This course examines the physical and chemical processes influencing Earth's climate and the methods for quantifying past and present climate change, Emphasis is placed on understanding the mechanisms of climate change from ice ages through the near future. The evidence of human-caused changes in climate is also discussed. Students with interests in global change and the environment are encouraged to enroll. A background in college science is not required.
Specific topics addressed include: (1) solar radiation and the atmosphere; (2) atmospheric and ocean circulation; (3) methods of quantifying past and present climate change; (4) glaciers and climate change; (5) greenhouse and icehouse Earth; (6) long-term (geologic) and short-term (historical) changes in Earth's climate; and (7) humans and climate change. Students with interests in global change and the environment are encouraged to enroll. Discussion sections will elaborate on lecture topics, have students work with and quantitatively interpret data related to lecture topics, and solve problem sets related to lectures. Textbook: Earth's Climate: Past and Future by William F. Ruddiman, Freeman Press, 2000 (465 pages).
Intended audience: Course will be targeted to non-concentrators, but concentrators are welcome.
Course Requirements: Grades will be based on one mid-term and one final exam, homework problem sets, and discussion section exercises. Students with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to attend. A working knowledge of high school algebra and physical sciences is assumed,
Class Format: 3 hours per week lecture plus 1 hour per week discussion.