Climate 101 – videos

A series of videos intended for individuals wanting to build a deeper understanding of climate science. The videos are adapted from a university course at San Jose State University taught by Professor Richard Sedlock for students without a science or math background. A content list is included that describes the various topics discussed in each video.

  • Introduction to Earth’s Climate System

    Play Video (14:33) This episode defines climate and weather, and provides a brief introduction to climate change. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 2:55 – Difference between climate and weather – Why is climate so difficult to understand? 2:56 – 6:07 – How climate changes naturally (e.g. ice ages) – How humans have changed land…

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  • Complex Systems and Feedbacks

    Play Video (19:16) This episode investigates systems and feedbacks to understand how climate operates. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 3:28 – What is a complex system? – Linear vs non-linear 3:29 – 8:53 – Equilibrium and stability 8:54 – 12:17 – Feedbacks (positive and negative) – Examples of feedbacks 12:18 – 19:10 (end) –…

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  • The Sun, Energy & Radiation

    Play Video (13:22) This episode provides an introduction to the sun, energy and radiation. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 4:00 – The sun (radiation and plasma) – Solar flares 4:01 – 6:44 – Calculation of the time it takes for plasma from the sun to reach the earth – Equation: v = d/t –…

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  • Earth’s Atmosphere

    Play Video (10:13) This episode investigate the composition of the atmosphere, its layers: troposphere and stratosphere, and how they make life in earth possible. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 3:17 – Composition of the earth’s atmosphere – Gases: N2 (78%), O2 (21%), other (1%) – Other gases: CO2, O3, Ne, He, CH4, etc. –…

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  • Earth’s Energy Balance

    Play Video (12:35) This episode examines how the Earth’s atmosphere transmits electromagnetic radiation, and how certain molecules in the atmosphere cause we we call the greenhouse effect. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 0:34: – Introduction 0:35 – 5:07 – Earth’s energy budget – Albedo – Incoming energy balances with outgoing energy at all levels…

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  • Intro to Energy and Energy Resources

    Play Video (4:46) This episode defines energy and introduces the different energy resources. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 0:26: – Introduction 0:27 – 4:46 (end) – Definition of energy – Different kinds of energy – Energy transformations – Efficiency – Energy resources are found in all spheres of the earth (geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere,…

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  • Earth’s Carbon Cycle

    Play Video (11:44) This episode investigates the Earth’s carbon cycle, and how it has been affected by human activities. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 3:47 – What is carbon? – Reservoirs (pools and sinks) – Flux (transfer, processes) – 3 key fluxes: photosynthesis, respiration, combustion 3:48 – 7:58 – Carbon cycle diagrams – Reservoirs…

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  • Climate Controls: Regional Variations

    Play Video (12:39) This episode examines factors that affect regional climate, including altitude, latitude, mountains, proximity to oceans, axial tilts and pressure systems. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 1:05 – Earth’s climate system: the major players – Fundamental controls of regional climate 1:06 – 4:28 – Axial tilt – Sun angle and insolation –…

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  • Climate Controls: External Forcings

    Play Video (18:47) This episode examines factors that affect regional climate, including altitude, latitude, mountains, proximity to oceans, axial tilts and pressure systems. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 0:15 – Introduction 0:16 – 1:54 – Global factors that affect climate – External or internal factors? Can these be affected by humans? – Solar variations…

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  • Climate Controls: Internal Forcings – Oceans

    Play Video (20:51) This episode explores the role of the ocean on the global climate, including ocean composition and circulation patterns. Topics covered in this video: 0:00 – 2:41: – Introduction and Terminology – Ocean composition and circulation: internal factors that humans can influence – The Oceans: names and locations – Antarctica and its ice 2:42…

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