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The first problem in this assignment is the culmination of the unit on energy balance and greenhouse gases. The students have already calculated blackbody temperatures as a function of albedo, sun's luminosity and distance from sun. They have also already calculated the magnitude of the greenhouse effect (optical thickness) of the modern atmosphere. In this first problem, the students apply these same calculations to the Faint Young Sun hypothesis and infer what can account for the geological evidence for liquid water on earth since 4.3 Ga. The second problem follows an introductory lecture on radiometric decay and radiometric dating. The students have seen the decay equation and learned what are decay constants and stable versus radioactive isotopes. In this problem, the students apply these concepts to radiocarbon.
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