The Climate System
The Earth’s climate system is complex and dynamic, and a solid understanding of this system is crucial in order to address concerns about human influences on climate. In this course we examine the basic physical and chemical processes that control the modern climate system, including the role of incoming solar radiation, the greenhouse effect, ocean and atmospheric circulation, and El Niño. We also look at the methods and archives used to reconstruct climate in the past. We explore the possible effects of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans on modern and future climate by examining the models used in climate prediction, and discuss the challenges of modeling such a complex system. Although this course is taught from a primarily scientific perspective, it includes discussions of the roles policy and economics play in the current dialogue on global climate change. Finally, we look at some of the local impacts of climate change and preparedness planning for New York City.
Course Code: RS 201j