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Assignment: The Science of Global Warming

Rick Perry, a Texas governor, says that climate change is non-existent and that more and more scientists are challenging the claim that human activity has resulted in global warming (“Perry’s Global Warming Statements,” 2011). Actor Danny Glover blames the 2010 Haiti earthquake on global warming and criticizes a climate summit in Copenhagen for failing to create a significant response to the perils of climate change (Brent, 2010). Politicians, actors, and many other public figures make science-related statements. How do you know which statements are truly based in science, and which are not?

Last week, you explored the nature of science and learned about the scientific method. Knowing the fundamentals of the scientific process helps you to evaluate science-related information. Obtaining information from reliable scientific sources—which may not always be a politician or celebrity—is also critical.

For this week’s Assignment, you respond to a scenario that requires you to identify and analyze scientific facts about global warming. You also describe the carbon cycle processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and relate these to global warming.

References: Brent, B. (2010, January 16). Actor Danny Glover blames global warming for Haiti earthquake [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-baker/2010/01/16/actor-danny-glover-blames-global-warming-haiti-earthquake

Hearst Communications Inc. (2011). Perry’s global warming statements put politics over science [Online article]. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Ignoring-the-heat-2134114.php

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review Section 4.2 Cellular Respiration (pp. 72-78) in Chapter 4 “Body Weight and Health”in Biology: Science for Life, and focus on the following:
    • How cellular respiration occurs
    • How cellular respiration supports the life of an organism
    • What ATP is and how it functions in cellular respiration
  • Review Chapter 5, “Life in the Greenhouse” in Biology: Science for Life, and focus on the following:
    • What global warming is
    • How global warming is related to the carbon cycle
    • How photosynthesis occurs
    • How photosynthesis supports the life of an organism
    • How photosynthesis compares and contrasts with cellular respiration
  • Log on to MasteringBiology (see the Media section of the Required Resources) to view the following BioFlix animations:
    • Cellular Respiration (approximate length: 4 ½ minutes)
    • Focus on the series of events that occur within the animal cell to provide energy for the cell.
    • Photosynthesis (approximate length: 4 ½ minutes)
    • Focus on the series of events that occur within the plant cell to provide energy for the cell.
  • Conduct additional research to identify scientific facts about global warming. (The Optional Resources section lists articles and websites where you could start your research.)
    • One fact should address the change in atmospheric CO2. For this information, refer to the article “Past Climate Change” listed in the Required Resources section.
  • Consider this scenario:

You are a participant in a city council debate about global warming. During the debate, council members make conflicting statements about climate change, and most members are unsure about the sources of their information. The city council members realize that they do not have the scientific facts on global warming. You have been selected to conduct research on this topic and submit a report that includes these scientific facts. The council also wants you to explain the carbon cycle and how it relates to global warming.

The Assignment:

Write a report of two or more pages that presents the scientific facts about global warming and explains what the carbon cycle is and how it relates to global warming. Your report should address the following:

Part 1: The Carbon Cycle
Compare and contrast photosynthesis and cellular respiration by answering the following questions:

  • How are cellular respiration and photosynthesis alike?
  • How are cellular respiration and photosynthesis different?
  • Why are these two processes interdependent?

Part 2: Scientific Facts About Global Warming
Identify at least three scientific facts related to global warming that include:

  1. How atmospheric CO2 has changed over the last 650,000 years and since the Industrial Revolution (1850)
  2. How scientists measure CO2 levels
  3. At least two of the primary factors thought to be involved in the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 levels since the Industrial Revolution

Part 3: How the Carbon Cycle Relates to Global Warming
Explain how the carbon cycle relates to global warming, describing at least two implications of climate change for biological systems.

Be sure to cite all references in APA format.

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources and include science-related terms from the Learning Resources in your Assignment. Your writing should provide evidence that you understand the terms you include.

Questions about this Assignment? Post the questions in the Contact the Instructor area,so all class members may benefit from the Instructor’s response.

Refer to the Week 2 Assignment Rubric for grading details.

By Day 7

Following the instructions below, submit your Assignment. In order to receive full credit, all assignments are due on time. Should you encounter an unanticipated and uncontrollable life event that may prevent you from meeting an assignment deadline, contact the Instructor immediately to request an extension. Contact information for your Instructor can be found under the Contact the Instructor area. For a full description of the late policy, please refer to the “Policies on Late Assignments” section of your Syllabus.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 2 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 2 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.

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