Introduction to Climate, ESCI 514 – Spring 2017, syllabus

This class is an introduction to the Earth’s climate system, climate science, and global climate change. The course is partitioned into three broad sections: (1) Climate and Weather, (2) Earth’s Past Climate, and (3) Modern Climate Change. We begin with understanding climate in the context of Earth system science – the interactions among the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and geosphere. We then cover the basics of weather and meteorology, with a focus on the atmosphere. With our solid understanding of Climate and Weather, we dive into Earth’s past climate to understand the natural changes that occurred over thousands to millions of years, without the influence of human activities. We conclude the last third of the semester with the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human activities govern changes in Earth’s climate.


Paleoclimatology, ESCI 765/865 – Spring 2017, syllabus

This course reviews the study of past changes in the Earth’s climate system. Lectures will explore evidence for these changes, techniques used to reconstruct paleoclimates, and hypothesized causes of past climate change. Main topics include astronomical theories of ice ages, geological dating methods, Antarctic and Greenland ice core records, greenhouse gases, marine- and land-based paleoclimate records, and dynamic links between ocean circulation and abrupt climate change. Emphasis is on patterns and causes of climate variability during the Quaternary Period (the last ~2.6 million years), an interval dominated by cycles of global glaciation. Because paleoclimatology is a rapidly expanding field of active research, course material will draw from recent scientific papers to keep pace with the latest findings.


Global Environmental Change, ESCI 405 – Spring 2018, syllabus TBD.