GEOS 255
Environmental Observation Fall 2024
Division III
Cross-listed ENVI 255

Class Details

To study the environment, we need to observe and measure it. We collect data–numbers that represent system states–and analyze them to create understanding of the world we live in. Advances in technology create more opportunities to discover how the planet works. Through a survey of observational approaches (including weather stations, direct sampling, remote sensing, community-based monitoring, and other techniques), this course will investigate the process of turning a physical property in the environment into a number on a computer and then into meaningful information. We will explore both direct field measurements and remote sensing techniques, diving into how to choose the appropriate sensor for a scientific question, how sensors work, analysis approaches and statistical methods, and how to interpret the resulting data. We will also learn how to mitigate measurement bias through a combination of lab experiments and field work and how to make interpretations of measurements that accurately reflect what is being measured. The course will focus on the near-surface environment, including the atmosphere, water, and biosphere. Students will carry out a research project using observation techniques covered in class to explore a scientific question of interest. This course is in the Oceans and Climate group for the Geosciences major.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory
Limit: 20
Expected: 10
Class#: 1185
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly labs, four quizzes, and a final project
Prerequisites: at least one prior course in GEOS or ENVI
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores, then GEOS majors
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GEOS 255 Division III ENVI 255 Division III
Attributes: ENVI Natural World Electives
EXPE Experiential Education Courses
GEOS Group A Electives - Climate + Oceans

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