2014 spring/summer course offerings that will apply toward a Climate Change Studies minor
Science of Climate Change/Honors, NRSM 291, 3 cr (Natural Resources Science Management). Offered spring. This course provides students with a fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate Earth’s climate. We will explore how these processes have affected Earth’s climate in that past and how they will affect Earth’s climate in the future. The course will discuss the carbon cycle, climate/biology interactions, biodiversity implications, ocean biogeochemical changes, future projections, and uncertainties in the climate system. This Honors course is open to all undergraduates, both science and non-science majors.
Weather and Climate, ERTH 303N 3cr (Earth Systems). Offered spring, online. Same as CCS 303N. Prereq., GEOG 102N or consent of instr. This course covers the origin, composition, structure, and dynamics of the atmosphere, gas and radiation laws, energy budget and balance, weather elements and North American weather systems. By the end of this course, students should be able to describe why we have seasons, understand and evaluate the nightly TV forecast for normal and severe weather, and able to explain basic climate change principles to their friends.
Global Cycles and the Climate System, NRSM 408, 3 cr (Natural Resources Science Management). Offered spring even numbered years. Six elements – carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus make up 95% of the mass of Earth’s biosphere, and provide the biochemical foundation for all of life. The global cycles of these elements in their biological, geological and chemical forms constitute the biogeochemical cycles. Human activities are driving profound changes in these cycles, with potentially devastating effects. Increases in atmospheric CO2, global climate change, increases in the use of inorganic N and P fertilizers, ozone depletion, among others, are all happening at unprecedented rates. In this course, we explore how variations in the availability or utilization of these and other critical Earth elements influences the atmosphere, the oceans, and the terrestrial biosphere including the natural and agricultural ecosystems on which we depend.
Global Change, GEO 482, 3 cr (Geosciences). Offered intermittently. Same as CCS 482. Prereq., consent of instr. Requires solid background in geology, physics, math, and chemistry. Lectures, readings, and discussions on geological and geochemical processes that affect global change using recent literature; carbon dioxide buildup, greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, desertification, ice ages, and other global events. Goals: 1) Learn the theoretical and analytical foundations of climate processes, emphasizing energy balance, energy distribution processes and controls at the planetary scale. 2) Develop the tools to analyze climate data over a range of temporal and spatial scales, from regional historical data to global geologic data. 3) Develop understanding of climate models and simulations from global to regional scale, including the limitations and uncertainties of simulations over short-long temporal scales. 4) Develop an understanding of the primary literature of global change and be able to write and orally present this information.
Ecosystem Climatology, NRSM 491, 3 cr (Natural Resources Science Management). Offered intermittently. Life has evolved on Earth due to its favorable climate conditions, but life has also played an important role in the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and climate. This course will explore the interactions between Earth’s biosphere and atmosphere and how they affect climate over a range of scales. It will focus on the exchange of energy, mass, and important elements between the biosphere and atmosphere and how this exchange can lead to fascinating feedbacks on Earth’s climate system. This course will reintroduce important principles from physics, chemistry and biology in a conceptual framework to elucidate how the biosphere and atmosphere are inextricably linked. Based on this conceptual framework, students will evaluate recent scientific literature and do simple thought experiments to explore Earth’s climate system.
Snow, Ice and Climate, GEO 488, 3 cr (Geosciences). Offered intermittently. Same as CCS 488. Prereq., MATH 100. Study of basic physical processes occurring n snow and ice, and how these processes govern the interaction between frozen water and the climate system. The first half of the course focuses on snow, with special attention to snow formation in the atmosphere, snow metamorphism, water flow through snow, and basic avalanche mechanics. The second half of the course focuses on ice and includes glacier and ice sheet flow dynamics, glacier hydrology, and ice age theory. Graduate students will be required to complete additional problem sets requiring higher level math; perform additional reading assignments; perform at a higher level on assignments and exams where students are asked to outline and describe various physical processes; submit a well-researched and reference research proposal that is able to synthesize previous research and provide a sophisticated research plan.