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The Earth’s climate system is often described in terms of its spheres: the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, oceans, and the cryosphere. The cryosphere is the naturally occurring ice on Earth in all its many forms: snow, glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, frozen lakes and rivers, and permafrost (frozen soil). These parts of the climate system may seem remote, but have implications for climate and weather around the world: changes in Arctic sea ice cover accelerate climate change in the north, resulting in the increased frequency of Polar Vortex events that send frigid temperatures down as far as the southern US. Melting glaciers and ice sheets have already contributed to sea level rise, and are projected to do so even more in the future. This course will explore the cryosphere, including snow, sea ice, permafrost, and glaciers. A week-long field trip to Alaska during spring break provides boots-on-the-snow experience with the cryosphere and launches final projects. As a 400-level seminar, this capstone course is intended to build on and extend knowledge and skills students have developed during previous courses in the major.
Format: lecture/laboratory; A spring break trip to Alaska to study the cryosphere
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Evaluation will be based on short papers, labs, and a research project
GEOS 215 or GEOS 255 or GEOS 309 or MAST 311 or permission of instructor
Senior geoscience majors, then junior majors, students who commit to the spring break trip
As a 400-level seminar, this capstone course is intended to build on and extend knowledge and skills students have developed during previous courses in the major
None. Transportation, accommodation and meals for the field expedition will be fully covered by the college.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI Natural World Electives