Key to Grading

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Key to Grading

  • 1) Vague (a text that is so general it has little to no information)
  • “Incredible discoveries from outer space have led to further investigations.”
  • 2) Use active voice (a.v.)
  • “Brown and Smith have done research, which is about the cloning of humans.”
  • 3) Problem with Sentence Structure (s.s.)
  • ambiguity: “The average American emits 49 tons of greenhouse gases each year.”
  • Regarding the effects of acid rain on trees and buildings:
  • “Buildings are not as life threatening as trees and water may be.”
  • 4) Bad choice of words (w/c)
  • thing, believe, issue
  • 5) Incorrect verb tense (tense)
  • 6) Repetition of words, phrases or information.
  • “… helps enable …”
  • “The moon, a place that was once only dreamed of reaching, became a reality in 1969 when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon”
  • 7) Good intention, bad execution (gibe)
  • “They often will not think of a product in a positive light – such as that BMW believes consumers to be intelligent enough to learn now to use such a perplexing vehicle, but instead that the company is playing a cruel joke on the consumer and insulting their intelligence by making such a complicated car.” (monstrous runon)
  • 8) Don’t use the word “thing” readily. It is too common and has too broad a significance, causing the reader’s mind to wander.
  • “The brain is the most complex and compelling thing in our bodies.”
  • 9) Repeating unnecessary words, verbigeration (ver, wordy)
  • “ … really truly …” , “absolutely essential”
  • “… research done in the area of neurodegenerative diseases…”
  • 10) Colloquialisms (pop)
  • “all sorts of things”
  • “acid rain gets into”
  • “…wanna…gonna…”
  • “this means that”
  • 11) Phrase that dangles at the end of a paragraph (dangle)
  • 12) An obvious point or unnecessary sentence (n..n.)
  • 13) A sentence with too little information. (nei)
  • 14) Unorganized paragraphs (ps)

Writing Skills

  • Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.
  • Sholem Asch
  • The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Writing Skills

  • Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.
  • Sholem Asch
  • The most valuable of all talents is that of nNever useing two words when one will do.
  • Thomas Jefferson

A Few of the Topics

  • Global Warming
  • Mars Missions
  • Stem cells
  • Cloning
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Small Cars
  • Obesity
  • Platypuses
  • Rubber


  • Notable Title:
  • If You Give (a) Mouse a Stem Cell…
  • Notable Quote:
  • The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the decease.
  • Voltaire (1694-1778)
  • Notable First Sentence:
  • Gregory Cochran, a professor at the University of Utah already deemed controversial for this “pathogentic theory of homosexuality” has produced another controversial hypothesis regarding Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence and natural selection (Haslinger)*
  • Notable words:
  • debunk, fetters
  • * Compare this to another year’s winner: “A person dies of suicide every 18 minutes [in the United States]”


  • Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.
  • Make an appointment at the Writing Resource Center, Bear Down Building, east side, Room 102. 9 AM-4 PM Monday-Friday
  • Practice. Read. Repeat.

Most Common Mistakes

  • Disorganization. (p.s.) Make an outline. Make conscious decisions about the ordering of your main points.
  • Vague sentences. (vague) Be precise and specific. Educate the reader, and thereby obtain their trust. Example: A person dies of suicide every 18 minutes in the [United States] …
  • Word Choice. Use a broad range of words. Use them correctly.
  • Repetitiveness. (rep) Do not repeat. It bores the reader.
  • Useless (n.n.) Each sentence must add something essential to your essay.
  • Deranged Sentences (s.s.) Ensure that sentences are clear The average American emits 49 tons of greenhouse gases each year and grammatically correct. Do not tax the brain of your reader. Example: Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.*
  • Not precise, not concrete: if a gecko used all of its setae, microscopic hairs on the bottom of its feet, at the same time, it could support over 280 pounds.

On Being Personal

  • Bad example: “I feel like black holes are really interesting. I really liked the article.”
  • Good example: “It is not easy for me to pass these people without being concerned; they look so fragile and helpless, even though they always make an effort to look strong. Or, maybe they are strong, in a way that we cannot be aware of; after all, it is no easy task to live without your arms or legs….”
  • Good example: “As you are reading this, over four thousand patients are on a waiting list for a heart transplant.”

Superfluous Modifiers

  • Bad Example: “Greenhouse gases are potentially dangerous.”
  • Bad Example: “Globular clusters are a very important element of galactic structure.”
  • Words to use with care: truly, really, very

Use Active Voice Avoid over use of the verb “to be.”

  • Bad Example: “The walls were covered with Geckos.”
  • Better: “Geckos covered the walls.”
  • Bad Example: “The reason that he dropped the course was because of poor grades.”
  • Better: “His bad grades compelled him to drop the course.”
  • Bad Example: “Several investigations that have been carried out show that dolphins will someday rule the world.”
  • Better: “Several investigations find that dolphins will someday rule the world.

Use a range of words

  • Show
  • Reveal, unveil, disclose
  • Interesting
  • Compelling, fascinating, riveting, unbelievable
  • Use the verb “to be” sparingly.

Needless Words – Delete them.

  • Bad Example: “Owing to the fact that the sun is hot, it glows brightly.”
  • Better: “The sun glows brightly because it is hot.”
  • Bad Example: “The question as to whether she is correct, will be proved by observations.”
  • Better: “Whether she is correct will be proved by observations.”
  • Note: You do not have to write “Whether or not” in the sentence above.

Topic: Global Warming Science & Society

  • Today’s Lecture includes:
  • Why no life on Venus?
  • Are we affecting Earth?
  • Saucy political intrigue.
  • NEWS: later

Spectrum of Thermal Radiation

  • The peak of the curve is determined by Wein’s law.
  • (m) = 0.003 / T(K)
  • The area under the curve is determined by the Stefan-Boltzmann law.
  • P = T4
  •  = 5.6710-8 W m-2 K-4
  • The power emitted per unit area, per unit wavelength of warm bodies has a characteristic shape.

The Temperature of Earth

  • The Earth emits as much radiant energy as it absorbs from the Sun. Let’s estimate the temperature of the Earth!
  • The average intensity of sunlight at the Earth is 342 Watts m-2. The Earth absorbs about 69% of this and reflects the rest back to space.
  • The Earth must therefore emit this much power. The power radiated by the Earth is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann law.
  • This corresponds to -19° C, or -3° F, about 35°C colder than the average temperature on Earth.
  • Absorbed = Emitted power
  • Energy In
  • 235 W/m2
  • Energy out
  • 235 W/m2

The Temperature of Venus

  • The intensity of sunlight at Venus is 654 Watts m-2 (about twice that at Earth); however, Venus has a thicker cloud cover and absorbs only about 35% of the incident sunlight.
  • The temperature at the surface of Venus is 730 Kelvins. Our estimate is way off.
  • Energy In
  • 229 W/m2
  • Energy out
  • 229 W/m2

Power balance

  • Our atmosphere is transparent to visible light.
  • Sunlight reaches Earth’s surface with only some obstruction from clouds and dust.
  • Sunlight is absorbed by the surface, making it warmer.
  • The surface emits infrared radiation.
  • Visible Sunlight
  • Infrared Radiation
  • On average, the power absorbed from the Sun must equal the power radiated by the surface.

The Greenhouse Effect

  • Radiation emitted by the surface is absorbed in the atmosphere.
  • Some of the re-radiated radiation goes up, and some goes down.
  • This secondary radiation can be reabsorbed by the surface, raising its temperature.

What does this have to do with a Greenhouse?

Summary: The Greenhouse Effect

  • The greenhouse effect is a natural part of our environment, keeping Earth warm & comfortable.
  • The addition of greenhouse gases renders Earth more absorbing to IR radiation.
  • The more effective our atmosphere is at absorbing IR radiation, the hotter it will become.
  • The addition of gases such as CO2, H2O, CH4, CO cause the Earth to warm up.

Why the Difference between Earth and Venus?

  • The greenhouse effect occurs when an atmosphere is transparent to visible radiation, but opaque to infrared radiation.
  • The Earth’s atmosphere absorbs only a little of the infrared radiation emitted by the surface; the atmosphere is slightly opaque.
  • Venus’ atmosphere absorbs all of the infrared radiation emitted by the surface; the atmosphere is very opaque.
  • Venus has a large greenhouse effect.
  • The Earth has a small greenhouse effect.
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Surface Pressure
  • 92 bar
  • 1 bar
  • Surface Temperature
  • 735 K (872 F)*
  • 288 K (59 F)
  • Bulk Density (g/cm3)
  • 5.245
  • 5.512
  • Radius (km)
  • 6052
  • 6378
  • N2
  • 3.5%
  • 78%
  • CO2
  • 96.5%
  • 0.038%
  • * Hot enough to melt lead

Runaway Greenhouse

Runaway Greenhouse: Recipe*

  • Heat Earth with CO2 , H20 evaporates.
  • Water further heats Earth.
  • More water then evaporates.
  • This causes more heating.
  • More water evaporates.
  • And so on.
  • * Easier than instant pudding

Absorbers in our Atmosphere

  • Earth emits much of its radiation here. CO2 and H2O are the most important greenhouse gases.

The Increase in CO2

Emission of CO2

  • 40% of all petroleum is expended by transportation

Measuring Earth’s temperature

  • Thousands of thermometers on weather stations & ships
  • Satellite microwave emission from O2 (lower 5 km)
  • Measure change of temperature with height. Greenhouse warming causes the lower 5-10 km to heat and above to cool.
  • Make measurements throughout the day, everyday.
  • Isotopic composition in ice cores (Past climate)
  • Coral growth (Past climate)
  • Tree ring widths. (Past climate)
  • Human records, e.g. the freezing of the Thames (London).
  • Date by counting layers, Volcanic eruptions…
  • Colder temperatures: lighter H & O isotopes
  • (for which H2O has a higher vapor pressure).
  • Harvard Research

Evidence that Earth is warming

  • Reconstruction of the Northern Hemisphere temperatures coral and ice-core proxy records (Mann et al. 1999, 1998, Jones & Briff 1992)

Rising Ocean temperatures

  • The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans have warmed by 0.06 C in since 1955 (Science, 24 March 2000, pg 2225). This result was determined by compiling millions of measurements of the deep oceans made from 1948 to 1995.
  • More recently (Science, 13 April 2001), climate calculations indicate that the anthropogenic rise in CO2 explains this sea warming.
  • Coral reefs are dying all around the world, likely as a result of the warming of the oceans.

Increasing Melt Area on Greenland

  • 2002 all-time record melt area
  • Melting up to elevation of 2000 m
  • 16% increase from 1979 to 2002
  • 70 meters thinning in 5 years
  • Satellite-era record melt of 2002 was exceeded in 2005.
  • Source: Waleed Abdalati, Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Melt descending
  • into a moulin,
  • a vertical shaft
  • carrying water
  • to ice sheet base.
  • From Jim Hansen
  • From Jim Hansen
  • Jakobshavn Ice Stream in Greenland
  • Discharge from major Greenland ice streams
  • is accelerating markedly.
  • Source: Prof. Konrad Steffen, Univ. of Colorado
  • Greenland’s largest outlet glacier, drains 6.5% of the ice sheet.
  • Doubling of flow speed from 1997 to 2003.
  • Complete melting would raise sea level by 7 meters.

Melting Polar Ice

  • The northeast passage is predicted to open up in 2050, allowing ships to sail from London to Japan along the coast of Siberia.
  • Increasingly higher number of Polar Bears drowning. (Science 2007)

Sea levels are rising

  • Present predictions based on glacial melt rates indicate that the sea level will rise 10-20 inches in the next century. Rate of rise is 0.1 inch since 1993 (NASA).
  • Melt all of the ice sheets: 70 m increase in sea level (above scale in meters)
  • Beijing
  • Bangladesh
  • New York
  • Washington

Global Warming?

  • Earth has warmed 1° F in the last century
  • The CO2 abundance has risen by 20% since 1950.
  • The oceans have warmed 0.06 C since 1955.
  • The sea level is rising 0.1 inches each year.

Global Warming & Society

Kyoto Protocol

  • In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was formulated.
  • The treaty calls for the 38 largest industrial nations to reduce emissions due to greenhouse gases.
  • But the Protocol would not take effect until it is ratified by the nations emitting at least 55% of the greenhouse gases.
  • In March of 2001, the USA rejected the Protocol on the grounds that it would hurt the economy.
  • The USA, with 4% of the world population, produces 25% of the greenhouse gases. The protocol would require the USA to reduce the emissions by 7% by 2010.
  • In June 2002, the European Union and many other countries, including Japan, proceeded to ratify the Protocol, without the USA. The union of countries produce almost 55% of the greenhouse gases.
  • USA consumes 25% of the World’s Oil
  • USA has 4.5% of the World Population

Paris vs Tucson

  • 1960 metro stops in Paris!


The European Union's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is a clear indication that, with enough political will and collective social effort, the challenges of our time, complex though they may be, can be addressed successfully through ... cooperation. -- Environment Commissioner to the EU, Margot Wallstrom

Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol

Another Way to Look at it

  • Wavelength (microns)
  • CO2
  • H2O
  • The presence of clouds, which reflect sunlight and therefore cool the planet add to the uncertainties in the ability for climate models to predict the future climate of Earth.
  • Ice Age Forcings
  • Imply Global Climate Sensitivity
  • ~ 1-0.5°C per W/m2.
  • Source: Hansen et al., Natl. Geogr. Res. & Explor., 9, 141, 1993.

  • Country
  • Pop (M)
  • BTU/capita
  • GNP/capita
  • USA
  • 267
  • 327
  • 26,026
  • France
  • 58
  • 147
  • 26,437
  • Germany
  • 82
  • 157
  • 29,607
  • Japan
  • 125
  • 142
  • 40,846
  • Mexico
  • 91
  • 57
  • 2,743
  • Brazil
  • 159
  • 25
  • 4,327
  • India
  • 929
  • 11
  • 349
  • China
  • 1,220
  • 27
  • 572
  • Egypt
  • 62
  • 21
  • 763
  • Turkey
  • 61
  • 33
  • 2,707
  • World Energy Consumption 1995


  • Energy
  • Cents per kilowatt-hour
  • Hydropower
  • 0.7
  • Wind
  • 2.5
  • Natural gas
  • 4
  • Nuclear
  • 6
  • Geothermal power
  • 7
  • Solar
  • 15
  • Iraq

Summary of the Earth’s Power Budget

  • 58% reaches Surface
  • IR radiation from Earth
  • Greenhouse Effect

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