The Earth System

This course will develop student understanding of key components of the Earth system, as well as past and future variability. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, global energy balance, atmospheric circulation, surface winds and ocean circulation, deep-sea thermohaline circulation, Holocene climate, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, projections of future atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse-gas concentrations, and the effects of climate change on marine environments. Hands-on exercises using predictions of the latest atmosphere-ocean coupled general circulation models will be employed to assess how climate change affects oceanic environments, e.g., based upon IPCC future climate change scenarios and past climate records. This course is open to any student, while it mainly targets marine science students. Basic mathematical knowledge (calculus) will be required. Students are expected to apply the skills they acquire in this class to their own marine biological and/or ecological studies to describe the influence of climate change on ocean environments quantitatively, and also to discuss potential outcomes for marine ecosystems on which their own research is focused.

For the project, students will analyze predictions of CMIP (Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project) models to assess the effects of climate change on marine environments, and write a brief report (a few pages) including some figures.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

B28 Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Problems  and/or A104 Vector and Tensor Calculus