Physics 140
The Greenhouse Effect

Spring 2017
Mondays, Wednesdays 3:20 - 4:40 p.m.
Tillett 204

Course Instructor: Prof. Roy J. Montalvo
Office Hour: Wednesdays Noon - 1:00PM
Office: Serin Physics Bldg. 204W

Overview:  In this class, we'll discuss the basics of the greenhouse effect for a non-technical audience.  A key goal of the course is that the students develop the energy literacy and quantitative dexterity necessary to evaluate for themselves arguments presented in public policy discussions of global warming and climate change.   We will take advantage of our Active Learning Classroom setting to encourage group interdisciplinary discussions, problem-solving and guessestimation exercises whenever possible.

Course Texbooks:  D. Archer,  Global Warming:  Understanding the Forecast (2nd Edition), (John Wiley and Sons, 2011),
                                B. Richter,  Beyond Smoke and Mirrors:  Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century
                                                        2nd Edition), 
(Cambridge University Press, 2014) 
J. Rockstrom and M. Klum, Big World Small Planet, (Yale University Press, 2015)

Iclickers:                i>clicker+


Week of
Jan. 15


Jan. 22

Energy and Power



Energy and Power

Heat and Light

Jan. 29

Energy and Power

Energy vs. Power

Energy and Power

Light and Blackbody Radiation

Feb. 5

Energy and Power

Chasing Ice

Energy and Power

A Simple Climate Model
Feb. 12

Energy and Power

More on a Simple Climate Model

Energy and Power

Greenhouse Gases:  Which Ones are They?

Feb. 19
Energy and Power

How can a Gallon of Gasoline
Produce 20 lbs of CO2?

Energy and Power

More about Energy Consumption
and Conversion

Feb. 26

Energy and Power

Review for First Hour Exam

First In-Class Exam

March 5

Global Warming

The Climate Doubters

                         Global Warming     

                        The Carbon Cycle              

March 12

Spring Break!

Spring Break!

March 19

Global Warming

Land and Sea Ice in Antartica

Global Warming

Weather and Climate

March 26

Global Warming

Radiative Forcing

Global Warming

2 Degree C Goal

April 2

Global Warming

Our Carbon Budget

Global Warming

   Our Carbon Reserves

April 9

Decisions, Decisions

Tragedy of the Commons
and the
Kaya Equation

Decisions, Decisions

Stabilization Wedges

April 16

Decisions, Decisions

Review for the
Second Common Hour Exam

Second In-Class  Exam

April 23

Decisions, Decisions

Can Technology Save Us from Climate Change?


Decisions, Decisions

What We as Individuals Can Do

April 30

Decisions, Decisions

Review for Final Exam

(Reading Period)

May 7


                         Final Exam

May , 2018

Course Notes

There will be regular homework assignments.

Supplementary material to the main texts will be accessible on the course website.


Breakdown of Grades





                 First  Hour Exam


                Second Hour Exam


                    Final Exam 

The lowest homework and I-clicker grades will be dropped.

Class participation is greatly encouraged and could
contribute positively towards the final grade.

Special Announcements

Welcome to Physics 140 !!

Please procure the three course textbooks and an iclicker!

For Special Permission Requests please go to

though I should warn you that our class size is limited by the room capacity.


Please go to

for statements about Academic Integrity and information for Students with Disabilities respectively.