CLIM 690   Scientific Basis of Climate Change

Dr. Jim Kinter (ikinter at gmu dot edu), 284 Research Hall
Dr. J. Shukla (jshukla at gmu dot edu), 105 Research Hall

Complete Syllabus (Spring 2014)

Thursdays, 4:30-7:10pm, Innovation Hall 338

Goals of Course
This graduate course will survey the scientific issues associated with global climate change. The course will examine physical phenomena that determine the Earth's climate, its variability, and how it changes in response to changes in the external influences and the composition of the atmosphere. The course will cover the latest available scientific information about global climate change, using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report as a primary source. The variability and change observed over the past 150 years and projected by climate model simulations for the next century will be the main focus, although some attention will be paid to climates of the distant past (paleoclimate).

This class will discuss:

Student Presentations
In addition to participating in class lectures and discussions, students will have the opportunity to do some research on recent findings in climate change. Each student will give a brief presentation that contains a summary of a selected paper from the current scientific literature and may also include an analysis of observational data and climate model output. One set of student presentations will be before the midterm and the second set will be after the midterm. A list of possible topics/papers from which students may choose will be made available for each half of the semester.

The presentations should include, as appropriate:

Lecture Notes
(N.B. Lecture notes will be posted as they become available. The order and titles of lectures may depart from the listing shown.)

  1. Introductory Lecture
  2. Observed Changes in the Oceans and Cryosphere
  3. Observed Changes in the Atmosphere
  4. Observed Changes in Atmospheric Composition
  5. The Greenhouse Effect
  6. Radiative Forcing Since 1750
  7. Understanding and Attributing Climate Change
  8. Paleoclimate
  9. Climate Sensitivity
  10. Evaluating Climate Models
  11. Near-Term Climate Change Projections
  12. Long-Term Climate Change Projections & Sea Level Change
  13. Climate Phenomena & Atlas of Climate Change Projections

Problem Sets

  1. Problem Set 1
  2. Problem Set 2

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Last modified: January 2016