To be honest I was not overly impressed with week one of the the Future learn course. It seemed to be focussed on trying to dispel myths than actually provide useful information. The classic “carbon dioxide is the worse green house gas isn’t it?” “NO, other gases such as methane are even worse” type approach really grates. It could have been presented in a much nicer fashion.
Reflect on these key questions:
1. What the key scientific principles that explain climate change including the greenhouse (blanket) effect?
By key scientific principles do you mean the quantum theory to understand radiation absorption and emission, Newtonian principles?
2. What are the key feedback mechanisms that help to explain why our climate is able to “self-regulate”?
I think the key feedback mechanisms is the regulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a function of natural release, capture from weathering of silicate rocks via the carbonate and carbonic acid reactions. This includes the albedo effect of white/bright sources.
3. How can our climate be conceptualised as a system containing a series of components that interact with one another?
I guess by this you mean components such as the atmosphere, the oceans and the land. Then following the energy transfer path and carbon dioxide (and other GHGs) as they cycle, release or are captured between these different environments?
General weekly reflection points:
1. What are the most important themes you have learned this week?
Nothing other than you seemed to be focussing on “shock and awe” in this first week than I expected. Sorry but I really think you could have done this better.
2. What aspect of this week did you find difficult?
The fact that you failed to really define the real mechanisms involved - you tried to use hand wavy arguments but then they just confused and muddled the problems. It would have made sense to define things like long and short wave radiation at the beginning of week one which you are clearly going to need in the following weeks. I mean you consistently will start using the words “radiation” but not really defining it?
With that said you then tried to capture this failing in the weekly review of the course “webcast” - ironically I did not realise that these were going to happen. If you start out with the information in the review and rebuild the course based on that video it would be much better.
3. What did you find most interesting? And why?
It is interesting to note that actually it is only a relatively short period in our planets history were the Earth has had an oxygen rich (oxidative) atmosphere. Prior to this the atmosphere was reductive, carbon dioxide rich. Of course life on planet Earth at that time was also very different. If we understand that the atmosphere of our planet and climate have been changing constantly often very slowly throughout our planet’s existence then it is interesting to compare points in the planets history. We must remember that we are such a blimp on the planet and if we all die tomorrow there would be no difference to the planets continued existence.
4. Was there something that you learned this week that prompted you to do your own research?
Not really sorry. I pretty much knew and in more depth the information you covered in the course.
5. Are there any web sites or other online resource that you found particularly useful in furthering your knowledge and understanding?