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Geog 134 - Earth System Science

Diane Schweizer

Course URL:

Course Type:

Earth Systems Science

Course Size:


From Syllabus: This course will provide you with the scientific background to address many global change issues. You will be asked you to examine your own thoughts and opinions on global change and to share those thoughts with the class and others. As students of ESS your obligation is to share your knowledge and stimulate discussion of global change with those around you as global change impacts everyone. My feeling is that if it is worth coming to class to learn about, it is worth discussing with those around you outside of class.

Course Context:

This course, offered Winter Quarter of 1999 at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has no prerequisites. The class includes 2 75-minute lectures and 1 2-hour lab per week. Part of the final grade is based on evaluating other students' group projects as well as being able to speak extemporaneously about some issue in Earth System Science.

Course Goals:

Course Objectives:
  • To become familiar with the basic scientific underpinnings of earth system science.
  • To practice working in teams on scientific topics.
  • To help you become informed global citizens.
  • To motivate you to continue to educate yourself and others on global environmental change outside the class.

Course Content:

This course covers topics such as Earth's Radiation Budget, the carbon cycle, soils and vegetation, the cryosphere, earth history, biodiversity and global warming.

Teaching Materials:

There is no text for the class, however, a collection of selected readings was available for purchase. Readings are listed under the lecture schedule.

Powerpoint slides used in several lecture sessions are available on the website under Lectures. Laboratory handouts and worksheets are available under Labs.


  • Labs (including Table Topics and Group Evaluation) 40%
  • Final Exam 30%
  • Student Group Presentation 30%

References and Notes: