EV 128 | Intro to Global Climate Change

The goal of this course is to give you a solid, scientific understanding of how the climate system operates and how and why climate change occurs. You will learn about climate from a whole-earth point of view that takes into account interactions between the atmosphere, terrestrial biosphere, cryosphere, and oceans.

jurys_out_xmasA major focus of study will be current climate change and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. In addition, we will consider historical climate change, natural climate variability, and the impacts of these changes on ancient societies and ecosystems.  We expect you to leave this class better prepared to make day-to-day decisions based on sound understanding, accurate information, and reasonable conjectures, regardless of the exact career path that you take.  You can expect to learn the following things:

  • What the term ‘climate’ refers to and how it varies spatially
  • What factors influence climate at any one place
  • How climate impacts other aspects of the surface environment (e.g. processes of the terrestrial and marine hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and biosphere = ‘critical zone’) & the ability of humans to utilize this environment (e.g. live, farm or otherwise occupy it)
  • What the possible causes of climate change are over time
  • Examples of climate change in the past & our current ‘climate context’
  • How humans have responded to climate change in the past
  • Climate change and associated impacts in the immediate future & possible human responses