GEOL 351: Climate Systems

Climate Systems – GEOL 351
Fall 2015

T-Th 3:30 – 4:50pm

Is Earth’s climate near a tipping point? Are we pushing our planet beyond its carrying capacity? How large and how fast can climate changes be, and what are their governing principles? How are human activities disrupting climate systems, and what are the likely effects?

This upper-level course provides a modular set of lectures and laboratory sessions aimed at teaching system-level behavior of climate systems and the Earth’s outer fluid envelopes. It emphasizes climate dynamics and climate-related geosystems in a context that social scientists, business leaders, or non-geology geeks might find applicable. The course introduces geosystems and system behavior, non-linear dynamics, chaos, complexity theory, and will also include a set of 4 modules including: the thermohaline circulation and the global ocean carbon cycle; multiple climate equilibria and energy balance models; climate dynamics and feedbacks; carbon sequestration and ocean acidification system behavior and feedbacks. The final lectures will present civilization viewed as a geosystem. This is a mid-level Earth Sciences class, developed with the new Climate Resiliency & Stewardship Minor target audience in mind—Economics/IR/PoliSci/Psych/ENST/other majors interested in the relationship between climate systems and their main field, where complex systems behavior is also at play.


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