GEOS 215
Climate Changes Spring 2023
Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Cross-listed ENVI 215 / GEOS 215

Class Details

Paleoclimatology is the reconstruction of past climate variability and the forces that drove the climate changes. The Earth’s climate system is experiencing unprecedented and catastrophic change because of anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases and land use change. Paleoclimatology allows humans to put modern climate changes into the context of the history of this planet, and shows how and why it is unprecedented and catastrophic. Each climate event we study from Earth’s past teaches us lessons on why the climate system responds to anthropogenic perturbations, what climate changes we’re committed to in the future, how long-lasting they will be, and what climate consequences we can avoid if we take action and reduce greenhouse gas emissions sooner. In this course, we will discuss the major mechanisms that cause natural climate variability, how climate of the past is reconstructed, and how climate models are used to test mechanisms that drive climate variation. With these tools, you will analyze and interpret data and model simulations from climate events from Earth’s history, and apply these findings to anthropogenic climate changes happening now and that are projected to happen in the future. Laboratories and homework will emphasize developing problem solving skills as well as sampling and interpreting geological archives of climate change. This course is in the Oceans and Climate group for the Geosciences major.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; This class has three scheduled lectures per week, and one lab meeting per week which will consist of field excursions, lab exercises, problem solving and discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 16
Class#: 3341
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: lab exercises and homework (25%), three quizzes (50%), and a final project (25%)
Prerequisites: 100-level course in GEOS, CHEM, or PHYS or ENVI 102 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Geosciences majors and Environmental Studies majors and concentrators and Maritime Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI 215 Division III GEOS 215 Division III
QFR Notes: Labs and homework include quantitative problem solving, visualization and analysis of quantitative data, and scientific computing with Matlab. No previous programming experience is assumed.
Attributes: ENVI Natural World Electives
EVST Environmental Science
EXPE Experiential Education Courses
GEOS Group A Electives - Climate + Oceans
MAST Interdepartmental Electives

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