STIA-312 Atmosphere and Global Change
The three major objectives of this course are to (1) understand the elements of the atmosphere that control local to global scale climate and atmospheric phenomena, (2) understand the atmosphere's links to broader environmental questions, and (3) understand the important atmospheric problems and policies of the day. This course is mainly about climatology, the major systems of the atmosphere, and the major atmospheric problems of today and the past. Climatology studies the long-term patterns of weather for a place and the forces that control that pattern. Meteorology is the study of the short-term processes of the atmosphere in order to predict weather from hour to hour and day to day. The historical sciences study atmospheric trends over time. To understand the long-term climate we have to understand many short-term principles and the fundamentals of atmospheric science. Therefore, unlike most other courses in the SFS, we will concentrate on exercises in a laboratory manual rather than on papers. But we will still have one term paper on a topic of atmospheric environmental policy, which will be presented to the class in poster form in the last week. We consider such topics as global warming, El Nino, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Jet Streams, ocean-atmosphere interactions, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, the geological history of the atmosphere and climate, techniques for studying climate and ancient climate, the hydrologic cycle, climate and weather prediction, air pollution, acid precipitation, and international and national laws and treaties concerning pollution and climate change. This course continues its ongoing evolution, and it will no doubt continue to evolve during the semester, which is the time when hurricanes and El Ni?o may develop. I encourage you to freely roam through the thousands of climate-related websites on the Internet.
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