Causes and Consequences of Global Change

Spring 2017

Lecture Meetings: Mondays and Wednesdays, Atlantic (was: CSS) 2324, 12-12:50p.

Section meetings: Fridays, PLS 1164 or 1172, are listed by section here.

Course FAQ is here.
The Earth at Night
last updated April 21, 2017
(please reload or refresh this page for updates as the semester progresses)

Teaching Team
Course Materials
ELMS Important Dates


Following an exposition of the major components of Earth's climate system (energy, circulation, moisture, carbon and  interactions), we will review the science of climate change, including principal evidence and leading uncertainties.  We will then discuss strategies by which individuals, nations and the global community may mitigate, adapt and develop resilience to forecasted climate change in the 21st century.

This is an I-series course and may be part of the general education portion of your degree program.

Specific learning goals: by the end of the semester, students should be able to:

Teaching Team


Teaching Assistants:

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These will be held on Fridays (see table below for meeting times and locations, and/or check Testudo AOSC123 and GEOL123 listings).  As a semester-long theme, each student in the course will be assigned a unique country on which to focus for the semester.  Individually and on a week-by-week basis, you will develop a country-level perspective on climate change issues.  By discussing your results in section, we will get a global sense of the similarities and differences facing the world as it confronts climate change in the 21st century, and prepare, as a class (and the "World") for developing a global climate change action plan that recognizes key vulnerabilities and proposes useful adaptation and/or mitigation strategies.  

Section format:

Fri, 9-9:50a
1164 Plant Sciences
Fri, 10-10:50a
1164 Plant Sciences
Fri, 11-11:50a
1164 Plant Sciences Zhelezinskaia
Fri, 9-9:50a 1172 Plant Sciences Hembeck
Fri, 10-10:50a
1172 Plant Sciences
Fri, 11-11:50a
1172 Plant Sciences

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Course Materials

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Course Specific Policies

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Course Related Policies (from the Office of Student Affairs)

Information about your University-wide rights and responsibilities, including information on:

A single downloadable pdf of course related policies from the Office of Student Affairs is available here.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Schedule (subject to revision and update)

Jump to:
Part 1: The Climate System Part 2: Climate Change
Part 3: Consequences
Week of:
Friday Section Topic
Jan 25
Introduction and Overview Homework 1: How reliable is that internet resource?
Part 1: The Climate System
Jan 30/Feb 1
2 & 3
Radiation Balance
Homework 2: Where in the World is...?
Feb 6/8
4 & 5
Atmosphere and Ocean Circulation
Homework 3: Name that climate
Feb 13/15
6 & 7
Water in the Climate System
Homework 4: How variable is that climate?
Feb 20/22
8 & 9
Carbon in the Climate System
Homework 5: My country, my carbon
Feb 27/Mar 1
10 & 11
Climate System Interactions
Homework 6: What's your carbon footprint?
Mar 6
no lecture meeting on Mar 8
Review; online Midterm Exam open Mar 7 1pm through Mar 9th 12:59pm EST, inclusive.  Practice Midterm Exam open Friday Mar 3 1pm - Sunday Mar 5 12:59p EST inclusive Discussion of exam solutions at section meetings
Part 2: Climate Change
Mar 13/15
13 & 14
The geologic record of climate change
no homework or discussion section meetings this week
Mar 19-26
Spring Break - no class or section meetings
Mar 27/29 15 & 16
The past century
Homework 7.  Where's my climate been?
Apr 3/5 17 & 18
The next century

Homework 8.  Where's my climate headed?
Part 3: Consequences of Climate Change
Apr 10/12 19 & 20
Homework 9.  How will climate change affect my country?
Apr 17/19 21 & 22
Homework 10.  Climate Change Mitigation: What's your strategy?
Apr 24/26 23 & 24
Adaptation and Resilience

Homework 11.  Now, later or never?  Costs and benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation
May 1/3
25 & 26
Grand Review and Practice Final Exam; Q&A
Homework 12.  Global Change Action Plan.
May 8/10
Reading Day, May 12

A Global Climate Change Action Plan (Mon); Review session (Weds); practice final exam available
no section meeting 5/12
May 16-18

Final Exam open 10:01am May 16 through 10:00am May 18th, inclusive

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