcing?
• Did changes in the ocean’s overturning circulation cause
  millennial-scale climate variability?
• Was tropical Pacific climate variability (e. g., El Niño)
  different in Earth’s past?




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change                       Fall 2005
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                                    Format

• Each topic will be introduced by two lectures to provide
  background information on that topic.
• Four readings from the scientific literature will be
  assigned on each topic.
• Each of these papers will be discussed in class (one
  paper per class meeting), with one student summarizing
  the paper and leading the discussion.
• Students will complete a final project, which will include a
  written report and oral presentation.



Mechanisms of Past Climate Change                        Fall 2005
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                                    Grading

                        Class participation (60%)
                              Discussion leader: 30%
                              Open discussion: 30%
                        Final Project (40%)
                              Written report: 30%
                              Oral presentation: 10%




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                         Papers To Be Read

• The assigned readings are listed on the course
  web page:

http://www.envsci.rutgers.edu/~broccoli/mech_past_clim_chg.htm




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change                        Fall 2005
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                  Finding Scientific Papers

• Most of the papers to be discussed are available online
  through the Electronic Journals web page maintained by
  the Rutgers University Libraries.
• Not all journals are available electronically through the
  Rutgers system; AGU journals are among those not
  available.
• AGU members can access papers from AGU journals
  published prior to the current year via AGU web site.
• In a small number of cases, you may have to resort to
  using the library the old-fashioned way. (Sorry!)


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         How To Read A Scientific Paper

• Reading a scientific paper can be very different from
  reading a novel or a newspaper.
• The content can be much more dense (jargon, technical
  information, mathematics, etc.).
• For a full understanding, it may be necessary to refer to
  other publications cited in the paper.
• Some papers require more than one reading to be
  clearly understood.




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change                      Fall 2005
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                   “Levels Of Engagement”

• Because there are differing degrees of
  commitment that one can give to the process of
  reading a scientific paper, Simon Hunt (Oxford)
  describes four “levels of engagement.”




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change             Fall 2005
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                                    Level 1

Where?
 Sitting beside the coffee table

How often?
 Daily




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change             Fall 2005
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                                    Level 2

Where?
 A quiet, comfortable armchair

How often?
 Several times per week




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                                    Level 3

Where?
 At your own desk or at a desk in the library; with
 space for making notes.

How often?
 Once or twice per week.




Mechanisms of Past Climate Change              Fall 2005
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                                    Level 4

Where?
 In complete privacy; no distractions.

How often?
 At least a couple of times per month.




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Other Resources: Reading Scientific Papers

• The course web site provides links to other
  online essays about reading scientific papers.
• Simon Hunt, University of Oxford, “Reading
  Scientific Papers”
• John W. Little and Roy Parker, University of
  Arizona, “How To Read A Scientific Paper”
• Elizabeth Willott, University of Arizona, “Reading
  a Scientific Paper”


Mechanisms of Past Climate Change               Fall 2005
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                   Leading The Discussion

• The discussion leader is responsible for
  introducing the paper by briefly answering the
  following questions:
     – What scientific questions are addressed by the
       paper?
     – Are any specific hypotheses proposed by the
       author(s)?
     – What methods are used?
     – What are the primary conclusions of the paper?


Mechanisms of Past Climate Change                       Fall 2005
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                   Leading The Discussion

• After introducing the paper, the discussion
  leader should stimulate discussion by asking
  thought-provoking questions about the paper.
• Topics of interest might include
     – Aspects of the paper that are hard to understand
     – Weaknesses of experimental methods, analysis or
       interpretation
     – Aspects of the paper that are particularly convincing
     – Relationships with other papers on similar topics


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                                    Final Project

• Among the topics discussed in class, select a
  particular aspect of past climate change that
  interests you.
• Research possible physical mechanisms that
  have been proposed to explain that aspect of
  climate change.
• Prepare a written report (6-10 pages) and a brief
  presentation (15 minutes) that critically
  examines a particular physical mechanism.

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                      Most Important Goals

• To encourage you to get excited about new
  scientific ideas.
• To have fun exploring some of the mechanisms
  of past climate change.




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                                    Example

• Let’s say you chose the increase of global
  temperature during the 20th century as your
  topic.
• You would research the physical mechanisms
  that have been proposed as explanations for this
  warming.
• You might choose to critically evaluate the
  possibility that human-induced increases in
  greenhouse gases caused the warming.

Mechanisms of Past Climate Change             Fall 2005
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